Work life balance matters most to North West workforce

North West workers see better work life balance and time for themselves and their families as an overwhelming benefit of flexible working, according to a national survey conducted by framework partner ISG.

The survey captured workplace sentiment at the end of last year, before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK, and then again in September this year after many had worked exclusively from home for around six months.

Findings from the latest study showed that 70% of respondents from Manchester and Liverpool would use increased flexible working to improve their work life balance, ahead of looking to save money on travel expenses, which came in second at 55%.

Of the 2,000 respondents surveyed nationally, employees believed that spending on average three days a week in the office would be optimal for their productivity, compared to the lower average of two and a half days a week anticipated by employers.

The survey found marked differences between the responses from those working in public and private sectors. Almost two thirds (64%) of public sector employees believe they would not have the same sense of team or friendship with colleagues if they worked from home all of the time – compared to just 56% of those within private sector – with work life distinction also being a top priority for more than half (59%). Whilst socialising with colleagues is the top use of a workplace for the private sector, training and learning comes top for the public sector (38%).

Public sector workers wanted to return to the office for two to four days a week (57%), with 23% stating they wanted to return five days a week. Many cited poor-quality home working space (47%), a trend also seen in younger workers (62%), as a key driver in the return to the office.

When looking to the future workspace, being close to home is a top factor when it comes to location (58%) followed by parking available on site or close by (38%) – a particular concern for public sector workers (41%).

ISG’s framework director, Neil Walker, said:

“Covid-19 has impacted every single person in the UK and this survey offers a unique insight into the mindset of the North West, public and private sector workforce, from the end of last year’s pre-Covid conditions, right up to today, in the midst of a global pandemic. These transformational working patterns are hugely revealing for employers, employees, the built environment, society and future workplace trends.”

“These shifts in workplace sentiment will be a crucial consideration for organisations when looking to retain and attract talent to our region. Marrying everyone’s unique experiences of working during the pandemic, with the data driven insights from this ground-breaking survey, provides a powerful lens to drive transformational change across our future workplaces.”

Link to download the survey here.

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