Growing number of jobseekers value ‘work from anywhere’ schemes and mental health support, research finds

Experts advise companies to prioritise workplace wellbeing programmes, but to exercise ‘caution’ over WFA
August 15, 2023
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Three in 10 jobseekers have expressed a preference for positions at companies that offer mental health support, a new study has found.

At the same time, the vast majority (88 per cent) are favouring ‘work from anywhere’ (WFA) roles.

The Flexa Index research – which analysed data insights from more than 350,000 job searches as well as preferences expressed by 8,000-plus candidates between April and June 2023 – also revealed that the number of workers actively seeking WFA positions increased by 120 per cent, accounting for one third of all jobseekers.

In addition, a quarter (24 per cent) of jobseekers favoured summer hours, suggesting that they aim to capitalise on longer and warmer evenings.

With the data highlighting the demand for mental health support, Andrew Berrie, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, said it was “not surprising” that an increasing number of people in the workplace wanted greater levels of mental health support from their employers.

However, he added that “flexible working arrangements need to reflect both the needs and preferences of the employee and the needs and requirements of the employer”.

Dannielle Haig, business psychologist at DH Coaching and Consulting, said employees were asking for remote work and mental health support more frequently. Some of the reasons for that are:

  • The pandemic significantly disrupted work patterns, with many employees transitioning to remote work abruptly.
  • Remote work can offer greater flexibility, enabling employees to create a more balanced life by saving time, money and energy spent on commuting.
  • Some employees have found that remote work allows them to be more productive and focused without the distractions often found in traditional office settings.
  • Remote work can provide additional opportunities for people with disabilities or parents who live in remote places, resulting in more inclusive work environments.
  • Businesses are becoming increasingly aware of their responsibility to provide mental health support for their employees.

In addition, Dr Lucy Shoolbred, co-founder and director of Working Mindset, said having control and flexibility over when and where we work had a “huge positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing so has become one of the main reasons people apply and/or remain in a job”.

Shoolbread added: “No longer is a fruit bowl or gym membership enough. People want and, to be honest, deserve more than these tokenistic attempts at wellbeing.”

She said the companies that genuinely supported their employees and had robust wellbeing systems and support in place were not only chosen by top talent, but also kept their “top people”.

According to the Flexa study, 59 per cent of all workers want entirely remote jobs, a 13 per increase from April of this year.

However, Chloe Pereira, legal director of people services at Outset, said that while many employees wanted flexibility in where they worked, businesses must exercise “caution” when establishing flexible working policies, particularly if the policy allows working from anywhere. “For example, if the employee chooses to work abroad, this could have potential tax and social security implications, and could even cause right to work issues for individuals, reflecting negatively on the employer and impacting the employee’s ability to even carry out their role,” she explained.

Pereira also stressed that the company would have less control over whether the atmosphere the employee was working in was appropriate. “Policies should therefore provide clear guidelines on locations that are suitable and unsuitable for working from,” she said.

Original Article: People Management

Emphasis on creating and maintaining initiatives that support the physical, mental, and emotional health of the employees. For all your recruitment challenges – contact our HR & digital recruitment specialist Gareth Allison on 02920 620702

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