Flexibility is the key to workplace happiness for 33% of employees

workplace happiness

Other than salary, flexible working is the most important factor contributing to the workplace happiness of UK employees, according to research conducted by recruitment organisation Badenoch and Clark.

The report, Multi-generational workforce, concerns a survey of 1,564 UK employees by Opinion Matters in March and April 2018. A third of these respondents (33%) listed agile or flexible working as the top source of workplace happiness other than salary, while 30% opted for benefits such as gym membership and private healthcare, and the same percentage cited career progression.

Strong leadership topped the list for 24% of those questioned, and additional holidays were the choice for 21%. Only 5% said money is the only important factor.

However, despite the popularity of flexible working, it is the benefit employees said they are most uncomfortable asking about during an interview (18%). Other non-monetary benefits employees felt uncomfortable requesting information on were holiday entitlement (13%) and career breaks or sabbaticals (13%).

Nikki Coleman, operations director at Badenoch and Clark, said: “In order to remain competitive in the UK’s current skills gap environment, which could be compounded further by Brexit, organisations need to pull out all the stops.

“It’s no surprise that flexible working is important to many employees and a lot of organisations now have agile working policies in place. But clearly, there is more that can be done to not just make jobseekers feel comfortable asking about this, but actively promote their approach to flexible working as part of the recruitment process. Those [organisations that] make sure that flexible working does not become an off-limit benefit will have a competitive advantage in the war for talent.”

While flexibility was the most popular benefit across the board in the survey, those respondents aged between 16 and 23 were more interested in career progression opportunities (33%) than flexible and agile working (25%).

The report also found that male and female employees have a similar level of desire for flexible working, as this was chosen as the most important factor for workplace happiness by 35% of women and 32% of men.

While employees in the public sector value strong leadership (27%) and organisational culture (17%) among the key factors for workplace happiness, those in the private sector tend to cite benefits (33%) and the reputation of the employer (23%). Among those in the public sector, 70% stated that they were happy, compared with 66% of those in the private sector.