EXCLUSIVE: 49% cite flexible working as most coveted future benefit

Stephen Holt

Just under half (49%) of respondents say flexible-working arrangements and work-life balance will be the most important benefits to them in the future, making it the most coveted benefit, according to research by Grass Roots.

Its Future of employee benefits report, which surveyed 1,000 employees and 200 HR managers, also found that two-thirds of respondents either want the freedom to work wherever and whenever they want or to have some degree of flexibility within a fixed working period.

The 10 most coveted employee benefits (aside from financial reward) respondents would like to receive by 2025 are:

  1. Flexi-time/work-life balance: 49%
  2. Team building experience: 46%
  3. Work from home scheme: 43%
  4. Pension: 42%
  5. Holiday pay: 38%
  6. Sick pay: 35%
  7. Education funding for advancement of learning: 31%
  8. Healthcare: 31%
  9. On-site parking: 31%
  10. Stress counselling: 29%

The report also found that larger organisations with more 5,000 employees do not utilise benefits as much as smaller organisations. More than half (54%) of respondents for larger organisations are not offered productivity benefits, 37% do not receive any wellbeing benefits and 9% are not offered any financial benefits.

The research also found:

  • 84% of respondents believe benefits are important in keeping them in their current job, although among 25-to-44 year olds, this rises to 93%.
  • 50% of respondents would turn down a job if the benefits package was not as good as they wanted.
  • 88% of management respondents see benefits as important in attracting staff and 90% believe benefits help to retain employees.
  • 24% of respondents are offered healthcare benefits, compared to 11% 10 years ago.
  • 21% of respondents are not satisfied with their benefits package.
  • 65% of respondents think employers should make wider benefits available via salary sacrifice.
  • 58% of respondents can see themselves working for more than one employer, although this increases to 72% for those aged between 25 and 34 and 79% for those aged 18 to 24.

Stephen Holt (pictured), commercial director at Grass Roots, said: “It’s clear that the workforce is keen to move away from the nine-to-five culture because they don’t want to be chained to a desk every day and instead move towards being able to work in a way that better suits their home life.

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‚ÄúTopping the list of benefits that employees want within the next 10 years, organisations should now take steps to address their current working practices and assess the realities of offering staff the ability to work more flexibly. The ability to offer staff this perk could have a significant impact in staff morale and also aid staff recruitment and retention.‚ÄĚ

John Arnold, a professor of organisational behaviour at Loughborough University, added: “There has been a notable increase in the past decade in benefits that promote physical and psychological wellbeing. However, these tend to be seen as nice to have rather than must have by many employees, who obviously care more about benefits that enable them to manage their own lives in their own way.”