Staff doubt longevity of Covid-19 benefits

Research by HR software provider Personio has found the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has had a big impact on the types of benefits employers are offering staff, with a strong focus being on providing flexible hours and mental health provision.

But the study also revealed satisfaction with what was being provided was not universal, while there was employee doubt about how long-lasting these pandemic-induced benefits would last.

The poll of 1,000 employees and HR professionals in the UK found almost 43% of companies had implemented working from home, while a third (33%) were providing mental health support, as well as giving ongoing coaching on work-life balance (33%).

However the data also discovered discrepancies between how HR professionals and staff viewed these measures.

The study revealed that 80% of HR professionals were satisfied with how their organisation was treating staff, but when asked the same question only 62% of employees agreed.

It found 28% of individuals now said they were working longer hours than before the pandemic, and it also found nearly a quarter thought their employer was ‘consciously avoiding’ implementing any new technology that would make their lives easier. Overall, 30% of staff reported seeing no adaptations made for them as a result of the pandemic.

But despite employee dissatisfaction with how their employer was meeting their needs, the survey also found that on balance, home-working is now their preferred way of working. It discovered 27% of employees said would be ‘likely’ or ‘highly likely’ to resign if flexible working opportunities were revoked.

HR professionals were found to be  more willing than employees expectedto offer long-term flexible working arrangements. While 32% of staff thought it was ‘unlikely’ or ‘highly unlikely’ that their firm will introduce flexible working arrangements permanently, only 9% of HR respondents agreed with this.

In addition, although only 41% of employees thought that it is likely or highly likely that their firm will introduce flexible working arrangements permanently, 59% of HR professionals said flexible working would be a permanent opportunity in their organisation.

Commenting on the research, Ross Seychell, chief people officer at Personio, said: “Companies need to urgently consider adapting to a hybrid working model that enables their employees to work from anywhere on a schedule that best fits their needs.”