The UK labour market is currently navigating an acute stage of flux, with a landmark study from Theta Global Advisors, a consultancy and accounting disruptor, showing that 57% of Brits do not want to go back to the ‘normal’ way of working in the office environment.
The number of open vacancies in the UK is at its highest point ever, meanwhile, redundancies are at their lowest point since the 90s, meaning there is a critical need for companies to retain staff. However, in tandem with this imperative need for skilled talent, our return to work has been overshadowed by the changing habits of workers, with Theta Global Advisors’ research showing that 40% of Brits believe forcing a strict return to the office would hinder their performance.
This has forced companies to trial and adapt new working conditions to suit their employees, with over 3,000 workers at 60 different companies across the UK preparing to test a four-day working week in one of the biggest pilot schemes to happen anywhere in the world.
The scheme comes after workers and companies were forced to re-examine their working patterns post-pandemic with a substantial rise in hybrid and flexible working hours. Chris Biggs, Partner at Theta Global Advisors, states that companies must continue to adapt the pre-pandemic working world and noted that the scheme could be a major turning point for companies looking to recruit and retain staff.
Accountancy practices in particular are seeking answers to counteract the surge of resignations from their employees. Recent research found that half of UK workers are prepared to leave their roles in order to access hybrid working benefits, with 41% of people likely to consider leaving their jobs within the next year.
International companies are being forced to change their traditional employment styles as people are rethinking what they want from life after the pandemic. With 57% of Brits saying they do not want to go back to the ‘normal’ way of working in an office environment for their 8 hour day, people are searching for a more flexible work-life, tailored to their needs. Research by Theta Global Advisors LLP found that more than half of British workers worked better at home, whilst 40% of Brits believe forcing a strict return to the office would hinder their performance.
International companies, such as Deloitte and Goldman Sachs, are still somewhat reluctant to fully adopt flexible work environments due to the fear of lowered productivity, with 24% of Brits saying that their employer hasn’t explored any flexible options to help them return to work. Goldman Sachs have been in conversations about changing their work-life balance for almost a year after a leaked report disclosed abusive working conditions among junior bankers, who were working averages as high as 105 hours a week.
Chris Biggs, partner at consultancy and accounting disruptor Theta Global Advisors said, “The decision to trial the four-day week can be seen as the latest move from companies to try and retain their staff. By trying to be an innovative employer who thinks about their employee’s needs, companies will attract employees and will find it easier to retain them.
“The option of having a flexible work schedule has become fundamental for post-pandemic workers. But the big companies still seem reluctant to offer these benefits to their employees because of the fear of decreased productivity and therefore a loss of profits.
“At Theta Global Advisors we realise the importance of a reasonable work-life balance and how important flexibility is for workers. We find that this can increase productivity and provide workers with a working environment which they are happy with. The big companies are in a dangerous position where they need to change or could face a mass exodus of talent.”