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The flexibility factor: The changing landscape of employee perspectives

The average person spends 90,000 hours of their lives working, making the way we work one of the most important aspects of our very being.

From technological advancements to cultural shifts, the working world has evolved amid endless factors.

But as the world changes and younger generations join the workforce, what does this mean for businesses looking to attract talent?

In 2020, businesses were forced to embrace remote working, employees stayed home and everyone’s screen time tripled.

And in the post-COVID-19 era, flexibility and working from home have become key USPs for prospective employees – it’s no longer just about the payslip at the end of the month.

Amid this landscape, specialist recruitment and outsourced talent services partner Jackson Hogg recently launched its ‘Employee Perspectives’ whitepaper, to explore what is genuinely important to staff in the workplace.

Professionals from 12 different industry sectors, from across the UK, participated in the survey.

More than 61 per cent of respondents had more than ten years’ experience, with their ages ranging from under 25 to over 55, and a gender split of 65 per cent male and 35 per cent female.

Here, Kate Hewison discusses Jackson Hogg’s findings and what they mean for the ever-changing workplace.

  • Richard Hogg, chief executive and Anthony Broadhead, chief operating officer at Jackson Hogg


Work/life balance

The idea of maintaining a healthy balance between personal and professional activities is sometimes easier said than done.

Demanding work schedules, coupled with personal responsibilities, often leave little room for relaxation and self-care.

Jackson Hogg’s recent survey found that 56.7 per cent of respondents rated their work/life balance an eight or higher – up from pre-2020 levels – with 79 per cent of workers believing a flexible schedule improves their work/life balance.

For businesses to address employees’ needs regarding their work/life balance, the survey said: “Organisations should promote initiatives such as flexible work hours, communication options with employees and wellness programmes – all proven strategies for improving work/life balance.”

Values, purpose and reputation

Values can help shape a firm’s entire culture.

They help maintain high standards, attract top talent and ensure employees are working towards the same goal.

As individuals strive towards a greener planet, the survey revealed that candidates in 2024 place a high value on a commitment to sustainability, alongside company reputation, alignment with organisational values and sense of purpose.

The survey said more than 70 per cent of respondents rated a potential employer’s values as very important when considering a job opportunity.

It has never been more important, therefore, for businesses to show integrity and remain committed to their values and core mission.

Where we work

The workplace can significantly affect various aspects of an employee’s life.

A negative work environment can lead to stress, frustration and deteriorating mental health.

The survey found most respondents were satisfied with their overall work environment, however, some described their workplace as disorganised, erratic, hectic and challenging.

The majority of respondents believe their current workplace adopts a positive and inclusive culture.

However, only 56.7 per cent responded with a rating of seven or higher for career development opportunities and support from their employer.

This suggests although it is a plus, a positive culture is not enough to satisfy employees anymore, particularly those in the early stages of their careers.

An employee needs to know there is progression in their role.

Benefits and engagement

There has been recent, and widespread, discussion about employee benefits, with many questioning what should be classed as a benefit and what should be offered as standard.

And with the increasing importance of a healthy work/life balance, this works hand-in-hand with understanding benefits that are genuinely valued by employees.

When asked how satisfied employees are with the benefits and perks offered by their organisation, the survey found respondents returned a mixed message.

It said: “The most common benefits packages included health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off and wellness programmes, while the most desired benefits were flexible work arrangements and childcare programmes.”

Free tea and coffee just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Looking forward

From the survey, Jackson Hogg found 48.6 per cent of respondents stated opportunities for progression as the most important factor when considering a change in employment, surpassing even the desire for a higher salary.

The survey also found that 75 per cent of respondents used LinkedIn to find a new job, with 50 per cent using Indeed.

If businesses aren’t investing time into progression plans, it could steer top talent elsewhere.

With more and more individuals turning to social media for new opportunities, spotting a new role can be as easy as a touch of a button.


Respect in the workplace should be a given but, more often than not, that line can be crossed.

Nearly a quarter of survey participants stated ‘issues with management’ as a reason for looking for employment elsewhere.

In addition, only 36 per cent of respondents were satisfied with the respect shown to them by their manager.

In the whitepaper, Victoria Kneafsey, Jackson Hogg’s HR manager, discusses a recent CIPD survey, which revealed employees who rate their line managers’ people management skills poorly are more likely to experience negative mental health in their lives.

So, how can we change this?

Victoria says: “To be an excellent manager, there is a delicate balance of empathy, communication and leadership skills required.”

But the responsibility doesn’t just lie with the manager.

Victoria adds: “An organisation also needs to equip line managers with the practical skills required to manage their team.

“There is little point in having an easily accessible suite of sexy, modern policies, if line managers do not feel confident in their practical application in the workplace.”

The findings from Jackson Hogg’s whitepaper underscore the evolving priorities of the modern workforce.

From workplace culture to flexibility, it is crucial for businesses to understand and address the changing needs and expectations of their employees.

However, as the saying goes, ‘if you bend too much you’ll eventually break’, so it’s therefore important to understand and aim for the happy medium, where employees and businesses alike can flourish.

You can find and download the full whitepaper here.

Other resources can be found here.


Pictured: Victoria Kneafsey, HR manager at Jackson Hogg

June 12, 2024

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