Insight & Analysis

Workplace wishes

Published: Jan 2017

The desire for a better work/life balance trumps increased pay for professionals in 2017.

As we reach the end of January, the post-Christmas malaise is likely to have eroded and ‘business as usual’ has returned.

This doesn’t mean that 2017 has to be the same as 2016, however. And, according to a recent survey by UK-based office space aggregator, OfficeGenie, more workers than ever are looking to craft a more suitable work/life balance for themselves.

Changing focus

The study, which quizzed 1,000 UK workers in full or part-time employment, shows that a better work/life balance is the top new year’s resolution for employees (17%), closely followed by the wish to learn new skills in the workplace (14%).

Interestingly, attaining a pay rise, whilst still important, came third and was the top priority for 13% of respondents.

Having healthier lunches (9%), being more organised (7%), and getting a promotion (6%) also proved popular.

Perhaps worryingly for employers, employees are less concerned with getting more done: productivity (5%) and working harder (3%), are two of the least popular resolutions.

For Peter Ames, Head of Strategy at OfficeGenie the results show a clear shift in workers’ mentality. “Employees are increasingly looking to jobs for fulfilment, as well as a means to an end,” he says. “Increasing numbers of ‘Gen-Y’ workers are forming the working population, and many believe factors such as work/life balance and skill development are particularly important to this demographic.”

Achieving ambitions

As many busy treasury professionals will attest, however, it is one thing to wish for a better work/life balance and another to actually achieve it.

How then, might you go about seeking a better work/life balance? Ames suggests that a good starting point is for employees to understand their rights. “In the UK, for instance, if you have been working somewhere for at least six months it is your right to request flexible working.”

Even if such workers’ rights do not exist, employees should still feel comfortable talking to their bosses about this topic and looking to create a solution that works for all parties.

Ames, however, believes that it is actually the employer who should take the lead. “We would encourage bosses to be proactive: survey employees, find out what they want and work with employees to try and deliver,” he says.

“Most importantly people need to be open minded and adopt flexibility if it is practical,” he adds. “Some mindsets also need to change, I don’t think it’s too strong to say quite a few employers and managers see things, such as working from home, as an opportunity for workers to slack off. This isn’t the case, but if these views continue in some workplaces, many employees ultimately will seek an opportunity that affords them the flexibility and work/life balance they would like.”

Here to stay

It seems, based on both statistical and anecdotal evidence, that these trends are here to stay and employee drivers have changed. And Ames doesn’t see this abating any time soon: “With the makeup of the workforce changing as we’ve seen in recent years, I would imagine these trends will grow,” he says.

Find your work/life balance

Crafting a suitable work/life balance is just one of the many topics discussed as part of the Treasury Today Group’s Women in Treasury Forums.

Hear from our expert speakers and be part of the discussions this year in Singapore, London and New York. For more information please contact Lisa Bigley, Global Head of Events.

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