Over two thirds of workers want more flexible working post-pandemic, as just under half can’t switch off from work.
A new study from Aviva shows that 44 per cent of workers feel they can’t switch off from work. As a result of always-on working, 40 per cent are now concerned about burn out.
While both men and women feel the boundaries between work and home are “increasingly blurred”, Aviva says the impacts of this are fractured along gender lines.
Women are more likely to be concerned about work-related burnout and more frequently reported a negative impact on their work–life balance. More women also feel like has become more challenging over the past six months.
Most workers are keen to see “hybrid” working arrangements once they return to work, with seven in ten seeing flexible working becoming standard.
However, most are split on what the working week should look like.
The most popular option is working three days in the office and two days at home. However, men were more likely to favour more time in the office than women.
There are also generational differences, as older workers showed a slight preference for more days working from home compared with Generation Z.
As offices open back up, employers should carefully consider how they construct post-pandemic hybrid working policies to satisfy competing preferences.
Debbie Bullock, wellbeing lead at Aviva said “employers must ensure offices become a destination for collaborating, mentoring and socialising to rebuild relationships”.
“It is also vitally important that people are treated as individuals, rather than employers trying to impose a one-size-fits-all approach. The pandemic may have been a collective experience, but the impact has been fragmented in so many ways, with women especially facing particularly acute stresses from the blurring of lines between home and work.
“An always-on, ever-present culture is guaranteed to end with people’s batteries depleted, and it is essential that employers recognise long-term productivity is only possible if you make space for wellbeing to flourish at work. Businesses who choose to plough on regardless will discover to their cost that if you can’t make time for staff wellness, you will be forced to make time for illness and live with the repercussions.”
The news comes as the government is expected to publish new return-to-office guidance for businesses this week. It will reportedly greatly reduce the number of measures put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Among the workplace recommendations set to move from obligatory to subject to a company’s discretion are face masks and social distancing.
The changes come as England edges closer to the end of most coronavirus restrictions on 19 July, including the government’s “work from home if you can” guidance.