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Looking to Adopt a Flexible Workplace Policy? This Is What Your Employees Want Most…

Hannah Watkins
Hannah Watkins|

In the olden days, all the way back in—ooh, 2019?—ensuring that your team had the most suitable work environment possible boiled down to choosing the right office.

For most, that still remains an important consideration—for companies opting to keep a physical HQ, ensuring it has everything your employees need to be happy and productive should remain a priority. However, the recent increase in remote working in light of coronavirus has meant that there’s a whole new environment that employers need to make comfortable and conducive to work: the home.

With so many businesses now looking to adopt more flexible workplace policies, employers are now focusing their attention on what they should provide to keep their teams happy and healthy. But where to start? For many, this is largely uncharted territory and deciding on what to spend resources on can feel like a daunting task.

In this blog, we dig into what you should consider offering your workforce—using insights from what over 1,000 employees told us they would value most.

The essentials

Firstly, there are some things that you should definitely prioritise—namely, the physical working environment of your employees.

Having a bad home working setup—inappropriate seating, faulty equipment, insufficient lighting etc— can quickly have a negative impact on the health of your employees. The faster this is identified, the better it is for everyone.

In line with HSE & ACAS guidance on Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations, we strongly recommend conducting a DSE and home working assessment for all of your employees. We can help you do it—the HubbleHQ Home Working Assessment, launching very soon, is designed to give you a detailed understanding of your employees’ working environments: identifying any risks to wellbeing, productivity, and safety, and providing you with the information and guidance you need to effectively allocate spend.

Register your interest to be the first to know when the Assessment goes live.

The most in-demand WFH perks

Once you’ve provided the essentials, now it’s time to think about the extras that make working from home not only possible, but enjoyable.

In our Should we ditch the office? Survey, we asked over 1,000 employees what would significantly improve their working from home experience. This is what they said: 

1. Ergonomic chair (55%)

By far the most popular choice, over half of all respondents said that having an ergonomic chair would significantly improve their working from home experience—hammering home the fact that many employees currently don’t have an appropriate and healthy physical setup.

However, it’s worth noting that whilst many would like to have an ergonomic chair, not everyone actually has room for one.

In the HubbleHQ Home Working Assessment, we’ll give you the most actionable insights possible—not only identifying your team’s greatest needs, but helping you find the best real-life solutions. 

2. Dual monitor (30.4%)

With many employees working from small laptops, it’s good practice to have a dual monitor—otherwise workers risk straining their eyes or being unable to do their job properly. As such, it’s no surprise that nearly a third of respondents in our survey identified a dual monitor as one of the top three things that would improve their WFH experience.

A DSE Assessment will give you all the information you need to know about the equipment your team is lacking. 

3. Faster WiFi (24%)

In this day and age, there are very few things that can cause a working day to grind to a halt…but poor internet is one of them. Nowadays, WiFi is probably the most essential facility in ensuring that business can actually take place, and the most noticeable when it doesn’t work.

Many employees have suffered with dodgy internet connections over the past few months, at the expense of their productivity (and sanity). If you’re planning on adopting a remote-first policy for your team, upgrading their connections where necessary may be something that you want to explore.

4. Standing desk (23.4%)

With the “new commute” now only surmounting to the distance from the bedroom to the kitchen table, it’s natural that many are now seeking ways of mitigating the more sedentary lifestyle that home working brings.

An impressive 23.4% of all employees would appreciate a standing desk. Here are some of the best on the market.

5. Food allowance (15.2%)

The smaller perks of office life are often those that employees miss most while working from home. Like free food, for example. Tasty team lunches, free breakfasts, afternoon treats… those are often the little bonuses that really perk up an employee’s day and can make them feel valued. It’s not quite the same having to go out and get yourself a cake, “just because”.

Since COVID hit, popular corporate catering marketplace City Pantry have been helping employers feed their teams not only in the office, but at home as well—making it easy to give your employees a well-earned treat straight to their door.

6. Coffee subscription/allowance (13%)

Never underestimate the power (and necessity) of caffeine! A staple part of the 9-5 day, a significant number of respondents said that a coffee subscription would be one of the top 3 things that would improve their working from home experience. 

Not having the office coffee machine (or even, onsite barista) seems to have left a gaping hole in many an office worker’s day. Fortunately, plenty of excellent coffee companies now offer subscriptions: check out Perky Blenders, Origin Coffee, or Caravan if you’re looking to give your employees a little boost.

7. Garden office (12.5%)

An impressive 1 in 8 respondents said that a garden office would improve their working from home experience. Of all of the provisions in the survey, a garden office is probably the one that’s most limited by an employee’s home environment—as we all know, many London flats often come don’t come with any outdoor space, let alone a garden big enough for an office.

But whilst garden offices may not be feasible for every employee, their popularity does signal a broader trend around home working that employers should bear in mind when planning future policies.

Working from home can often blur the line between an employee’s personal and professional life—and having a separate place to work that’s close to home (but not actually in it) is becoming increasingly desirable. Exploring alternative solutions to the work-life balance problem, such as giving teams access to office space closer to home, could be an option for those employees who don’t have the luxury of a garden.

8. Normal desk (12.2%)

A huge number of people are still working on makeshift desks, often at the expense of their health and convenience. From kitchen tables to bedroom dressers, many employees find themselves using alternative surfaces because they simply don’t have suitable furniture.

For those with enough space to fit one, being supplied with a normal desk is a high priority.

9. Noise-cancelling headphones (10.8%)

For anyone living with family, housemates, flight paths, construction workers or any other audible distractions in the vicinity, noise-cancelling headphones are a godsend.

At HubbleHQ we use these ones, but there’s something to suit every budget and style.

10. Cleaning (10.3%)

The whole “tidy desk tidy mind” thing becomes much more of a chore when said desk is in your house, surrounded by all of your personal belongings.

As such, over 10% of employees told us that they feel company-subsidised cleaning would significantly improve their home working environment.

Different employees want different things

Whilst the facilities above proved to be the most popular results among respondents overall, it’s important to emphasise how personal employees’ needs may be. 

Additional peripherals (keyboards, laptop stands etc), childcare, ergonomic assessments, air-conditioning, sound insulation, IT support, and phone lines also featured in the list of things that employees would find useful—and what’s important to the employees in your company will often differ from what’s important to those in another.

What these things are will largely depend on a whole variety of factors—from the nature of your work to the demographics of your employees. For instance, we segmented our survey responses by generation, to see if different age groups had the same experience of working from home, and found that employees of different generations often have quite contrasting opinions as to what they would like their company to provide.

Find out what your team would value most

Over the past couple of months, we’ve been creating FREE tailored reports (like this one) for companies looking to find out how their employees want to work in the future.

To get one for your company, all you have to do is circulate this survey link amongst your team, then email futureofwork@hubblehq.com stating your namecompanyrole, and company size. And that’s it! We’ll then create the report for you, complete with personalised recommendations.

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