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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance

'Remote doesn't equal flexible': poll reveals changing employee expectations

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Around half of employees expect to spend more time working from home than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic yet 56% struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance while working from home, new MetLife research has found.

MetLife Australia’s Head of People and Culture Allyson Carlile says a study in August and September revealed almost two thirds of organisations are struggling with the challenge of increased demand for work-life flexibility.

Many employees want employers to support them with a new blended way of working but there is no ‘one size fits all’. That can create complexity for organisations, she said.

“We are learning that ‘remote’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘flexible’,” Ms Carlile said.

“Employers need to empower their employees with more flexible work hours so they have the time they need to take care of themselves and their loved ones.”

Almost 80% of employees say they currently feel stressed and half say they are more stressed than before the pandemic.

MetLife says part of this may be the new challenges faced by employees who are now working from home as part of their standard working life, and therefore no longer have a distinct demarcation between work and home.

Now in its sixth year, the latest MetLife Australia Employee Benefits Trends Study surveyed 339 employers and 1,037 employees to better understand how employers can attract, engage, and retain the best talent.

The study explores attitudes towards many aspects of employee benefits, as well as issues surrounding mental health and the impact of COVID-19 on the working environment. Two online surveys were conducted between August 26 and September 11.

Flexible working arrangements were the top benefit in demand from employees.