Firms facing mass exodus unless working practices change

Britain’s biggest firms have been warned they face a mass exodus of staff unless they “empower their employees” and adapt to a rapidly changing workplace landscape.

UK tech firm PixelMax has warned that a move to the virtual workplace is the solution to stemming the “Big Resignation” flow as a recent survey indicated that only 4% of employees want to return to the office full time and 82% of employees want a hybrid model with 59% ranking a work from home flexibility as the number one choice in employee benefits.

Firms have been weathering the storm of the Big Resignation with record numbers of staff either leaving, walking out of their jobs voluntarily, or opting to work part time as they re-evaluate their work-life balance.

It follows two years of the pandemic, and lockdown restrictions, which have forced employees to re-evaluate their work-life priorities, well-being and aspirations.

Rob Hilton CEO and Co-Founder of PixelMax, explained: “Remote working enabled many companies to resume a degree of normality during the lockdown periods, equally, there was a price to pay with regards to employees’ well-being and mental health.

“The Big Resignation is all about employees voting with their feet and making the shift change, choosing who they want to work for, how they want to work and when they want to work. In order for business and industry to retain the best talent, they need to rethink the workplace environment. It needs to reflect a modern hybrid of the office and remote working from any location but interconnected within a platform that is engaging to all employees and makes them feel connected to their work colleagues, whether that be in the physical sense in the office or from their remote location.”

His views have been supported by Dr John Barrow, dean for Entrepreneurship & Employability, senior lecturer (Scholarship) in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the Institute of Education in Healthcare and Medical Sciences, School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition at the University of Aberdeen.

“The Big Resignation caused a global shift – employees are less likely now than they ever have been before to stay in their job if they are not content in their role,” he explained. “Both businesses and employees are looking for solutions that suit them respectively. Forcing employees into an office five days a week is causing issues and keeping staff fully remote is also causing problems.

“Employees are experiencing ‘Zoom fatigue’ and some feel at a disadvantage when working remotely, missing out on spontaneous conversations and potentially career progression. Hybrid is the best solution for many businesses and staff. For hybrid to work well, companies must invest in platforms that staff find enjoyable to use. People love to spend hours on games such as Fortnite, so why can’t this similar culture be adopted in the working world?

“Businesses don’t just need to consider their existing employees; they also need to think about the talent of the future. From a career perspective, graduates entering the job market can have a difficult time as it is, but one of the major challenges is how you onboard new recruits and how new staff members can truly feel part of a team when everyone is working remotely – it’s fine for the people who already have those established relationships, but for someone new this can be really difficult to forge relationships and professional networks. As we continue to move forward with a hybrid working model, we need to focus on those in the early stages of their career and how best to engage and train this generation.”

“The virtual workplace encourages a positive culture,” said PixelMax co-founder Shay O’Carroll. “Employees can take part in wellness challenges, do workouts, meditate and relax with minigames. Previously, businesses might have offered gym memberships. Now, they could offer an online fitness subscription or a smartwatch.

“Company cultures are evolving, and they will continue to evolve until the end of time. What’s important right now is for business leaders to understand that it is the turn of the employee to dictate how and when they want to work. This business evolution is a collaborative process now and listening to your employees’ wants and needs has never been more important. Investing in employees is how cultures should evolve into something positive and beneficial for the business and employees.”

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