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June 7, 2021

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Hiring during the pandemic: Analysis reveals what employees want from their work-life

After over a year of national lockdowns, our working lives have completely shifted. Our values – and what we want from an employer – has changed. New analysis of our search habits carried out by health experts at Bupa has identified what employees are really looking for in an employer.

job interviewWith lots of change and uncertainty – both at home and work – many of us turned to Google for advice and support:

During 2020, Google searches for the mental health condition ‘boreout’ increased by 680%

  • There has been an emphasis placed on striking a greater work-life balance, with 67% of the UK workforce agreeing their employers have been supportive.
  • Last year searches on Google for ‘online learning’ increased by 400%

Here, Bupa’s experts share their advice on how to attract and retain talent.

Access to wellbeing support

With our homes becoming multifunctional spaces for both home and work it has been hard to switch off from the stresses in our working lives.

During 2020, searches for ‘burnout’ increased by 45%. Burnout is when we experience high levels of stress in work which we’re unable to control – leading to many feeling exhausted. As a result, we lose motivation, feel negatively towards work, and lack productivity.

Similarly, searches for the mental health condition ‘boreout’ increased significantly by 680% in 2020.

When you experience boreout, you may feel anxious, fatigued and you won’t feel challenged by your work. This is particularly common if your workload is repetitive.

Pablo Vandenabeele, Clinical Director for Mental Health at Bupa UK Insurance says “looking out for signs of boreout and burnout (fatigue, stress and anxiety) in your team early can help you to support them and reduce the risk of both burnout and boreout.

Make sure any mental health support your workplace offer is clearly communicated and accessible, such as any employee assistance programmes.”

Encouraging your employees to take their annual leave and spread their annual leave across the year, allows them time to switch off for longer periods of time – also helping to fight the effects of burnout and boreout.

Listen as Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

Flexible working

With the closure of schools many parents found themselves juggling their workload and home schooling, meaning workplace flexibility has become more important than ever before.

Over the past year there has been an importance placed on striking a great work-life balance, with 67% of the UK workforce agreeing their employers have been supportive.

In March 2020, at the very beginning of the first lockdown, many parents turned to Google for advice on balancing home-schooling and work commitments – searches for ‘working from home with kids’ peaked at a monthly search volume of 12,100.

Lauren Gordon, Behavioural Insights Adviser at Bupa UK explains, “although schools have reopened and restrictions are beginning to ease, its important a level of flexibility in the workplace remains, as we’re still navigating our way through a difficult time”.

One year on: 9 lessons we’ve learned from lockdown

Career development

Supporting your team to develop their skills not only helps to boost their confidence, but also builds an engaged and motivating workforce.

Last year searches for ‘online learning’ increased by 400% – with Google searches for ‘boreout’ also increasing during 2020, career development has given many of us something positive to focus on and reduce the effects of burnout.

Pablo Vandenabeele, Clinical Director for Mental Health at Bupa UK Insurance explains, “learning a new skill doesn’t necessarily need to be work related, learning a new language or craft both count towards developing your skillset.”

As a manager you can led by example and share any opportunities of online learning where you feel your team may enjoy or benefit from. However, it is also important to communicate furthering your skills is not compulsory.

Listen as four recruitment experts give you some tips and advice on jub hunting during the pandemic.

Essential tips for a successful video interview

Creativity with workplace events

Making time for your team to socialise is important for both employee wellbeing and promoting company culture.

With the festive season last year being a little different to usual, Google searches for ‘virtual team building activities’ increased significantly by 99% in November 2020. With social distancing restrictions still in place, virtual events are a great way for your team to stay connected.

Virtual events can be simple, such as a weekly coffee catch up, post work drinks or even a quiz.

However, when planning a work from home event it’s important to consider the different personalities of each of your team members. For example, some members of your team may prefer to join in without being on camera whilst others may have to work around other commitments such as childcare. This will help your event get off to a great start and put any anxieties at ease.

Access to working from home equipment

Last year we had to quickly adjust to working from home overnight, with only one in three of us having access to a dedicated workspace.

Research by Bupa has revealed 63% of the UK workforce have injured their back, hips, wrist, and neck over the past year whilst working from home.

Whilst working remotely it’s important your team have the correct work set up, with access to a table or desk, supportive chair, and electrical equipment such as a laptop or desktop.

Train your team on the optimum workspace set up whilst working from home can prevent any aches and pains and also support productivity.

Many of us also sit at our desks for too long, this can lead to stiffness and muscle pain. Encourage your team to take regular breaks from their setup, as this will reduce the risk of injury. Why not organise a virtual yoga session or stretch classes, to help motivate your team in the mornings?

If any of your team members are experiencing discomfort whilst working from home, it is important you educate them on the correct workspace set up and offer access to equipment (laptop riser, keyboard, and mouse, erogenous chair) to reduce the risk of injury.

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