A short while ago we asked you, the charity sector, how you’re currently working, and we want to extend a huge thanks to everybody who took part in our survey to tell us. To us, this period of upheaval in the workplace has been a complex but opportunity-rich time, allowing us to examine a new dimension of employee freedom, though also remaining wary of the potential costs that come with it. And now, thanks to the kind contribution of over one hundred participants, we have been provided with a unique chance to explore the working policies that are most frequently being used by charities, and how popular these policies have been with staff.
We were pleased to see that respondents came from a spread of differently sized charities of varying types, and from different levels within them. Most commonly however, these charities were health-focussed (24%), employed over 200 people (34%), and the respondent themselves worked as a department manager or headed a team (47%), meaning that the data we’ve gathered is somewhat more reflective of these demographics than others within the sector.
The headline that we’re excited to share is that among respondents, there have only been a tiny fraction who have returned to pre-pandemic working, with only 3% spending five days in the office throughout the week. Compare this to the 28% who work totally remotely, or the further 28% who work one day or less, and we begin to see that flexible working is still on top. To continue the pattern, the number of respondents working two days a week (23%), three days (14%), or four (3%) demonstrate that there isn’t a dichotomy of remote-workers and office workers, but rather that flexible working has allowed for a spectrum of popular options.
In terms of the policies that organisations have been enforcing, only 6% require pre-pandemic attendance in the office. 32% of respondents operate under a totally open and self-led policy and can dictate their own attendance, but the most common policy is a requirement to spend a certain number of days in the office (40%).
And how satisfied are charity workers with these policies? The overwhelming response suggests that people are happy with the change, with 80% feeling satisfied or very satisfied with the current policy they’re working under, and only 12% feeling dissatisfied. However, when we break down this figure, we find that those with control over their own office attendance and no requirement to go in regularly were 75% likely to be very satisfied, far more than the 29% satisfaction among those with their number of office days dictated to them. It would therefore seem that giving employees the freedom to work within their own preferences is the key to keeping them content.
Comments received from respondents back this up, with one expressing that “my quality of life is vastly better now I am not commuting 3 hours a day and spending £400 a month on travel”, whilst another asks “why waste unnecessary time and money commuting?” As well as personal benefits, respondents also highlighted the positive impact on the organisation itself. Some explained that their team “became more geographically diverse” and that they could “expanded our talent pool”, while another claimed that “remote working has enabled us to work with a wider range of clients”. These benefits are surely the source of some of the increased satisfaction with remote work.
This is all in support of what has quickly become common thinking within the job market. Though it may have felt experimental over lockdown, remote working seems to have quickly become a staple of working life, and increasingly, flexibility in this area is becoming an expectation of the workforce. It’s not difficult to see why: the personal freedoms it provides are empowering to workers and can apparently boost productivity. It’s no wonder then that Dutch lawmakers are currently poised to make the practice a legal right in some circumstances, and with the rising cost of fuel, it’s unlikely that charity workers will be thrilled to be back to their commute any time soon. For the time being at least, remote work is king.