Four in ten British SMBs want to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations
LONDON, UK – 26 January 2022 – As the UK continues to work from home, research by Momentive (formerly SurveyMonkey), a leader in agile experience management, reveals that nearly four in ten (39%) employees at medium-sized businesses want mandated COVID-19 vaccinations to ensure a safe return to the office full-time.
The research explores the changing experience for employees at small- and medium-sized British businesses. It highlights that employees are demanding more from their employers, with a four-day working week (39%: small-sized businesses, 45%: medium-sized businesses) unlimited holiday (33%, 45% respectively), and health insurance (34%, 35% respectively) all chosen as top benefits they would like to see introduced in the future that they don’t already have.*
Return to office hesitancy
There's ongoing uncertainty around when UK employees will likely return to the office due to the rise of the Omicron variant. Employers should be careful about instinctively returning to ‘old’ ways of working if they want to retain and attract staff. Nearly one-third (31%) of employees at small-sized businesses, and 42% of those at medium-sized businesses have admitted to being hesitant about returning to the office full-time. With concerns mounting about the new variant and over 100,000 cases in the UK, employers must act to ease employee concerns.
When the time comes, the top three actions an employer could take to make employees of medium-sized businesses feel more comfortable about returning to the office are:
Employee preferences for the future of work
Beyond providing a safe and flexible working environment, there are policies that employers can introduce to ease their current workforce’s concerns.
Gone are the days of beer-on-tap and ping pong tables for luring the best staff to work for you. In fact, having a bar in the office is the least desired benefit. Fully 72% at small-sized businesses and 63% of medium-sized businesses employees say it’s not a benefit they want or were ever offered.
The top benefits that employees at small- and medium-sized businesses would like to see introduced in the future:
|Small-sized Businesses||Medium-sized Businesses|
|1||4-day working week: 39%||4-day working week: 45%|
|2||Enhanced pension contributions: 39%||Unlimited Holiday 45%|
|3||Health insurance: 34%||Enhanced pension contributions: 38%|
|4||Unlimited Holiday: 33%||Gym membership: 35%|
|5||Mental Health support: 32%||Health Insurance: 35%|
A four-day work week came out as the top sought after benefit for both small- and medium-sized businesses. Additionally, employees listed enhanced pension contributions, unlimited holidays, mental health support, health insurance and gym memberships as other top desired benefits.
The research by Momentive also found that many British businesses increased mental health support during the pandemic. The number of British small businesses offering mental health support, counselling, and access to wellness apps increased from 10% to 21%. This number increased from 16% pre-pandemic to 34% now for medium-sized businesses.
Proximity bias is a concern
With the rise of flexible work, some staff are in the office and others are working remotely. Proximity bias—the idea that employees in close physical proximity are perceived as better workers—is a concern. This is the case both for employees of small- and medium-sized businesses. Nearly a quarter (22%) of employees at medium-sized businesses expressed concern that remote work would lead to missed opportunities or less consideration of their opinions. This number is 16% for those at small businesses. Moreover, a quarter admit they ask the opinion of those they work with in-person more than their remote colleagues: 24% for small businesses, 27% at medium-sized businesses.
The findings show that with the eventual return to office, employers should be careful about returning to ‘old’ ways if they want to keep staff. For instance, a larger number of employers are taking employee feedback into account. Positively, half of small- (46%) and medium-sized businesses (51%) said they've asked for regular feedback during the pandemic. The research shows that the changing work environment from the pandemic has led to employers listening more to what employees have to say. Fully 45% of small businesses employees strongly agree or agree with this and 54% of medium-sized businesses.
“Whilst many are eager to return to the office and see hybrid options, employers need to mind changing preferences,” says Graham Douglas, Managing Director of EMEA at Momentive. “This applies to safety protocols, benefits, mentorship opportunities, flexibility and more. Our research found that 69% of small businesses confirm they've never sent out employee surveys. This number is 55% at medium-sized businesses. If you're not asking what employees need to be successful and productive, you will miss out on a unique chance to innovate for them and retain key talent."
Methodology: This Momentive study was conducted online from September 15-16, 2021, among a national sample of 2,005 adults aged 18 and over living in the United Kingdom. Respondents for these surveys were selected from a panel of respondents compensated to take surveys relevant to them. The modeled error estimate for the full sample is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, sex, education, and geography using the Office for National Statistics’ 2010 Census to reflect the demographic composition of the United Kingdom age 18 and over.
*Small Business definition: 0-49 employees, of which we have 220/2,005 respondents
Medium-sized business definition: 50-499 employees, of which we have 319/2,005 respondents
Momentive (NASDAQ: MNTV - formerly SurveyMonkey) is a leader in agile experience management, delivering powerful, purpose-built solutions that bring together the best parts of humanity and technology to redefine AI. Momentive products, including GetFeedback, SurveyMonkey, and Momentive brand and market insights solutions, empower decision-makers at 345,000 organizations worldwide to shape exceptional experiences. More than 20 million active users rely on Momentive to fuel market insights, brand insights, employee experience, customer experience, and product experience. Ultimately, the company’s vision is to raise the bar for human experiences by amplifying individual voices. Learn more at momentive.ai.