The Future of Work Report: workers in UK not-for-profit organisations say that flexible working is here to stay

Flexible working is here to stay, with the majority of UK workers in not-for-profit organisations surveyed for a new report stating that they would like to work from home more often in the future. However, deterioration in wellbeing and the blurring of boundaries between work and home life have become issues for many.

The Future of Work Report 2021 was carried out by Blackbaud Europe in partnership with The Resource Alliance, with 814 respondents working in the third sector completing an online survey in January and February 2021.

The report found that 90% of people working for UK not-for-profit agencies believe flexible working is here to stay, with 80% stating that they would like to work from home more often in the future. This is an increase from 67% in last June’s Status of Fundraising 2020 Report.

However, while flexible working has proved popular during the pandemic, only 22% want to work mainly at home long-term, and 87% have missed face to face interactions with colleagues.

Technology & training critical

Remote working practices during the past year have been greatly facilitated by the technology now available with 87% of respondents saying this has helped them to work more effectively, and 83% agreeing that cloud-based technology has been essential. 64% of those who identified as decision makers are now planning to invest more in technology.

Moving forward, key areas where respondents believe additional training would help them to work more successfully from home include:

o Virtual brainstorming (51%),
o How to manage a team remotely (30%),
o Software specific training (7%), and
o Advice on how to effectively run virtual meetings (40%).

Deterioration in wellbeing & a blurring of boundaries

The majority of respondents – 87% – felt their organisation had adapted well to the situation, up from 60% in last June’s Status of UK Fundraising 2020 report. In addition, 83% also felt their employer has demonstrated care and concern about employee wellbeing.

Nonetheless, there are challenges. Many feel that their wellbeing has deteriorated during the pandemic: 48% felt it had affected their overall wellbeing, and 50% their mental wellbeing. Overall, 79% are worried about the effect of the past year on their life.

And, when asked for details about their daily working routine, 72% said they tend to work longer hours either some or most days compared to before the pandemic. Most people clocked up their extra hours later in the day, with nearly a third finishing work later most days than when they were office based. 75% of respondents said that the blurred boundaries between home and work were a challenge, with 40% naming this as their single biggest challenge. 32% also said that having an inadequate space to work in was a challenge.

A future of flexible working

In her conclusion to the report, Sally Falvey, Head of Corporate Go-To-Market, Blackbaud Europe, highlights the need for balance moving forward, and notes that remote working is not right for everyone at all times, with the sector now at a key point in time where it can make positive changes for the future of work.

She states:

“Our research shows that remote working is not necessarily appealing, effective or healthy for everyone at all times. Leaders at charities in particular must be mindful of this. Balance is key and for many organisations that we talked to in putting together this report, the future of work is not 100% working from home, or 100% office based. There’s a hybrid model in between.

“Now, with lockdown measures once again beginning to ease, the sector is at a pivotal moment to reimagine what the future of work looks like at our organisations and ensure the sector remains attractive to employees who are key in helping us all achieve our respective missions.”

The Future of Work e-book can be downloaded from Blackbaud’s website. Please note that an email address will be requested before the report can be accessed.

Source: UK Fundraising