Non-office based workers feel undervalued, overworked and stressed, survey finds

The expectation to be fully flexible is having a ‘huge impact’ on workers’ stress levels

Saman Javed
Tuesday 08 June 2021 13:48 BST
Supermarket worker stocks the fruit counter
Supermarket worker stocks the fruit counter (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Those who work in non-desk jobs have felt “undervalued”, “overworked” and “stressed” throughout the pandemic, a new report has found.

A study of 10,000 workers across the globe, of which 1,500 were from the UK, found that 52 per cent of those surveyed still went to work despite being sick because they could not afford to take time off.

Workers surveyed included care managers, lorry drivers, supermarket workers, warehouse operatives and restaurant staff.

Issues of understaffing, high-pressure work environments, a lack of appreciation from management and stressful working conditions were found to be common across the various industries.

The report, titled State of the Deskless Workforce, which was published on Tuesday by management solutions provider Quinyx, also found that 40 per cent of those working in jobs with different shift patterns felt pressured to work at times they did not want.

An expectation to be fully flexible was a key area of concern, with last-minute changes having a “huge impact” on stress levels, the report said.

Additionally, 69 per cent of UK workers said they had been contacted out of working hours with shift changes.

Of those surveyed, 37 per cent of workers said they felt pressured into taking last-minute shifts, while 30 per cent said they felt asking to change a shift for personal reasons would be perceived negatively by their boss.

Trades Union Congress, which represents 48 trade unions across the UK, has called on the government to urgently ensure financial support for workers who have needed to self-isolate but have not been entitled to sick pay.

There are currently an estimated two million workers in the UK who do not earn enough to qualify. “Asking if people to self-isolate on £96 a week is not viable – especially when many don’t have savings to fall back on,” TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said.

The organisation warned that a lack of sick pay was undermining the effectiveness of coronavirus restrictions, with workers forced to choose between following the health advice and paying their bills.

“The lack of decent sick pay is still forcing workers to choose between doing the right thing and being plunged into hardship. It beggars belief that over a year into this pandemic ministers haven’t fixed this problem.

“The government must raise sick pay to at least the real living wage of £320 a week, and ensure that everyone has access to it,” she said.

Toma Pagojute, chief HR officer at Quinyx said the findings of the survey are an “SOS signal”.

“The pandemic has been a catalyst for some positive change across office-based industries, yet our report highlights the disparity for the nation’s deskless workforce.

“This report is an SOS signal from the deskless workforce. They are telling us they feel sidelined and that they need flexibility, improved dialogue with managers and control over their schedules, so they can achieve the work-life balance and job satisfaction that they so deserve,” she added.

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