25 May 2024

Employers face ‘creativity’ challenge, not worker apathy

| The European |

New research released today by Ricoh Europe reveals that the majority of workers seek more stimulation and creativity in their job, suggesting that employers need to do more to provide fulfilling work.

The research, conducted by Opinium for Ricoh Europe, polled 6,000 workers and 1,500 decision makers across the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. It contradicts the ‘quiet quitting’ social media phenomenon with 82% of workers describing themselves as ‘engaged’ at work, while 65% say they are enthusiastic about what they do. Yet while workers feel content to a degree, there remain frictions and roadblocks to them becoming more productive and creative.

Cost-of-living pressures combined with a lack of fulfilment at work risks pushing employees to consider pastures new. Almost half (44%) say they are ready to change jobs if the ‘right offer’ came along. Despite this, a large proportion of businesses aren’t taking wellbeing or salary concerns seriously, as 52% of leaders think employees should be ‘grateful’ to have a job in the first place.

The real challenge for employers is finding ways to provide more creative and fulfilling work which makes a positive contribution to their organisation, rather than have workers bogged down with repetitive, laborious or administrative tasks. A focus on the employee experience using reliable technology, such as automation, could be part of the solution to help free workers from burdensome and unrewarding tasks.

Nearly two fifths (39%) of people’s days are occupied with administrative tasks or overcoming technology issues – meaning teams have less time to focus on projects that deliver real value to the business. Without action and a shift to more interesting types of work, organisations may stifle employees’ sense of purpose and drive. Almost two-thirds (64%) of workers say they would enjoy their work more if they had more time for creative tasks.

Getting the hybrid work strategy right is another important way employers can help foster a sense of purpose, fulfilment and wellbeing at work. They must get the balance right between giving employees the freedom and trust to work remotely, while also providing opportunities for crucial face-to-face interaction with colleagues.

Almost three quarters (72%) of workers say they enjoy learning from others who are physically around them, while 63% like to combine the office with social activities such as seeing friends and going for post-work drinks. But poor technology can hinder people’s appetite to return to the office and undermine the value of the office as a collaborative, social space. Almost a third (29%) are put off because booking a desk is too hard.

Nicola Downing, CEO, Ricoh Europe, says: “The ‘quiet quitting’ trend has ignited debate around work-life balance and boundaries. Our research suggests that employees aren’t ‘checking out’ but want to work on projects that really add value to the enterprise. In such a challenging environment for the workforce, with shifting work patterns post-pandemic and a raging cost-of-living crisis, it’s up to enterprises to find ways to foster a culture where fulfilling types of work and careers are a priority. This means providing the tools required to do away with pointless admin, remove insufficient systems, and focus on tasks that raise the bar. Those enterprises that do nothing risk workers turning elsewhere.”

For more information visit www.ricoh-europe.com/insights.

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