Employees’ Life Satisfaction Declining, Research Suggests

Employees’ life satisfaction has declined sharply over the past year and most are now neglecting their physical health because of work demands, new research has found. For employers, supporting their employees, including offering the right mix of group benefits, has never been more important.

[Related reading: Impact Of Covid-19 Pandemic On Future Health, Wellbeing Of Employees Could Be Significant]

Thriving in the age of ambiguity

According to the Aviva report, titled Thriving in the Age of Ambiguity — which is based on the findings of polls conducted in February 2020, August 2020 and March 2021 — employee life satisfaction has dropped by 10 percentage points since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (falling from 67% in February 2020 to 57% in March 2021).

Meanwhile, almost three in five employees (58%) admit to prioritising work over their physical health. This figure is up from 53% in the same survey carried out in February 2020. At the same time, the number of employees who said they feel anxious day-to-day has risen from 22% in August 2020 to 27% in March 2021.

Researchers also found that the vast majority (86%) of employees admitted to checking their work emails outside of working hours, indicative of the ‘always on’ culture found in many organisations.

However, despite these revelations, more employees now agree that their employer is genuinely concerned about their wellbeing (61% in March 2021 vs. 57% in February 2020). Furthermore, employees are now also more likely to feel as though their employer understands what motivates them (44% in March 2021 vs. 36% in August 2020).

Many employees increasingly concerned about their later years

In 2020, Aviva found the boundaries between work and retirement were already blurring. Employees were becoming increasingly concerned about their later years, including how much money they will need and when they can retire.

Now, rather interestingly, fewer employees agree they are going to have to work longer before retiring (70% in March 2021 vs. 78% in August 2020). However, at the same time, far fewer know how much money they will need to have saved for later life.

In March 2021, nearly half (48%) said they do not know how much to save for retirement, vs. 39% in February 2020. Interestingly, this knowledge gap is more pronounced in females, who were significantly more likely to admit not knowing how much they need for retirement compared to males (57% vs. 41%).

For employers, this should be seen as an opportunity to connect with their female employees and offer guidance on their retirement years, especially in terms of planning.

[Related reading: Group Risk Cover Protection Market Displaying ‘Gender Paradox’]

Debbie Bullock, Head of wellbeing at Aviva, said a sense of unease was now pervasive: “We are living through an ‘Age of Ambiguity’ that is impacting society and workplaces across the UK. Elements of our lives which were previously certain are overlapping and changing beyond recognition. The concept of ‘work’ itself is becoming increasingly fluid as the world evolves faster than ever before.

“Our research reveals unpredictable futures are placing a significant strain on the balance between work and home life, with more employees reporting feelings of anxiety and dissatisfaction, as well as concern for their future due to a lack of clarity about their retirement prospects.”

Choosing the right Group Benefits

At Premier Choice Group, we are here to help you not only understand what group benefits are available, but which will perfectly complement your organisation and your employees. Give us a call today on 0800 970 1618 and we can have a conversation about what’s best for you and the people who matter to you the most: your employees.


Author: Gill Adams - Head of SME Growth