May 24, 2024

YouGov report reveals how COVID19 has changed British attitudes to work.

YouGov interviewed thousands of British employees in December 2020 to find out how Covid19 has shaped UK attitudes to work and the workplace.

When the first lockdown was announced in March 2020, all of our working lives were transformed overnight. Prior to the pandemic for example, only 5% of workers reported working from home, but these figures have risen to a staggering 1 in 2.

Vestd and YouGov wanted to find out about how British working priorities have shifted against this backdrop of rapid change.

We also wanted to find out how positive the average Brit is about life in 2021.

Top motivators:

Incredibly, the number one factor that now motivates most Brits in the workplace is something that costs absolutely nothing.

Being appreciated and thanked is the number one motivator, selected by over a third of respondents.

After recognition, ‘a large salary’ perhaps unsurprisingly bagged second place and ‘working with purpose’ secured third place with 27% of the vote.

If Brits switch jobs, what are they looking for?

When choosing one identical job over another, flexibility would now tip the scales for a whopping 66% of UK workers. The ability to work from home (or anywhere) with flexible working hours is now a serious consideration for the British workforce.

If companies can offer home working and they don’t, they could be closing off their business to thousands of jobseekers.

In second place, nearly one in three stated that a company share scheme would tip the balance for them.

Money or happiness?

We wanted to know whether Brits would rather work for an organisation that had an excellent reputation for wellbeing, or one that would pay them a higher salary.

Incredibly, 65% of people were unequivocal in choosing wellbeing over cash. And when split by gender, this question revealed that 73% of women would choose wellbeing every time.

This revealing statistic demonstrates the importance of creating positive company cultures, particularly in these turbulent and unpredictable times.

The rise of the share scheme

As businesses tighten their belts, our results show that Brits see share schemes as a way to enhance their benefits in lieu of larger salaries.

UK workers told us that they believe share schemes:

  • Help to retain key staff members.
  • Help to create and maintain a sense of team.
  • Increase productivity.
  • Demonstrate respect from management.

This echoes research conducted last year that showed that half of the UK’s business owners are now considering implementing share schemes.

Most demotivating factors in the workplace.

We gave people a list of demotivating factors and asked them to choose the ones that resonated the most for them. They were asked to select as many as applied to them.

The top five are:

(70%) Poor communication from management.
(68%) Poor salary and/or benefits.
(63%) Job insecurity.
(60%) Micromanagement
(57%) Lack of confidence in management/leadership.

Two in three people listed poor communication from the top as their ultimate demotivator, and it’s clear from that statistic that employers must ensure that all team members are kept in the loop with information relevant to them.

Regular check-ins, team meetings and communication platforms (such as Slack or Basecamp) can help keep everybody up to speed. Regular communications can help to foster confidence across the team too.

A third of employed under 25s actively looking for new jobs.

We found that a third of employed 18-24 years are actively looking for work elsewhere.

By contrast, only 8% of those over the age of 55 are looking for new employment.

This pattern is mirrored across nearly all regions across the UK suggesting that younger people are feeling anxious about their jobs right across the country.

Positivity levels for 2021

More than half of Brits are feeling ‘fairly positive’ or ‘very positive’ about 2021, which is great news considering the year we’ve all had!

Founder and CEO of Vestd Ifty Nasir said that, “the data is fascinating and it’s great to see that so many people are geared up for a productive and positive 2021. It’s no surprise to me that people are seeking stability and flexibility over higher wages at this time. It’s also no surprise that public appetite for share schemes is growing.’’

“Vestd is used by hundreds of companies to set-up and manage shares and option schemes for their teams. Our clients provide these schemes for the people they want to incentivise, motivate and reward in line with the success of the business…i.e. giving them the opportunity for real skin in the game.”

No surprise then that despite all the turbulence and challenges of 2020 our business has grown month-on-month throughout the year. We expect to see this trend continue through 2021 as companies look to enhance employee engagement, performance, and happiness.”


2020 was a tumultuous year and nobody can confidently predict what is ahead.

However, with vaccines on the table and a Brexit deal completed, 2021 looks to be a promising and better year for us all. And by responding to the needs of employees, companies can better position themselves for resilience and performance, whatever happens.

About YouGov: The media, non-profits, and companies look to YouGov to find out what the world thinks. Our innovative approach to data is independently ranked as highly accurate – that’s why we are the most quoted data source in the UK and one of the most quoted around the world.

Info about Vestd: Vestd is the first and only regulated share scheme platform for SMEs in the UK. Thousands of people use it to manage and monitor their equity.

The platform was specifically designed and built to help SMEs launch and manage share and option schemes. Customers benefit from ongoing access to our in-house team of equity experts.