The findings of a recent survey indicate employees across the UK are feeling overworked and under-appreciated, made worse by widespread staff shortages. 

Workhuman® today announced the results of its most recent UK Human Workplace Index (HWI), which surveys full-time UK employees for the most up-to-date information on topics affecting the workforce today.

With Employee Appreciation Day approaching on Friday 3rd March, the survey of 1,000 full-time employees across the UK revealed that being valued and appreciated for their work would significantly boost employee morale and well-being.

The labour shortage is negatively impacting employees

Workhuman’s survey found that talent shortages are affecting employees across the UK, with 56% of those surveyed saying their company is short-staffed or struggling to recruit new employees.

This has had a knock-on effect, with 72% of employees having to take on more work or responsibilities as a result of staff shortages, leading to inevitable burnout and low morale.

Despite this clear burden on employees, almost half (44%) of employers are not doing anything at all to recognise the extra work and responsibilities that their employees are taking on. In fact, 39% of employees feel less appreciated and valued as a direct result of taking on more work and responsibilities.

Employees feel unappreciated, overworked, and burnt-out

Overall, Workhuman found that employees’ feel that their wellbeing has been most negatively impacted by an increased workload (43%) and feeling undervalued (26%). As a result almost half (46%) of employees feel their company doesn’t care about their wellbeing at all, while 44% of employees feel ‘invisible’ at work – for example, that their contributions are going unrecognised, or that they are ignored by their employer. This also puts employers at risk, with 63% of employees stating they would consider leaving their company if they felt ‘invisible’. In addition, 68% would consider leaving due to feeling undervalued and under-appreciated for their work, and 65% due to burnout or being overworked.

Employees want to be appreciated  

Workhuman’s survey found that feeling appreciated and valued for the work they do is the most important factor (39%) aside from pay that would influence an employee’s decision to stay with a company.

The survey also revealed some ways employees would like to be appreciated, with flexible working coming out on top. The vast majority (80%) of employees surveyed said that they would be just as, if not more, productive if their company instituted a 9-day fortnight (having every other Friday off). And 57% of employees who work from home stated they get more done when working from home than when working in the office.

Dr Meisha-ann Martin, Senior Director of People Analytics and Research, Workhuman said:

It’s clear that staff shortages are having a hugely negative impact on employees, with many feeling burned-out and undervalued.

Luckily, there are actions companies can take to support and retain their employees, and this starts with properly appreciating them for the amazing work they are doing in such challenging times. A thoughtfully designed and executed employee recognition programme is an easy way to ensure employees feel seen, heard, and appreciated for who they are and what they do.

Dr Meisha-ann Martin, Senior Director of People Analytics and Research

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.