A survey from Workfront, work management solutions providers, found that over half (52%) of British knowledge workers picked ‘flexi hours’ as the perk that most motivates them to be a better employee. In second place, at 40% was ‘generous bonus packages’, while 31% chose ‘unlimited holidays’. The findings counter the received wisdom that most employees are motivated by financial benefits.

Although many modern companies now offer gym memberships as part of employee benefits packages, only 20% picked it as a prime motivator in the workplace.

The 11-question survey of 1,000 UK office workers was commissioned by Workfront to help provide businesses with a clearer and deeper understanding of what external factors truly affect employee motivation and productivity.

Jada Balster, Marketing Director, EMEA at Workfront, says : “There is often a chasm between what businesses think their employees need and what their employees actually need. It’s a common misconception that workers are only motivated by money, and the results from this study make that quite clear. The modern employee hugely values their ‘work-life balance’ and it is imperative that businesses recognise this shift as it can be the difference between thriving and failing.”


Some other interesting findings from the study include:

  • Who’s the boss?: When asked ‘what influences you to excel at work the most’ 37% of workers cited ‘praise from my manager or boss’. Not surprisingly, 36% of workers regarded ‘criticism from a manager or boss’ as their top demotivator at work.


  • Go getters: 58% of UK workers consider themselves to be self-motivated and 35% of them answered ‘self-satisfaction’ when asked what influences them to excel at work.


  • Behind closed doors: When it comes to how the office environment affects productivity, it’s a pretty close call between open plan and individual offices. Workers stated they are more productive (32%) when they can see and talk to their other colleagues, while 29% prefer to be behind a door.


  • More homework: Outside of the office, 34% of workers feel they are most productive when they are able to work from home away from distractions.  Another 20% relied on caffeine-power and preferred to work from a coffee shop when they needed to be at their productive best.


  • Please don’t stop the music: Over 83% of workers admit to listening music to improve their productivity and 25% preferred R&B/Soul music to get their juices flowing. Rock music came in as a close second at 23%. Interestingly, 11% preferred to work to recordings of ‘ambient sounds’ like crashing waves or rainfall.