The Irish Workplace: We’re Not On Time, But We Are Productive

The Irish Workplace: We’re Not On Time, But We Are Productive

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A company called Qualtrics has recently released the results of a survey about how satisfied and happy people are in the workplaces.

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Called the 2016 Global Attitudes Toward Work Report, it reports differences among workforces around the world. Some countries are clear frontrunners in productivity and work/life balance, while others are stragglers. That is, they spend their day on social media and messing around.

Qualtrics gathered and analysed responses from approximately 6,250 respondents in Ireland, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the U.K. and the U.S.  “Looking at attitudes toward work is a valuable way to look at a country,” says Ryan Smith, Qualtrics co-founder and CEO. “A country’s priorities, its confidence and its collective mindset can give marketers and others clues about how best to approach it. Interestingly enough, this survey showed us that people in the U.S. and France seem happiest and most satisfied with their professional lives, while the Germans, Polish and Dutch rate themselves as the most productive.”

Responses from French and American people were strikingly similar in multiple categories. Both countries report the greatest satisfaction with their work/life balance (68 percent of the French sample and 67.5 percent of the U.S. sample). And both, along with Germany, also report the greatest overall job satisfaction, with just over 64 percent of respondents in these three countries stating that they are “extremely satisfied” or “moderately satisfied” with their jobs.

So what about us?  The Irish have relatively high productivity levels and low concern for punctuality.

• Compared to other countries the Irish worker has above average levels of personal productivity at work. The Irish say that 67.3% of hours worked are productive compared to Germany (72% of hours) and Italy which reported less than half (48.5%) of hours worked being productive.
• When asked to evaluate what percentage of hours worked were productive on average in their country the Irish reported 62% compared to the Dutch who reported 67.8%. Again the Italians reported the lowest levels of perceived national productivity with less than half (46%) of hours worked being reported as productive.
• Being on time is not as important to the Irish as other countries, only 41.2% regard it as being ’extremely or very important’ whereas Sweden (67.3%) followed by Germany (66.7%) placed the most emphasis on punctuality.
• More Irish people are dissatisfied with their job (51.2%) than those who are ‘extremely or moderately satisfied’ (48.8). The Germans, French and Americans all report the highest levels of satisfaction with their jobs with just over 64% expressing their satisfaction.
• When asked about work life balance the French and Americans report the greatest satisfaction with 68% stating they are extremely or moderately satisfied compared to 50.5% of Irish workers surveyed and the Greeks who report the lowest levels of satisfaction (36%).
• Survey respondents were asked how many minutes of personal social media use is conducted at work and there was a lot of variation in how much time people reported withe Greeks being the highest at 24 minutes and Americans the lowest at just under 14 minutes. The Irish report spending just under 17 minutes on personal social media at work.
• Formal work attire is not important for Irish workers (27.2%) whereas the French, place the greatest importance on it with over 55% of respondents stating that it is ‘extremely’ or ‘very important’ followed by the Italians and Spanish both at 47%.
• An in-person meeting is still the most preferred meeting mode for all countries surveyed (Ireland 83.5%) but in the U.S. there is greater acceptance of telephone (15%) and video conferencing (31%)
• Almost 80% of Irish workers use the car to get to work compared to just 54.5% in Greece and 92% in New Zealand.
• Bus usage among the Irish is 11% compared to Poland where taking the bus to work is more common than any other country surveyed, with 31% reporting it is the most common mode of transport. More people in Poland also walk to work than any other country (3.1%).
• Unsurprisingly, the Netherlands represents the highest level of bike usage to get to work 11% compared to just 1.5% in Ireland.
• Taking the train to work is more common in Greece than any other country at 32% compared to 5.3% in Ireland.
Management
• Some people like to receive lots of feedback from management, the Spanish expressed the most desire for frequent feedback, with over 50% stating that they’d like feedback weekly or more often, less so for the Irish (36.7) and only 26% of the French wanted feedback that frequently.
• When asked about which attributes are most and least important in a good manager the Irish regard a manager who cares about employees (14%), is honest (13%) and competent (11%) as most important, while a manager who has energy, can be adaptable and be a good mentor were least important.
• When deciding where to work Qualtrics asked what was most and least important. For the Irish salary (23%), work/life balance (16%) and location (11%) were most important while having the option to work remotely, knowing the company direction and working within a specific industry were the least important in that order.
• Looking at preferences for what type of company is most appealing to work for by country shows that most people in all countries including Ireland (except the Netherlands) feel that working for a large established company is the most appealing kind of workplace.
• Being part of a Start Up wasn’t very appealing to the Irish (11.8%) or for most other countries apart from the French (16%) who out of all countries surveyed were the most likely to report working at a start-up as the most appealing kind of job to have.

Here’s more findings:
•    In all countries people turn to friends first when looking for a new job—over job sites, family, a former employer or Facebook.
•    The U.S. has the strongest case of the ‘Lake Wobegon Effect’ among the 14-country comparison, with American respondents estimating their own personal productivity to be a whopping 11 percentage points higher than their estimate of the average American worker’s productivity.
•    Greece score lowest for work/life balance; Greeks also score themselves low for productivity in terms of number of hours worked, though Italians rank themselves the least productive. It’s likely no coincidence that Greeks and Italians also report they spend the most time on personal social media use at work each day.
•    Germans, meanwhile, report the highest levels of personal productivity, and they, along with the Swedish, place the most importance on punctuality, proving that the early bird really does get the worm.
•    The French prioritise “dressing formally at work” far more than any other country. Over 55 percent feel it is “extremely” or “very important” to dress to the nines, while the Swedish and Greeks feel the least compelled to don formal wear at work.
•    The Polish report the lowest levels of job satisfaction, with fewer than 43 percent of respondents stating that they are “extremely” or “moderately” satisfied.
•    Most people in all countries (except the Netherlands) find working for a large established company most appealing. Americans, at 38 percent, feel the preference most strongly, while the French demonstrate the strongest penchant for entrepreneurialism, with 16 percent most likely to report that working at a start-up is most appealing.

“Considering work is such an integral part of a person’s life, a country’s collective satisfaction at work says a lot about how satisfied its people are overall,” says Dermot Costello, Managing Director Qualtrics Ireland. “This is why it’s so important to understand what employees are looking for and how to keep them engaged. This survey shows big differences and some surprising similarities between how people in various countries view their jobs and their motivations to work. With the presence of so many large multinational companies here, we now have a more diverse workforce in Ireland, so this report will be valuable for marketers, recruiters and business leaders looking for a deeper understanding of people on a country-by-country basis.”
For the Irish and all countries surveyed, the primary motivator was a need to support themselves and their families financially, followed by enjoyment and building wealth. Whereas for other countries factors such as saving for retirement (Spain), feeling like productive members of society (The Netherlands) and being with other people (Sweden) were also important factors.

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