Eye EYE (c) 2016 Pixabay / cocoparisienne https://pixabay.com/en/eye-blue-eye-iris-pupil-face-1173863/ Several interesting pieces of research were published this week. They included a report by Lattice, the HR vendor, that looks at the ongoing evolution of Hybrid work. This was also the subject of pieces of research from Achievers and Infosys that drew some similar conclusions. Organisations cannot be complacent. Offering a hybrid work environment, may not be seen by workers as being flexible

Access Legal

Access Legal, part of The Access Group, published a survey on the conveyancing sector in the UK. It found that the conveyancing market was strongest in 2021 than it’s been in more than a decade. Residential purchase cases exceeded 1 million for the first time since 2007 – mainly due to the SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax) holiday.

Key findings

  • There are nearly 5,000 active firms
  • Only 1 firm completed more than 11,000 cases
  • Five firms completed more than 5,000 cases.
  • 84% completed less than 250 cases
  • 59% completed less than 100 cases.

Mike Connelly, commercial director and founder of Legal Bricks, part of Access Legal, said: “Our data shows the polarisation of the market with the number of larger firms increasing their transaction volumes over this period, whilst the number of small firms completing transactions, decreased considerably.

“Over the past two years, we’ve seen a huge shift in the way law firms have had to operate and service clients. Many of the larger law firms are likely to be able to embrace new technology, enabling them to work more agile, and move to a hybrid way of working quicker than many of the smaller law practices.

“It’s notoriously difficult for sole practitioners, limited partner firms, and generally smaller law firms to be accepted by some lender panels, which leaves them with limited options outside of appointing additional partners, should they wish to grow.

“The good news is we’ve seen that lenders are taking a more pragmatic approach, and mortgage rates have fallen despite the base rate rises. This will hopefully provide green shoots of positivity for the market and conveyancing firms of all sizes will see activity again pick up heading into Spring 2023.”


The Achievers Workforce Institute (AWI) published the 2023 Engagement and Retention Report. The report looks at the evolution of working.

51% of HR leaders surveyed had already implemented a four-day work week (9%) or considered it (42%). While organisations have introduced hybrid work, it does not mean it is flexible. It is the flexibility that job seekers want.

Dr Natalie Baumgartner, AWI Chief Workforce Scientist, commented, “After being forced to support employees working from home due to COVID-19, many employers have seen the tail end of the pandemic as an opportunity to return to 2019 business practices.

“Employees who have benefited from remote work are asking for flexibility, leading to business leaders offering hybrid work such as three days in the office and two days at home. This is a limited view of flexibility. Many employees still feel they are not in control of how and when they work, leading some hybrid workers to look for other options.”

The study identifies 4 personas for working baits.

  • In-Office: Local employee that spends most days in the office
  • Hybrid: Local employee that works in the office for two plus days a week, with the flexibility to work the rest of the week remotely
  • Remote by Choice: Local employee that spends most days at home but will come to the office for organizational and team events
  • Remote: Long-distance employee that is 100% remote and rarely or never comes to the office for team events

The report has some insightful findings based on 5,006 respondents from Australia, Canada, Singapore, the UK, and the USA.

Cezanne HR

In partnership with Personnel Today, Cezanne HR published a joint research paper: Managing Sickness in the Hybrid Workplace.

Key findings included:

  • 30% of employers say their absence policies reflect their new working practices
  • 55% of line managers are not enforcing company absence procedures
  • Only 42% of HR professionals say they have KPIs or other business metrics they use to actively track absences
  • 87% of HR professionals believe employees take ‘sickies.’
  • 79% of HR professionals working with hybrid and remote workers don’t have any visibility when staff are off sick.

Paul Bauer, Head of Content at Cezanne HR, said: “With finances squeezed and labour markets becoming tighter, organisations will be looking to operate as efficiently as possible. However, our survey has revealed there are numerous issues preventing HR teams from successfully managing unplanned, short-term absences – especially when it comes to remote and flexibly-working employees.

“Although businesses can’t control if and when their staff become ill, our survey has shown that organisations must put in place effective strategies and procedures to help them cope with rising levels of sick leave. Luckily, the findings in this report will help them do exactly that.”


ELMO Software published a study identifying that the talent drain might end. 70% plan to stay with their current company in 2023. The reason? 81% of employees are concerned about a recession in Australia. The report dives into employees’ reasons for leaving and the pressures across different industries.

Danny Lessem, Co-Founder and CEO of ELMO Software, commented, “While the focus of many companies over the past few years has been on hiring the talent they need, we think their attention should be shifting to better managing the talent they have.”

“This research debunks the notion of “quiet quitting”. While turbulent economic times are driving employees to stay with their current employer, they are being loud and clear about what they want and need.

“In the absence of the automatic promotions and pay rises offered by new jobs, employees have indicated that they will be actively looking for opportunities to advance their careers within their current company.”

Lessom advocates that employers cannot become complacent. The report also highlights the different generational opinions at play. Lessom added, “We’re starting to see differences emerge between Baby Boomers and older Gen Xs who have experienced a recession first-hand, and younger workers who are yet to go through a downturn in their working lives.

“Organisations should be aware of how their employees are feeling about the potential of a recession and what their individual priorities might be at this time. A one-size-fits-all approach to flexible working, salary and development opportunities is not the answer.”


Infosys published a global research report titled ‘Future of Work 2023’. According to the report, up to $1.4 trillion in revenue and $282 billion in new profit could be generated through digital tools automation, diversifying talent pool, and improving skills development amongst employees. It highlights how the workplace of the 21st century will see more hybrid working and digital engagement, enabling firms to build more diverse and creative teams.

The key findings from the survey are as follows:

  • Businesses adopting flexibility, diversity, and digitisation see 6.7% higher revenue growth and 7.7% higher profit growth
  • Organisations that retain staff are more likely to see higher revenue growth
  • Nearly 2/3 of senior execs are working flexibly and expect to see more coworking spaces in the future
  • 65% of senior executives agreed that enabling remote working increased retention. The report looks at the other key factors
  • The top investment priority for the next 2 years is the automation and modernization of digital tools
  • Businesses looking for success must focus on diversity rather than location
  • The top challenges for businesses are collaboration, change management, and the constant evolution of the future of work

Rajesh Varrier, EVP, Head of Digital Experience & Microsoft Business, Infosys, said, “Organizations have realized that remote work is here to stay and that there is a pressing need to diversify and upskill their employees to boost business growth. The findings from the Future of Work 2023 report also showcase how businesses can drive growth, productivity, and profitability through the automation of digital tools and create more inclusive workplaces.”


The IRIS Software Group has highlighted a concern for the UK accounting industry following an analysis of the sector using statistics from the Office of National Statistics. While the number of small accounting firms has boomed since 2018, fewer qualified accountants are joining the industry.

The number of firms has grown by 40% since 2018, from 55,000 to 77,000. However, the number of accountants has only grown 10%, from 71,000 to 78,000.

While growth may seem positive, there is a big risk of a decline

Steve Cox, Head of Market Insights at IRIS, commented, “We predicted double digit growth in the profession, but the latest analysis showing a 32% growth in accountancy practices over a four-year period has exceeded our own expectations.

”While the additional data sources have positively expanded the scope of the analysis, there is no denying the growth in the profession. It helps to explain some of the talent and skills shortages existing firms have been facing over recent years – with talent they would previously have hired deciding to go it alone and set up their own firms.

“Worryingly though, the number of student and qualified members joining established industry bodies like ACCA, ICAEW and ICB is in decline according to the FRC Key Facts and Trends 2022 report. The percentage growth of students in the UK and Republic of Ireland (ROI) declined by 2.1% in 2019-20 and 2.2% overall from 2016 to 2020. Further, the percentage growth of qualified members in the UK and ROI increased by only 1.9% in 2019-20.”

Cox notes that business leaders looking for accountants should be cautious and check qualifications. Low prices may attract work, but it is not sustainable and should be a red flag for businesses. After all, HMRC is checking the firm’s books for accuracy, not the accountants.


Oracle NetSuite published a study on what UK business founders and workers are happy to see in 2023. Key findings include:

  • 71% of founders are more optimistic about their business prospects in 2023 than in 2022, and 47% expect their business to grow
  • Founders’ concerns around recession and inflation have dropped by 35% and 26%, respectively, compared to last year
  • 64% of UK workers have ambitions to start their own business in the next two years
  • ‘Side hustle’ culture is growing, with 27% of UK workers currently having a separate source of income to their main job
  • The top challenges facing founders are rising costs/inflation (62%), increasing energy costs (50%), and the knock-on effects of a recession (48%)
  • 72% of founders are using cloud technology to navigate economic challenges, and 94% of them see the benefits.

Nicky Tozer, EMEA SVP at Oracle NetSuite, commented, “It’s encouraging to see so many business founders and workers looking positively at the year ahead. Our study suggests that founders are adapting to the persistent risk posed by inflation and recession by doubling down on productivity, the use of cloud technology, and meeting pricing pressures head-on. The UK’s entrepreneurial spirit is shining brightly, as evidenced by the quarter of workers currently bringing in additional sources of income to their day job.”


Nexthink released more findings from its  Soft-WASTE How Much Does IT Waste on Unused Software Licenses. It highlighted which were the most actively used licenses (over 50%)

  • Slack
  • Teams
  • Zoom
  • Webex host
  • Asana

And which were least used: <15%

  • Tableau
  • Trello
  • Notion App
  • Spotfire
  • BlueJeans

Good and bad news for Salesforce with Slack at one end of the scale and Tableau at the other!


Oracle published a report, “MultiCloud in the mainstream”, with 451 research. Key findings included:

  • Almost every cloud journey is multi-cloud, with 98% of firms planning to use at least 2 infrastructure providers and 31% planning to use 4. 96% of firms planning to use at least 2 cloud software providers and 45% planning to use 5 or more
  • Data sovereignty (41%) and cost optimisation(40%) are the top drivers of multi-cloud
  • Enterprise organizations are proactively planning multi-cloud strategies for the future for data redundancy, cost optimisation and risk mitigation.

Leo Leung, vice president OCI and Oracle Technology, commented, “Multicloud is here, whether enterprises are ready for it or not. Business mergers can turn even the most stable of IT strategies into a multi-cloud environment overnight.

“Whether IT teams are starting their multi-cloud plans from scratch or already have an implementation in place but want to add best-of-breed cloud services, OCI’s distributed cloud can help. With the recent introduction of MySQL HeatWave on AWS and Oracle Database Service for Microsoft Azure, customers have even more capabilities to help their multi-cloud strategies succeed.”


Research from Qualtrics showed that despite having higher levels of education than previous generations, only 36% of young people feel very or extremely prepared by their education for the job market. 74% of young people said they feel prepared to perform well in a job, only 60% feel prepared to look for a job, and only 58% feel prepared to compete against other candidates.

The report looks at the influence of government, apprenticeships and education. Qualtrics Head of Industry Advisory, Dr Sydney Heimbrock, commented, “Taking the time to listen to students’ experiences entering the workforce and understanding the specific challenges they face can help government and education institutions create the right interventions that will help ensure this generation of young people does not get left behind.

“If we understand the real drivers of job preparedness, we can put resources toward education, apprenticeship and training programs that have the most impact.”


Unit4 published more findings for the research that powered its 2022 Business Future Index. It focused on the findings around ESG.

  • Sustainability has improved: 24% of respondents reported their organization was doing very well in meeting sustainability goals in 2022, a significant improvement over the 19% who reported that in 2021
  • ESG performance is stronger: 69% of organizations say they’re in a better position now to meet ESG and CSR goals because of accelerated change in the workplace
  • Poor ESG poses a talent barrier: 20% of respondents said their organization is perceived to have poor ESG credentials
  • Recruitment and retention of diverse talent is lagging: 36% of responding businesses said they struggle to find and keep staff across a mix of generations and other key diversity categories
  • Most organizations aren’t prioritizing diversity: 25% of respondents reported that their organizations plan to improve diversity

Tania Garrett, Chief People Officer, Unit4, commented, “As other research makes clear, diverse teams are an asset to any and every business, so the ESG and CSR findings in the 2022 Business Future Index suggest that more organizations should take steps to improve diversity.

“ESG is about more than metrics – doing the right thing benefits the business, its people and the environment at large. When businesses adopt flexible working and provide supporting tools and processes, they can improve employee wellbeing, productivity and engagement in addition to ESG metrics.”


The Xero State of Industry report, based on a survey of 550 Australian accountants, found that advisors are being relied upon by small businesses beyond accounting. 85% of large practices were used for advisory services more than 6 months ago.

The most sought-after services are:

  • App and software setup (35%)
  • HR advisory (38%)
  • Startup mentoring (33%)

Will Buckley, Country Manager, Xero Australia, said, “As we look to the year ahead, we know that small businesses will have a lot to navigate. I am encouraged to see this research confirm what we suspected; that accountants and bookkeepers are playing a more holistic role in supporting their clients, and the digitisation trend that accelerated during the pandemic looks to be continuing.

“The findings from Xero’s research highlights more clearly than ever the critical role accountants and bookkeepers play in keeping small businesses up and running – not just with their finances but now in other business-critical functions as well. Making up over 97% of all Australian companies, small businesses are the lifeblood of Australia’s economy and supporting them is an important responsibility for the industry.

“However, as the role of advisors and the value they offer small businesses continues to evolve, addressing the skills and talent shortage required to offer these services continues to be a key priority. When it comes to staff retention, practices need to start thinking differently about attracting and retaining employees.”

The looks at the talent shortage and other key findings include:

  • 33% of all practices are prioritising the importance of tracking staff wellbeing
  • 44% of practices foresee a need to offset rising inflation by increasing their staff wages and consequently increasing their fees (45%)
  • 79% are managing to meet compliance deadlines without needing extensions, despite challenges.


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