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“Inflexible Return-to-Office Policies Are Hammering Employee Experience Scores,” New Report Finds

recent Future Forum survey suggests non-executives are facing more challenges in the “return-to-office era” than executives, with work-life balance scores 40% worse than their bosses, and rates of working in the office five days per week at 35%, compared to 19% for executives. 

Non-executives are reporting more than twice the level of work-related stress and anxiety as executives, according to the survey. In the U.S., work-life balance is at an all-time low and work-related stress is at an all-time high since the survey began in June 2020. 

“Where” vs. “when”: Many companies, the survey reports, have focused on the “where” as opposed to the “when” of work, overlooking schedule flexibility. However, while 79% of knowledge workers say they want location flexibility, 94% indicate wanting schedule flexibility. 

Inability to set hours driving attrition and burnout: Knowledge workers who report having little to no ability to set their own hours are 2.6 times as likely to “definitely” look for a new job in the next year, have 2.2 times worse work-related stress and anxiety, 1.7 times worse work-life balance, and are 1.4 times more likely to experience burnout. 

The desire for flexibility is highest among underrepresented groups, including women, people of color, and working mothers. This quarter, 58% of women surveyed reported wanting to work remotely three to five days a week, opposed to 52% last quarter. 

Takeaway: Employee expectations have shifted dramatically in recent months, with the pandemic prompting employees to reevaluate how work fits into their lives. This development has influenced rethinking by many stakeholders on issues as vital as unionization, employee wellbeing, employee voice, and the use of technology in the workplace—to name a few—in concurrence with employer efforts to attract and retain competitive talent. 

The Association will discuss these issues with Future Forum Executive Leader and SVP Brian Elliott and Boston Consulting Group Managing Director and Senior Partner Deborah Lovich at our 2022 CHRO Summit, to be held in Chicago, Illinois May 31-June 2. You can find Summit information and registration here.

Published on: April 22, 2022

Authors: Daniel W. Chasen

Topics: COVID-19 Employer Issues, Employee Relations

Daniel W. Chasen

Vice President, Workplace Policy, HR Policy Association

Detailed Bio

Contact Daniel W. Chasen LinkedIn

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