The Future Forum, a consortium created by Slack, has released its most recent findings from its Pulse survey, providing insight into how the employee experience has fluctuated in the supposed post-pandemic era.
According to the findings, 34% of knowledge workers stated that they are now working in person five days a week, which is the largest number seen since Future Forum began collecting data in June of 2020.
As a result, employee sentiment has reached near-record lows, with work-related stress and anxiety worsening by 28% and work-life balance by 17% compared to the previous quarter.
The common denominator? The dissatisfaction of current flexible offerings in terms of where and when employees work.
“Leaders need to move away from dictating days in the office and rigid 9-to-5 schedules. Trusting teams with flexibility to work where and when works best for them will lead to better business results and happier employees.” said Brian Elliott, Executive Leader of the Future Forum. “Trusting your teams with the flexibility to work where and when works best for them will lead to better business results and happier employees.”
Full-time office workers saw a 2x steep decline in their work-life balance compared to hybrid and remote workers, as well as a 1.6x steep decline in their workplace satisfaction.
Ushering workers back into the office five days a week is leading to a predictably lower level of employee contentment, especially considering 55% of respondents said they would rather work flexibly throughout the week.
Even more, knowledge workers that do not have access to flexible policies were 20% more likely to seek out a new position over the next year.
This has been particularly challenging for women and working mothers, of which 58% stated they wanted to work flexibly at least three days a week or more. A staggering 82% also said they wanted some location flexibility in their workplace arrangements.
Despite leaders’ preference for their employees to be in the office full-time, non-executive workers were twice as likely to make a daily commute compared to executives, highlighting major hypocrisies in current work policies.
What this indicates is that all workers would prefer to have a bigger say in their daily work schedule and location, but some leaders believe these arrangements should remain a privilege for higher-ups.