The results are in: workplaces that can’t embrace a flexible work environment are witnessing declines in important experiences that promote a healthy work-life balance and employee satisfaction.
According to a recent Insight Publishing article, Future Forum has released new insights and findings that are impacting the workplace experience (wx) for many employers and employees: “More than a third of knowledge workers (34%) are now working from the office five days a week,” their Pulse study explains. “With this shift, employee sentiment has dropped to near-record lows, including 28% worse scores on work-related stress and anxiety and 17% worse scores on work-life balance (compared to last quarter).”
And, of course, the way employees feel about their workplace matters. In fact, workers who remain unsatisfied with employers that refuse to adopt a flexible mindset are three times as likely to look for a new job than those who are allowed to embrace working from home at least part of the time.
The study continues: “Employee experience scores fell for all knowledge workers, likely due to concerns and challenges related to the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. But full-time office workers, who already ranked behind remote and hybrid employees on the eight key sentiment measures in the Pulse survey, posted the steepest declines on average, widening the gap with their flexible counterparts.”
Further causing concern, compared to last quarter, inflexible work schedules have led to 2x the decline in work-life balance in employees compared to hybrid workers, 1.6x the decline in overall employee satisfaction with the workplace, and 1.5x the decline in work-related stress and anxiety.
This is indicative of a larger phenomenon that was highlighted at the beginning of The Great Resignation. In today’s market, employees are reluctant to return to physical office space full-time. Instead, they much prefer the ability to follow flexible work arrangements, which allow them to choose which working days are best spent in the office and while are best spent for remote work.
Furthermore, the data represents a disconnect between corporate executives and their actual employees: non-executive employees are nearly twice as likely to make a daily commute to the office. This discrepancy involving where and how employee work should be optimized is fostering distrust in the workplace: “Employees who say that their employer is not being ‘transparent about their future of work plans’ are nearly four times as likely to say that they will ‘definitely’ seek a new job in the next year. It may surprise employers to learn that employees who say their company does not have a policy on flexible work are even more likely to indicate that they will ‘definitely’ try to change jobs than employees who say their company prohibits remote work.”
With hybrid work becoming table stakes for the modern workforce, employers have no choice but to invest in design technology and flexible infrastructure that can power more flexible schedules for their team members — no matter where they are working.