Executives’ preference to return to the office is threatening employee satisfaction and retention, particularly for women, working parents and people of colour, according to a report.
The latest Future Forum Pulse, a quarterly survey of more than 10,000 knowledge workers around the world, reveals that of knowledge workers currently working remotely, executives are nearly three times more likely than non-executive employees to want to return to the office full-time.
The desire for flexible work policies is strongest among employees of colour. The study shows promising but fragile improvement in employee experience scores for Black knowledge workers.
Most executives (66 per cent) report they are designing post-pandemic workforce policies with little to no direct input from employees.
Although two-thirds of executives (66 per cent) believe they are being “very transparent” regarding their “post-pandemic” policies, fewer than half of workers (42 per cent) agree.
Of those currently working fully remotely, nearly half of all executives surveyed (44 per cent) want to work from the office every day, compared with 17 per cent of employees (2.6x difference).
Of those surveyed 75 per cent of these executives say they want to work from the office three to five days a week versus only 34 per cent of employees. Overall, the vast majority (76 per cent) of employees do not want to return to full-time office work.
With 57 per cent of global knowledge workers open to looking for a new job in the next year, companies that dismiss employee preferences risk losing top talent, states the report.
The Future Forum Pulse is published quarterly and is based on a survey of more than 10,000 knowledge workers in the US, Australia, France, Germany, Japan and the UK.
Data from the four Pulse reports released over the past year indicate that employees’ desire for flexible work has remained consistent, and a growing number of employees are willing to "vote with their feet to retain this flexibility".
As of this quarter – with survey data gathered from July 28 to August 10, 2021 – 57 per cent of knowledge workers are open to looking for a new job in the next year, up slightly from three months ago.
The report shows that of knowledge workers currently working remotely, executives are nearly three times more likely than employees to want to return to the office full-time.