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Inflexible return-to-office policies are hammering employee experience scores

“Future Forum Pulse New data shows work-related stress and anxiety is skyrocketing among full-time office workers and those without schedule flexibility Read through the report by clicking the sections below, or download the full report as a PDF.

Return-to-office policies are negatively impacting employee experience scores. As companies implement return-to-office policies, calling more employees back to the office, knowledge workers’ work-related stress and anxiety has hit the highest levels since our surveying began in the summer of 2020.

  • More than a third of knowledge workers (34%) have reverted to working from the office five days a week, the greatest share since Future Forum began surveying in June 2020.
  • With this shift, scores have dropped to near-record lows across all eight employee experience measures that we survey. Work-related stress and anxiety is at its worst since our surveying began, dropping 28% compared with last quarter, while work-life balance dropped 17% quarter over quarter.Full-time office workers report the steepest declines. While employee experience scores fell for all knowledge workers—likely due, at least in part, to concerns and challenges around the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19—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, including:
  • 2x as steep a decline in work-life balance, compared to flexible (hybrid and remote) workers.
  • 1.6x as steep a decline in overall satisfaction with their working environment, compared to flexible workers.
  • 1.5x worsening work-related stress and anxiety, compared to remote workers…”

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