Many workers really aren’t enjoying the return to the office

As the pandemic begins to recede, workers are returning to offices around the world – but don’t seem particularly happy about it.

According to a global survey conducted by Slack, as part of its Future Forum event, workers are less than excited to return to the office.

According to Slack, about 34% of “knowledge workers” — meaning those who work primarily on a computer — have returned to the office, and employee experience scores are plummeting.

A lack of flexibility

Respondents reported a 2x drop in work-life balance, compared to remote or hybrid working, and a 1.5x drop in overall satisfaction with their work environment.

Interestingly, non-executives are nearly twice as likely to work in the office five days a week as executives, suggesting that those at the top aren’t playing by their own rules.

The heart of the problems for these workers is the lack of flexibility that going to the office offers – you can’t spontaneously walk your dog, take care of your child, sit in the garden, etc. if you are not at home.

Around 65% of respondents said there was no flexibility to adjust their working hours, leading to lower experience scores and a higher likelihood of looking for a new job in the future.

The new new normal?

While the pandemic has been devastating for many reasons, the forced shift to remote work — at least for those who could — was a big, big win for workers.

Commute has been eliminated, freeing up mornings and evenings for other activities, and home offices have improved dramatically. It was, in many ways, a good time.

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But bosses, eager to use their expensive office space and have more control over employees, are increasingly insisting on a return to offices around the world.

As the Slack survey shows, it’s not always news that employees love, and the long-term effects, like moving from job to job, will be interesting to watch over the next few years.

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