In survey after survey over the past 18 months, technologists everywhere have made it clear that they prefer hybrid and remote work to heading back to the office full-time. But are executives actually listening to their preferences?
The new Future Forum Pulse survey asked 10,500 knowledge workers around the world about their companies’ approach to flexible work. The results were dispiriting: Some 66 percent of executives reported designing their post-pandemic policies with “little to no direct input from employees.” Some 44 percent of executives said they wanted to go into the office every day, in stark contrast to the 17 percent of employees who said the same.
In an especially worrisome twist, some 66 percent of executives said they were being “very transparent” about those policies, but only 42 percent of workers agreed. That hints at an extreme disconnect between management and workers that could lead to all sorts of issues down the road.
“Employees who don’t believe their company ‘is being very transparent regarding post-pandemic remote-working policies’ report substantially lower levels of job satisfaction (-26.7%), feeling valued (-24.6%) and perceived equity (-25.2%), and they’re nearly two times more likely to disagree with the statement ‘I am excited about the future of my company,’” the report added. “In keeping with those low scores, they’re 17.3% more likely to say they’re open to looking for a new job in the coming year.”
Within tech, retention is potentially a growing issue. According to a new analysis of anonymized workforce data by Visier Benchmarks, technologists are resigning their current positions in higher numbers than other professions. “While resignations actually decreased slightly in industries such as manufacturing and finance, 3.6 percent more health care employees quit their jobs than in the previous year, and in tech, resignations increased by 4.5 percent,” reads the analysis by study leader Ian Cook in the Harvard Business Review.
What’s behind that elevated resignation rate? According to the 2021 Technologist Sentiment Report, 36 percent of technologists said they were really burned out in the second quarter of 2021, up from 32 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020. They cited workload, hours worked, lack of recognition for work, and lack of challenges/monotony as their top reasons for burnout.
In survey after survey, technologists have made it clear that they want hybrid or all-remote work, and they prize work-life balance over other potential benefits of a particular job. If employers aren’t willing to listen to them on those fronts (and help them deal with burnout), their most prized technologists might walk right out the door.