Executives and Employees Have Different Views on the Future of Work and it Could Cost Them

George PaulFeatures

The business world is divided, with two major factions emerging in the wake of the pandemic.

On one side there are those who have embraced the newfound freedom that working from home has brought and want it to continue all or some of the time. While on the other side, there are others yearning to return to the pre-pandemic, fully in-office standard of work.

We all know friends and co-workers who fall into one camp or the other, but what is the popular sentiment?

Slack’s internal research group set out to answer this question with hard data and spent the past summer polling 10,569 knowledge workers in the US, UK, Australia, France, Germany, and Japan. What they found was a startling disconnect; Just under half (44%) of global executives want to return to the office full-time, while only 17% of non-executive knowledge workers around the world agree.

Return to office data

Of those that want to go back, 75% of executives want to come back three to five days a week compared to just 34% of employees.

The seemingly irreconcilable disconnects have reportedly left some CEOs “at their wits’ end” as they figure out how to get their employees back into the office, according to CNBC’s David Faber.

The starkly different views are also in part fueling what has come to be known as The Great Resignation, as workers leave their jobs in search of new opportunities that align with their workplace ideals.

As The Great Resignation unfolds and accelerates, employers that choose to go back full-time could be hit especially hard in their diversity and inclusion efforts.

Among the knowledge workers Slack polled 87% of Asian workers, 81% of Black workers, and 78% of Hispanic workers want flexibility in where they work compared to just 75% of White workers. When broken down by gender, 87% of women currently working fully remotely want flexible or hybrid work, compared to just 79% of men.

Looking forward, employers should be listening to their employees by sending out polls or providing spaces for anonymous feedback as currently, 66% of executives report that they are creating their post-pandemic workforce policies with little to no direct input from employees.

Without letting their employees' concerns be heard and incorporating employee input, companies both big and small are at risk of losing some of their top talent.

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