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More than 1/3 employees ‘resent’ return to office

New research from Scalable Software of 2,000 UK knowledge workers has revealed more than a third (35%) resent being told they have to go into the office for a set number of days.

Half (50%) of respondents say their employer has ‘productivity paranoia’ over employees working away from the office, with 62 per cent reporting their organisation has implemented an ‘RTO’ policy within the last two years. The research also uncovers the full impact of poor Digital Employee Experiences (DEX) on today’s workforce, which is contributing to the tension between employees and employers. Knowledge workers are forced to work 3.1 extra weeks a year because of poor digital experiences.

Mark Cresswell, Co-Founder, Scalable Software said, “once heralded as the ‘future of work’, hybrid has quickly become the scapegoat for falling business productivity. But it isn’t hybrid work that makes employees less productive. It’s the poor digital experience workers are subjected to that holds them back, wherever they are. Half of all respondents say negative DEX makes them less productive at their job. The RTO vs. WFH battle is likely to get even more fierce this year. To keep employees onside, businesses’ methods of measuring experiences and productivity must evolve. One-size-fits-all policies that dictate how and where employees work are not fit for today’s modern digital workplaces.”

Organisations must create and measure hybrid work policies based on hard data from across the enterprise. This includes assessing the uptake of and engagement with collaboration software, and understanding how applications and device usage differs across teams, roles, and locations. These data points are essential when setting workplace policies, but also for a more general understanding of how productive workers are in the current set-up. The good news for organisations is that 55 per cent of knowledge workers say they are open to their employer using DEX software to demonstrate they are working efficiently from home.

The research, which builds on a study first conducted in 2021, found that digital experiences have worsened. Almost a fifth (18%) of workers rated the DEX provided by their employer as poor, up from 15 per cent in 2021. One reason for negative DEX is the high incidence of digital friction, the unnecessary effort employees must exert to carry out their daily tasks. Respondents are experiencing multiple instances of friction, such as repeatedly crashing applications (47%), ‘notification overload’ (30%), and forced application switching (35%). The impact of such poor DEX on knowledge workers is concerning. More say that poor DEX has reduced their job satisfaction now (43%) than in 2021 (38%) and more say it has made them want to leave their job (29%) than in 2021 (18%).

Mark added, “these findings should ring alarm bells for both IT and HR departments who must minimise the risk of burnout workers face from bad DEX. It is not sustainable for employees to work more than three extra weeks each year. Not only is it a huge financial drain on businesses, but employees will leave for a better experience elsewhere. Organisations must assess DEX accurately to expose the digital friction that plagues the devices and applications employees rely on every day. This friction wastes hours of employees’ time, making them frustrated, disengaged, and less productive. And as we’ve seen with trends like ‘Quiet Quitting’, the power balance has shifted. Employees who are unhappy or frustrated at work are far more likely to simply jump ship.”

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