Employees Say Working On-site Not Worth Commute

About half (46 percent) of knowledge workers report their companies are not doing anything to make it worthwhile to commute to the office,The 2023 Future of Working and Learning Report” released today by Executive Networks found. A majority of senior HR leaders (71 percent) and senior business leaders (62 percent) agree there’s likely a “proximity bias” against remote/hybrid workers, making it difficult for those working off-site to get ahead.

“Companies are offering more perks and increasing compensation to entice workers back to the office. But they need to make coming to the office more purposeful and ‘commute-worthy.’ This will require employers to be clear on why and how working in the office can optimize collaboration and innovation,” said Jeanne Meister, Executive VP, Executive Networks. “Employers also need to provide equal opportunity for advancement and development, no matter where the work gets done.”

In addition to making the office “commute-worthy,” employers need to explore flexibility options desired by workers. This research found the most desired flexibility option is access to a four-day or 32-hour work week with no pay reduction. This is desired by 69 percent of knowledge workers and 56 percent of front-line workers but is offered only to 16 percent and 29 percent, respectively.

Upskilling tops the list of what’s most critical for organizations. Four in ten respondents (41 percent) ranked upskilling the workforce as vital for their organization’s success in 2023, followed by enabling new ways of working (36 percent), supporting mental health (36 percent), and retaining talent (36 percent).

In fact, 80 percent of HR and business leaders believe investments made in skills-based training can be used as a recruitment and retention tool. And nearly half of knowledge workers (45 percent) and about a third of frontline workers (30 percent) believe people are leaving their companies due to insufficient career advancement and development opportunities. Additionally, 36 percent of workers identified stress and burnout as a major factor in employees leaving their organization.

Executive Networks is a senior HR peer community for international companies connecting HR leaders and providing trusted insights.