After years of changing office policies, weathering unforeseen business challenges caused by the pandemic, and trying to improve team morale amid rising resignation rates, today’s leaders are tired. They’re struggling to keep up with the demands of their employees and the expectations of their shareholders.
And yet, despite all of these challenges, many leaders are still clinging to outdated methods of management. They’re relying on top-down decision-making, tight control over information, and a “my way or the highway” approach to problem-solving.
This isn’t necessarily because they’re poor leaders. In many cases, it’s simply because they’re used to operating in a certain way. After all, these methods have been the norm for generations of leaders before them.
According to insights from Future Forum — a consortium focused on building a way of working that is flexible, inclusive, and connected — executives are feeling the strain from having to lead their organizations through the ‘new normal.’
Read on to explore some key findings from the report:
Executives are reporting record-low experience and sentiment scores
Findings from the Future Forum Pulse reveal that executives’ sentiment and experience scores dropped to record lows as leaders struggled to navigate shifting work models. Over the past year, executive scores for overall satisfaction dropped 15 percent. Executives now report 20 percent worse work-life balance and 40 percent more work-related stress and anxiety.
Burnout is on the rise, particularly among women and younger employees
Burnout was already a problem among executives in the pre-pandemic workforce. The past year has seen a significant increase in the number of leaders reporting burnout symptoms — burnout rose to 40 percent this quarter globally (an 8 percent increase from May) with the most significant rise in the U.S., where 43 percent of desk workers report feeling burned out.
There’s also a notable gender gap among burned-out workers. Female employees are 32 percent more likely than their male counterparts to feel symptoms of burnout. Younger workers are also more likely to experience burnout, with 49 percent of 18-29 year olds saying they feel burned out (compared with just 38 percent of workers aged 30 and older).
Employees with flexibility show higher scores for productivity, connection, and company culture
Employees who have more control over their work schedule and location show higher levels of satisfaction with their company culture, feel more connected to their team, and are more productive, according to the research. Nearly 60 percent of employees who have some form of flexibility say they’re able to be productive outside of traditional working hours.
Here are some notable insights from the research:
• Workers who have full schedule flexibility are reporting 29 percent higher productivity and 53 percent greater ability to focus than workers with no ability to shift their schedule.
• Remote and hybrid workers are more likely to feel connected to their direct manager and their company’s values and equally or more likely to feel connected to their immediate teams as fully in-office workers are.
• Flexible remote work policies were cited as the number one factor that has improved company culture over the past two years.
The pandemic has forced many organizations to re-evaluate their policies and procedures. And while there’s still a lot of work to be done, it’s clear that leaders are starting to realize the importance of flexibility and inclusion in the workplace.
The research from Future Forum shows that executives are under immense pressure to lead their organizations through the ‘new normal.’ And yet, many leaders are still clinging to outdated methods of management. This isn’t necessarily because they’re bad leaders. In many cases, it’s simply because they’re used to operating in a certain way. After all, these methods have been the norm for generations of leaders before them.
What’s more, the research shows that employees who have more control over their work schedule and location are more productive, satisfied with their company culture, and feel more connected to their team. This is a strong indication that organizations need to start reconsidering their policies and procedures in order to better support their most coveted talent — leadership.