Enterprise hits and misses - employee experience deteriorates, cloud gets an on-prem wake-up call, and event planners get called out

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed April 25, 2022
This week - employee experience takes a big return-to-office hit, but what's next? Cloud adoption may be surging, but on-premises systems still have traction. Atlassian's outage yields lessons, and event planners get a hybrid event challenge. As always, your whiffs.


Lead story - Employee experience deteriorates as organizations demand a return to the office - Stuart doesn't pull any punches in this review of recent demoralizing data on the return-to-office. Particularly disconcerting: the gap between employees and their managers. Stuart cites a global study from the Future Forum, which found that 34% of knowledge workers are back in the office. But, and it's a big but:

Overall, the drive to get employees back in the building is having a highly negative impact on employee experience, with work-related stress and anxiety at its worst since June 2020 in every country, except France and Japan. Those who have been summoned back to the office aren’t happy, with 55% saying that they want to work flexibly at least part of the time.

The potential double standard makes it worse:

There’s an accusation of double standards at play with non-executive employees twice as likely to be told that they need to get back to their office desks than their executive bosses. The study found that 35% of non-executives surveyed are back to making the five-day-a-week commute, compared to only 19% of executives. Work/life balances among those non-executives is now rated 40% worse than their superiors, while their level of work-related stress is twice as high as that of their managers.

What do employees want? Flexibility, in both schedule and location:

"94% of respondents cite schedule flexibility as more important than location flexibility, although 79% are also looking for that."

As of right now, there appears to be a game of employment chicken going on, with each side calling the others' bluff. Will this standoff fuel a bigger wave - "Great Resignation, the sequel"? I'd like to believe that talent will vote with their feet, and employers with the most humane/inclusible/flexible models will win.

But I see problems with that (naively?) optimistic view. Perhaps only the top talent in an industry will have the flexibility to move until they get what they want. I'm not convinced the so-called "rank and file" will have enough employment mobility to compel employers to change.

Stuart raises another problem: do large-scale employers have an office agenda fueled by the expensive "skyscrapers" on their balance sheets? Buildings shouldn't get in the way of work futures, but it would be foolish to claim that financial footprint doesn't matter. I can see solutions involving shared/leasing space arrangements, but the fact remains that companies are carrying legacy(?) buildings that may be overkill for what is now needed - even if many employees do return, like it or not.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:

A couple more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Jon's grab bag - Chris raised one of the trickiest problems in the overhyped field of AI ethics:  AI ethics - how do we put theory into practice when international approaches vary?  Derek put out a two-parter on the tensions between healthcare privacy, research demands, and the role of the NHS:  Maintaining public trust in sharing healthcare data when commercial entities play a role.

Finally, I blew a gasket or two in Want to limit the impact of your next event? Make sure your hybrid structure is bland or non-existent. "Event planners are super-psyched about the return of on-the-ground events - but why are they dismissive of hybrid events? If you claim to be "customer-first," your next event better be hybrid."

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven

Overworked businessman


Got a PR winner in my inbox this week:

I can't decide whether I'm rooting for Netflix against the deep-pocketed media giants or not. This week, I guess I'm rooting against:

And it looks like we have a trust crisis:

Finally, for those of you back on the road again, and having all kinds of fun waiting out delayed flights, maybe this YouTube video of musicians taking things into their own hands at the gate will raise spirits. Until next time.

If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does. Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed.

A grey colored placeholder image