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Workers and employees clash over return to office plans

Yahoo Finance Live reviews survey data measuring work-related stress and employee happiness, including how workers are pushing against employers' return to office procedures.

Video transcript

DAVE BRIGGS: Who would have thought, right, that the biggest change coming out of the pandemic would be dissatisfaction at the office and wanting a flexible work schedule? I mean, we knew we'd have some permanent changes perhaps in travel, but this seems to be like the reworking of our economy the biggest.

And the biggest takeaway from that study for me is work-related stress and anxiety is the worst since their survey began. It's down 28% this quarter from last year. That is staggering. That is concerning. And that is a challenge for every boss in America to figure out how to best manage your employees' mental health. And clearly, with the flexible work schedule is how they're going to have to start. And leading by example, if you want your employees here five days a week, you better be here five days a week.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, bosses need to be in the office. We talked about that before. Flexibility, it's interesting, because we see that stress and anxiety still in workers, even though some people continue to work from home. And I think that brings up the question, is, you can be flexible in terms of where you work, but bosses need to be flexible in terms of when you work.

And we just heard our guest talk about that numerous times because sometimes, if you're working from home, and the majority of the time you're working from home, it's hard to switch it off because you're always there. You can easily go back to your desk. You could easily answer emails. People, a lot of times, expect you to be answering emails in those, quote unquote, "off hours" now, maybe more so than they were prior to the pandemic. So Rachelle, we certainly are in this transition period. I think all companies are trying to feel it out. And they're all trying to figure out what's best for their bottom lines, and also, for their employees at the same time.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: And we are showing that engagement and feeling authentic at work, these are the things that actually boost creativity, and they also make employees want to stay. But then you figure, if you're a small mom and pop company, and you're like, how am I supposed to attract talent when all these people are offering all these perks and everything else, I do feel for some of these smaller companies probably trying to figure all this out.

But as you mentioned, it's about the whens and the wheres that you work. I mean, if you feel like you never really get to turn off if you feel like you're on call all the time, that's how we saw so much burnout before the pandemic. So now that people can sort of sit back and think what actually works for me, I'm glad that people are having the time to do this and that this is going to be a permanent change that lasts.

DAVE BRIGGS: I can't help but wonder if you just have to wait this out as a boss, that people will eventually want to return. I know I'm thrilled to be back in the office, especially when I got to come into a barista--

SEANA SMITH: I know. [INAUDIBLE] That's a perk.

DAVE BRIGGS: --at this office today. I'm good. I'm done. That's all I need. I'm a pretty simple guy.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah, you know, I was a little bit surprised at the perks in our Yahoo Finance only got 1% of the votes. You would think-- we talked about it so much before the pandemic how so many of these companies are offering perks. We have the baristas back on Tuesday and Thursday. I'm satisfied.

DAVE BRIGGS: Dirty chai latte? I'm good.

SEANA SMITH: I know. I know. Exactly. It saves us some money, too.

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