HR Management & Compliance

The Future of the In-Person Office

As the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, there is less and less of a need for employers to maintain the remote work policies many have had in place for well over a year. Still, employee expectations and preferences are pushing many employers to consider permanent remote work or at least hybrid arrangements, and those employers did not see the negative impact to productivity many were expecting.

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Remote vs. In Person: What Employees Want

To get a better understanding of changing perspectives and preferences, many companies have conducted research based on surveys and other data to gauge employee attitudes.

According to new research from Qualtrics released on Wednesday, July 14, employee perspectives and preferences around what they want in a workspace have shifted drastically. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Old names, new faces: 57% of employees say they’ll be meeting colleagues in person for the first time when they return to the office.
  • In-person advantage: 45% of employees think those who work in person from an office have a career advantage for promotions and raises compared with remote employees.
  • Office pressure: 42% of employees say they feel pressured to work in person from the office, even if their employer is offering a hybrid or remote option.
  • Office preferences: 62% of employees would be satisfied if their org consolidated office locations, and 55% of employees said they’d be satisfied if their organization opened more satellite offices for smaller teams.

Finding the Right Balance

Interestingly, this data suggests that while many employees would prefer to continue to work remotely, they feel pressured, often implicitly, to return to the office. To the extent employers prefer to have employees continue to work from home or remain indifferent, it would be wise for them to make sure they are adequately getting that message across to their teams in the interest of maintaining employee morale and remaining competitive as an employer with companies that have a clear acceptance of long-term remote work.