Learning & Development

Are Workers Starting to Turn the Corner on a Return to the Office?

In recent years, the remote work narrative has focused on the tension between employers and workers, with workers willing to quit rather than return to the office and employers chomping at the bit to get workers back in the building.

Remote Work Works for Some

Of course, this is a big oversimplification. Many employers have been pleasantly surprised by how well remote work has panned out for them. Productivity has held steady or even increased for many, overhead costs can be cut when a physical office space isn’t required, and remote work allows companies to cast a broader geographical net when it comes to recruitment.

And similarly, not all workers are prepared to work remotely forever.

Some Workers Miss the Office

In an article for BBC Worklife, Megan Tatum suggests many workers are actually starting to believe they might like it better back in the office. “They’re rediscovering the unexpected perks of being back in the office, from catching up with colleagues face-to-face, to finding themselves able to draw clearer boundaries between work and home,” Tatum writes. “And while many are willing to tell their bosses they’re glad to be back, some have taken the decision to keep those feelings quiet—they don’t want to encourage management to take away flexible-work arrangements.”

Being back in the office can have many upsides. Some employees prefer the structure and routine of leaving the house and spending 8 or 9 hours in an office, where they’re focused on work and don’t have the distractions of being at home. Others feel it’s easier and more effective to collaborate in person than over videoconferencing tools. And some simply miss the camaraderie of seeing colleagues every day.

No One-Size-Fits-All Solution

While many employees are growing increasingly eager to return to the office, there’s still a very large proportion who vehemently oppose such a return and would prefer to remain completely remote. Still others would prefer the ability to work a few days from home and a few in the office each week. The key for employers for the immediate future, therefore, is going to continue to be flexibility.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.

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