Aug 08, 2023
By Amy Tanzillo

4 Reasons Employees Are Really Coming Back to the Office

Employees at many companies now have more flexibility than ever to choose where they work. Many split their time between the workplace and another location, such as their home office, a nearby co-working space, or even far-flung destinations that allow them to balance work, leisure, caretaking, and other responsibilities.

With shorter commutes (or no commute at all) and at least some freedom to choose where their work gets done, what motivates hybrid employees to spend time in the office? Some reasons may surprise you. Read on for the top 4 reasons employees are returning to the office now.

1. Facetime

Today, many workers have unprecedented freedom to structure their workdays how they see fit—but this newfound flexibility doesn’t come without any downside. Some groups, and particularly the workforce’s youngest cohort, Gen Z, are struggling to connect with peers, managers, and mentors in the hybrid work environment. They see time spent in the office as an opportunity to get the valuable face-to-face time they need to learn and grow as young professionals.

Gen Z aren’t the only ones who see value in time spent face-to-face. 40% of workers surveyed by Gartner in 2023 list facetime as their #1 motivator for spending time in the office. This includes in-person time with colleagues, managers, and senior leaders.

2. For camaraderie and bonding

While employees prioritize facetime for professional growth, they also value time spent in-person to fulfill the emotional need to build bonds and be part of a community. The workplace remains a place where employees can make meaningful connections to their peers and to their organization, and for this reason some choose to spend time there even if they are not required to spend every working hour in the workplace.

Luckily, the dehumanizing cubicle farms and chaotic open work benches of the past are giving way to corporate spaces that support togetherness and gathering. Hybrid and remote teams can make the kinds of organic connections that are difficult to recreate virtually in the onsite coffee bars, lounge spaces, and group activity spaces of contemporary offices. These spaces provide an ideal backdrop for bonding during training, industry events, and team activities that bring everyone together for a purpose.

Remember the annual team offsite, when everyone would take a few days away from the office to learn, collaborate, and plan as a team? Well, the onsite team meeting has become the “new offsite.” Whereas teams used to escape to another locale for these activities, now many teams are finding the best place to come together is in their own organization’s space.

3. To take advantage of tools and resources

For many employees, the workplace offers tools and resources they simply cannot access anywhere else. Maker spaces, labs, and collaboration areas are all prime examples of spaces that attract employees onsite because they are integral to creativity, productivity, and teamwork.

Access to workplace services like IT support and in-person training also draw workers onsite. While many work activities can be completed in a remote or hybrid environment, employees agree that training activities are more engaging and ultimately more successful when they happen in-person.

Work tools may be just as important—high-quality monitors, ergonomic furniture, printers and copy machines are all examples of tools that are easy to take for granted but can make a significant impact on an employee’s day-to-day activity. Amenities like fitness centers, daycare, and food services make it even easier for employees to streamline their days.

4. To get work done

Hybrid and remote working have given workers the flexibility they need to better balance work and other responsibilities, like taking care of family members and loved ones. This shift has benefited employees in a variety of ways, letting them feel closer to those they care for, creating an improved work/life balance, and saving on caretaking costs.

However, many employees who are also caregivers are plagued by distractions at home and find it difficult to accomplish “deep work” when working remotely. The antidote? Heading into the workplace to concentrate on heads-down work.

These employees are likely to make a beeline for areas of the workplace that limit distractions, like reservable offices and phone booths. While collaboration and facetime are drivers for other employees, there should be choices that offer privacy for those who are looking to maximize productivity when onsite. (Gensler)

For employers looking for ways to earn their employees’ commutes, it’s critical to support the type of experience those employees expect when they come to the workplace. This requires a multifaceted approach to the workplace, but a great place to start is with a thoughtfully planned workplace that prioritizes employees’ needs and motivations.

Learn more about how Nuvolo’s Space and Reservations products can help your company create a workplace employees love to work in.