In 2020, we saw many businesses transition away from a traditional work environment to remote or hybrid; however, in 2024 we will likely start to see that revert back with companies requiring their employees to physically return to work in the office. A survey done by Resume Builder asked 1,000 corporate decision-makers about their return-to-office plans and they found that “9 in 10 companies with office space will have returned to office by 2024”. While companies may want their employees to return to the office, not all workers may feel the same after becoming accustomed to remote and hybrid work environments. Navigating this transition may be challenging and require compromises from both sides. Here are some of the concerns and possible solutions for moving forward.
Some companies are implementing this change back to an in-person office work environment because they believe it will increase revenue. In an article on Forbes, they write “And for those companies that plan to demand RTO in 2024, 81% say it will improve revenue, 81% believe it will improve the company culture and 83% say it will improve worker productivity.” While companies may want this change, some employees may not want to comply with a required 100% return to the office. The same Forbes article goes on to say, “There is concern that a shift back to full-time office hours could cause a company to lose good employees in a hiring environment in which candidates are “calling the shots” and working for companies that not only give them a steady paycheck and traditional benefits, but also a work schedule and in-office policy that aligns with their need for work/life balance.”
Ideally, the next steps moving forward would be a fair and agreed-upon plan for companies and employees. It’s important for employees to feel they have some say in the plan and aren’t only returning to offices because their hand was forced into the matter. In an article in Harvard Business Review, they write, “Organizations need to shape their return-to-office approach to help employees feel that they still have a sense of control and agency over their behaviors and decisions. This means developing policies that provide guidelines – not requirements – that give employees a balance of structure and freedom to preserve and maybe even amplify employee autonomy. Leading organizations are adopting a number of strategies, including:
- Empowering managers and teams to co-create flexible working patterns instead of mandating a one-size-fits-all return-to-office schedule for all employees.
- Offering meaningful benefits, including commuting subsidies, free or subsidized on-site childcare, and various food options at their offices or corporate headquarters.
Leveraging return-to-office strategies like these and others that maintain or enhance employees’ sense of control over their behavior will create a workplace environment that employees will intrinsically want to use.”