The Return-to-Office debate is currently in full swing, and opinions are strong on both sides. If you are among the many employers wondering what’s best for your business, keep reading as we examine some pros and cons of returning to the office.
Pro: More opportunities to connect and build relationships
Working remotely can make some employees feel disconnected. This is especially true generationally – Gen Xers and Boomers may crave the face-to-face connections that are cultivated within the office. With the average person spending 81,396 hours at work, work friends and positive relationships at work are crucial for an employee’s emotional wellbeing. Being in the office can help with more than just friendships, it also makes it easier to network and meet new professionals, whether it’s coworkers in other departments or external clients coming in for meetings.
Con: Risking employee retention
However, it’s important to keep in mind that for some employees, especially the younger generations, returning to the office is considered a deal-breaker. While studies may very, in a survey conducted by Clarify Capital, nearly 7 in 10 employees (68%) said they would rather look for a new job than return to the office. That figure is even higher for Gen Z employees, with 79% preferring to find a new job rather than lose their remote work lifestyle. With many jobs still offering fully remote roles and no plans to go back to the office, employers are faced with the choice of accommodating their current talent or spending valuable time and resources finding and training a replacement.
Pro: A dedicated workspace
Research shows that your ability to focus is directly related to your environment, so the spot you pick to set your laptop down and work matters more than you think. Having a space just for work can help you tune out distractions and focus on your to-do list. Not everyone has the budget for a home office and not having a desk, a comfortable chair, or even a bigger screen makes it harder to get in the zone.
Coming into the office with their own desk and all the tools they need to get their work done can feel like necessary improvement to some employees who otherwise have to set up shop on their dining room table or kitchen counter.
Con: Negatively impacts work/life balance
For many employees, returning the office also means having to work around their commute time. According to 2019 data from the Census Bureau, the average pre-pandemic commute had increased to about an hour per day. For remote employees, this hour can be reinvested towards more time with family and pets, and more leisure time after work. While In-office employees take quick breaks every day to grab coffee or chat with coworkers, remote employees are using breaks to knock out small household or personal tasks. In a study conducted by Monster, 73% of employees reported they would lose the perks of getting ahead on quick chores, like laundry or dishes, chipping away at their limited time after hours or on the weekends to catch up with their growing domestic to-do list. Many remote employees also enjoy using these breaks to take a quick walk for their mental health, or even squeeze in a full workout during their lunch hour, allowing them to prioritize an active lifestyle while at home.
Is a hybrid schedule the compromise?
Hybrid work isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and finding the best path forward should take into account your individual company’s and your employees’ needs. AlphaStaff’s HR professionals can help you craft a plan that will suit your business’ needs, and help you evaluate and reassess as time goes on. Contact us today to learn how we can help.