“To be or not to be back to the office?” That is the debate question that continues as we progress through the COVID 19 pandemic. Personal and professional opinions span the spectrum from YES, we should return (now, sometime soon, a year from now, etc.) and NO, we should not return to the office (now, next year, ever, etc.)
What lies beyond subjective opinion? A few studies provide a quick look at some objective science. Two early 2022 Owl Labs Studies validated views of remote/hybrid work indicating remote and hybrid employees were 22% happier and stayed in their jobs longer than workers in an onsite office environment. Remote employees also had less stress, more focus and were more productive than when they worked in the office. Better work/life balance and physical and mental well-being of employees also were achieved.
Another study by Ergotron sampled 1,000 full-time workers and found workers have become more acclimated to hybrid and remote office environments. The hybrid workplace model has empowered employees to reclaim physical health, as well as witnessing mental health benefits. A total of 56% of employees cited mental health improvements, better work-life balance and more physical activity. Some major highlights from the study include:
• Job Satisfaction. Most employees (88%) agree that the flexibility to work from home or the office has increased their job satisfaction.
• Physical health. Three-quarters of respondents (75%) stated that they are physical moving more frequently and have a more active work style when working remotely.
• Work-life balance. Seventy-five percent (75%) of respondents stated their work-life balance improved as a result of hybrid or remote working.
• Comfortable work environments. Sixty-two percent (62%) said improved workspaces with comfortable, ergonomic furniture are important and improve company culture.
• Wellness programs. More than seventy-five percent (76%) revealed that their employers implemented wellness programs to support mental and physical health, with 30% of those being brand new since the onset of the pandemic.
A Tallo (student online platform) study indicated:
• The majority of Generation Z prefer hybrid work and 74% noted a job preference that offered both remote and in-person opportunities.
• 86% felt confident they will be just as productive working remotely.
• In 2019, 51% of Gen Z considered location a very important factor in their job search. Mid-pandemic, that number dropped to 39%.
The aversion to going back to the office is based more on a reluctance to going back to what the physical workplace represents. Workers look to the company culture as the top factor in where they work. A positive company culture is critical to success and well-being of employees and the company.
The work space is transforming from what we used to know. The purpose of the office is being redefined to become a collaborative space. The office will be a kind of space where workers can do in an office environment what they cannot do at home. Creativity and collaboration will happen in that space and will ultimately lead to the redesigning of offices, and repurposing of offices and the office environment.
-Glenn Ebersole, Director of Business Development