With recent announcements from large corporations like Disney, Apple, and Google requiring workers to return to the office for at least three days per week, the stage is being set for other companies across all different market sectors to follow this trend.
A 2022 survey conducted by Resume Builder, when polling business leaders, found that 90% of companies will require employees to return to the office (in some capacity) in 2023. Of this population, 66% of the survey participants reported that their organization currently enforces a return-to-work policy. Some of the reasons for requiring employees to work from the office included increased productivity, creativity, communication, office culture, and supervision/oversight. Despite the cost-saving measures of remote officing, 96% of the business leaders surveyed, said that the benefits to working at an office outweigh remote working.
According to the data, this is somewhat in contrast to employees’ desires. In a 2021 Work Trend Index survey conducted by an independent surveyor for Microsoft, the data reports that 74% of employees would like a hybrid work from home/in office model and that 67% of employees desire more in person work and collaboration. Microsoft also tracks their own data and reports that Microsoft Teams, which is a platform that supports remote collaboration through cloud-based meetings, chats, and document sharing exploded during Covid and beyond. According to Microsoft, their data shows that majority of Teams Meetings are unscheduled, frequent, and lengthy. Microsoft theorizes that workers face digital burnout and exhaustion. This is a major tradeoff of remote working. In-office interactions and communication offers more spontaneity, community, and is overall more efficient since. With so many digital forms of communication, many of us grew tired of the barrage of video meetings and screen sharings to discuss something that could have been resolved with a three minute in-person conversation. For instance, in our office, there’s usually an audible groan when someone realizes that a call scheduled is actually Zoom call.
What employers and employees seem to be moving towards is more hybrid office models for employees that are able to do some work from home.
While still lower than before the Pandemic stay-at-home order was issued, office attendance was up to 50% as of September 2022. Office occupancy for major metro markets is tracked by Kastle Systems Back-to-work Barometer. Back in the early days of the Pandemic, many experts in the commercial real estate industry wondered how impactful remote work would be to the office space sector. Now in the fourth year of Covid, we feel confident that the need for officing will not go away, though companies seem to be rethinking their office space, designing floor plans to accommodate remote work. Some companies are finding that they do not require as large of a footprint.