Office workers at an open plan office.

Return to the Office

Multiple Framery O office phone booths in an open plan office.

The global pandemic transformed how we work and how offices are used, perhaps for good. As many employees were forced to stay home when offices closed their doors, both companies and the people who work for them had to rethink their ways of working. Many began to wonder “Why return to the office if I can work from home?” 

Now that the pandemic has subsided, many offices are still emptier than they used to be and companies are having a hard time getting people to return to the old normal. However, they might be using the wrong tools to lure people back to the office. Useless perks and return-to-office requirements may not be as effective as benefits that actually improve office workers’ well-being and enjoyment at work.

Why are employees not returning to the office?

Based on the results of a study of 4,044 white-collar respondents from the US, office workers want the same perks at their workplace that they got to enjoy while working remotely. One of the primary benefits of remote work is the privacy of one’s home and the lack of distractions that are much too common in the office environment.

Many companies have started demanding their employees start working again in person at their physical office, just like before when the pandemic. Others have adopted a more flexible hybrid working model where part of the week is spent at the office and the remaining days can be spent working remotely. However, some workers are opposing strict return-to-office policies once they have become used to working from home. 

Employees are rising against return-to-office policies

Especially many Americans are less willing to go back to the office, at least when compared to European and Asian office workers, reports CNBC. With the high expenses of living near the office in large cities, the inconvenience of daily commuting by public transport, and employees’ bargaining power due to the shortage of workforce, companies need to come up with other solutions than return-to-office mandates to lure back their people.

Workers may also oppose their employer’s return-to-office requirements due to concerns over their ability to do their job and their work-life balance. Some of the downsides of in-person work disappeared when office workers started working remotely for some time. For example, many employees are concerned about working in an open office due to the constant distractions caused by other people. Remote work also resulted in an improved work-life balance for many as they were able to look after children, work more flexibly and be more productive due to fewer distractions that are so commonplace in an open office space.

How to encourage people to leave their homes for the office?

On the one hand, office workers value certain perks that can encourage them to return to the office. On the other hand, some concerns might keep them from coming back and continuing to work remotely instead. Once their employers know what office workers want and do not, it is easier to accommodate their employees’ wishes.

One way to encourage employees to return to the office is to offer them perks and benefits that they may lack at home and that make spending time at the office feel less like work. However, instead of small but ultimately meaningless nice-to-haves, like gaming consoles and beanbags, people want things that actually have an effect on their everyday work. These include benefits and solutions that facilitate collaboration with colleagues, access to fitness perks, and, most importantly, areas for distraction-free, quiet areas for focusing.

Office workers want privacy and improved work-life balance

In the aforementioned study, 57 % of the respondents wanted to have a quiet area at their office, with 65 % stating that access to such designated quiet spaces improves their work-life satisfaction. However, it seems that many companies are unaware of this fact: 

51 % of respondents reported that there are no quiet spaces in their office for concentrated and distraction-free work.

In fact, the ability to focus and concentrate is a major concern for many office workers. 41 % of the employees who took part in the study stated that they are having a harder time concentrating in an open-floor plan office when compared to pre-pandemic times.

Framery Pods encourage workers to rejoin the office space

To make returning to the office more alluring, Framery helps offices of all sizes solve one of the major concerns based on employee feedback: The lack of private and distraction-free spaces dedicated to focused work. Framery office pods are soundproofed and allow workers to have a moment of peace in the midst of a busy office environment. 

Framery office pods come in different sizes, from smaller single-person booths like the Framery One to larger meeting rooms big enough for up to 6 people, such as the Framery 2Q. Therefore, Framery office pods are the perfect solution for both focused solitary work and video calls as well as collaboration and meetings in small teams.
Offer employees the office perks they really want and need by equipping the office with enough Framery pods of different sizes. Find the right size and model for your office’s needs or design your own pod on our website. Try our pods in a location near you.