During the meeting “The Reluctant Returner”, the results of the European survey carried out by Unispace were illustrated and commented on, which reveals the main reasons for the resistance by employees to returning to the workplace after having experimented with remote working.
Yet we all have the awareness of the importance to return to interact and collaborate in person. What are new smart workers missing? How can the office be improved to make it more attractive?
Click here to download the survey report carried out by Unispace in your preferred language.
After the first phase of disorientation, due to the imposition of smart working – or better home working – as the only possible solution during the covid-19 health emergency, employees were able to experience that the new Ways Of Working also bring large benefits.
If it is true that, as Maxwell Maltz argues “it takes 21 days to form a new habit” after more than a year and a half, working from home has become “normal”, so 64% of workers in Europe (62% in Italy) are reluctant to return to the office.
Companies are therefore trying to understand what motivations can engage employees and attract talent, keeping them motivated and satisfied.
To understand which factors generate anxiety, demotivation, annoyance and worry in “Reluctant Returners” and to find answers, Unispace carried out its survey in 9 European countries, interviewing 3000 employees who started working from home with the pandemic, 2750 employers work or executives in companies with over 50 employees and 10 HR, FM and RE managers.
Before the covid, 78% of employees was office-based, but today the percentage has dropped to 20%. The survey highlights the preference of hybrid models (from 19% to 43% for the “mostly in the office” formula and from 3% to 22% “mostly home”); then there is a new 14% fully home-based.
The main reasons why remote work is preferred are not surprising:
It facilitates children and carer arrangement (82% men; 73% women);
It saves journey time (54%).
It is surprising, however, that after the lockdown phase, when it was difficult to concentrate and be efficient with the whole segregated family, today employees declare that the quite home place allows greater efficiency and productivity.
However, the younger generations would be happier to return to the office, if it was within 5/10 minutes of home.
This information suggests alternatives to the only home / office poles, with formulas such as neighborhood hubs, coworking, etc.
The lack of social and human interaction (35%) and collaboration with colleagues (28%) are beginning to be felt. And then there remains the 31% of workers who believe they can be more efficient in the office.
Another motivation for returning is that employees fear remote working will impact their career.
What are the wishes of the workers?
Almost all (95%) workers would make physical improvements to their office. 76% would be happier to return to separate spaces for concentration and collaborative work. 75% would return to the office to access training programmes. 81% cite lunch and snacks offered by the company as reasons to return to the office.
What are the wishes of companies?
The value of hybrid work formulas is now recognized (70% of companies believe they have adapted well to smart working during the pandemic, trust their employees and believe that workers should have completely autonomous with when and where to work). Despite this, 52% of employers intend to mandate employees back into the office, minimum 4 days a week.
Is the pandemic an opportunity to decrease their Real Estate footprint?
Only about 6% of companies plan to halve the space dedicated to the workplace, the average of decrease in office space amounts to 26%
The main indications emerging from this survey are the need to make offices more and more beautiful, welcoming and stimulating, with high standards of ergonomic, acoustic and lighting comfort.
Diversified and flexible areas are needed, with different functionalities to host various activities during the day: from the phone booth for confidential telephone calls to meditation places t; from convivial areas for informal meetings to hybrid meeting rooms in presence and remotely with sophisticated technological equipment.
It also highlights the importance- now more than ever – to involve employees who want to feel welcome and cuddled by their company.