Every business has a unique combination of key factors impacting how they want to work and how the physical workplace can support long-term goals. In the more immediate future, technology companies are focused on return to the office initiatives that balance the need for building meaningful connections and employee choice.
Below is a list of 10 key trends and strategies that I’ve observed in the current tech space:
1. Employees are coming back in mass, with East coast returning more than West.
2. The technology industry is the slowest to return, most likely to be “remote first” and focused on getting employees to return by choice; this is driving an “amenity race” in key markets.
3. Hybrid work expectations are not one size-fits-all in an organization - frequency and schedule of in-office days are based on role and determined at the manager/ team level.
4. Free food, and the resulting social aspect of gathering, are the preferred draw.
5. Social events, like end-of-day get togethers, are the second most popular draws.
6. Firms are challenged to provide enticing environments to bring people back, i.e. double monitors at docking stations, hoteling reservation systems, focus on wellness – ergonomics/ adjustable height furniture, masseuse, professional stretching, mental health workshops, etc.
7. The workforce is following leaders back into the office, and staff tend to come in on days their leaders are in.
8. Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday are peak attendance days, as expected, limiting the ability to hotel and have unassigned seats.
9. Social distancing and masks for vaccinated employees have dissipated…for now.
10. Change management and staff engagement is key to successful implementation of return to office.
Ultimately, we are challenged with re-establishing workplace’s value proposition within a new set of parameters and perspectives. The most successful firms are approaching “return to office” as an experiment that pivots and evolves over time. Tracking utilization and employee satisfaction are critical to developing the business case that shapes a firm’s workplace experience and real estate strategy.
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