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What do workers want when returning to the office?

Survey sheds light on what would make workers more willing to go into an office.

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Fifty-four percent of office workers whose job doesn’t offer a hybrid schedule actually prefer coming into the office every day, according to new research.

The findings of a survey of 2,000 office workers provide a look into what the return to the office looks like for US-based workers and found that three-quarters of respondents said they actually enjoy working from their company office (76%).

Most respondents have spent some time working at home over the last three years (69%) and shared that their physical surroundings impact their productivity/energy levels while working (72%), providing insight into why a workplace setting continues to be important for employees, and not just for collaboration purposes.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Industrious, the survey also found that office employees prefer to utilize the office when hosting client meetings (86%) and collaborating with teams (62%). Surprisingly, doing individual work when they need a private space (59%) or creative work (57%) were also high on the list of tasks workers prefer to do in an office setting.

"There's a lot that's being written about in the press that makes you think everyone would work at home five days a week if given the chance,” said Anna Squires Levine, chief commercial officer at Industrious. “But what we're seeing is that most people don't actually want to spend the next ten years working from their couches at home. They want to be in an office a couple of days a week. They want to see other people, they want to focus and they want to do that in a place that's close to home."

Office workers value their office for the aspects they don’t have at home such as tech equipment like printers and scanners (31%), their colleagues/coworkers (26%) and their work computer setup (23%).

Interestingly, even with hybrid-work models, office workers are still serious about their seats, with 70% saying they sit at the same desk/seat in their office every day.

In fact, over half of respondents would speak up if someone took their “spot” at the office (54%).

Those who chose their seat themselves were strategic about sitting close to meeting spaces (58%), outlets (53%), and entrances/exits (41%).

And 68% of these respondents even said they’re likely to go into work early to make sure they get their desk/seat and make their presence known by telling everyone that’s where they’re sitting for the day (45%), keeping their personal items there (41%) or leaving their computer signed in (40%).

The findings also shed light on what would make workers more willing to go into an office. Respondents shared that a shorter commute, proximity to retail and lifestyle options, a nice view, “a fun and inspiring environment,” “a more casual atmosphere” or “breaking the routine and confinement of the home” may do the trick.

The commute in particular seems to be a barrier to returning to the office. Forty-two percent of respondents shared that their commute is over half an hour long and 62% shared they would go to the office more often if it took less time.

"What this survey, and other recent ones, shows is that pushback against going into the office is less about the actual workplace, and more about the commute and the additional value-add that workplace surroundings bring to people", said Jamie Hodari, co-founder and CEO at Industrious. “Offices in walkable areas with grocery stores, gyms, and dining options will most likely become centers of social gathering and activity, especially if they're a short commute away.”

WHAT ASPECTS OF THE OFFICE DO PEOPLE VALUE?

  1. Tech equipment – 31%
  2. Colleagues/coworkers – 27%
  3. Work computer setup – 23%
  4. Conversations – 22%
  5. Fast internet connect – 21%

WHAT FEATURES MAKE THE IDEAL OFFICE SPACE?

  1. Fast and secure internet – 28%
  2. State-of-the-art tech – 28%
  3. More quiet and private space – 27%
  4. Proximity to retail, entertainment and lifestyle options (e.g. groceries, gym, libraries, etc. – 27%
  5. A nice view – 27%

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