Why Won't They Return to the Office? A Look at Going Hybrid & How to Convince Your Employees

Three years ago, we all went to work from home. More than 36 months later, the changes brought along by 2020 seem to be here to stay -- and remote work seems to be among them, at least for a lot of companies.

According to a recent study ran by Pew Research, 35% of US workers are remote. That's more than one third of the total workforce in the United States -- a relevant number for the state of remote work. What's more, across the board, based on research and anecdotal evidence, most people want to work remotely (at least part of the time, if not entirely.)

Why don't people want to go back into offices?

We thought it's best to hear it from the people themselves, so we asked a group of remote workers to tell us why they prefer working from home. Here's what they had to say (and the solutions you can offer to convince them to adopt a hybrid work model.)

woman working remote

Freedom, It's All About Freedom

Freedom is priceless -- and in a world where everyone working in an office pre-2020 had a taste of it, it's hard to go back and pretend like that never happened. Remote workers are used to the freedom of choosing their own hours and setting up their resources. They are used to being able to take their kids to school and pick them up, help them with homework or help their parents with grocery shopping.

"I've been working remotely for about 10 to 15 years now. To me, remote work is freedom -- freedom to start working when you want, to work from wherever you want, and beyond anything, it allows me to spend more time with the people I love. That flexibility is something I cannot find if I'm stuck in a commute for hours or if I have to be in a certain place at a certain time.

The freedom and flexibility of remote work are invaluable to me. That being said, it's worth mentioning "remote work" and "working from home" are not the same thing -- you can work remotely from a coffee shop, a co-working space, or... your mother-in-law. Which means I don't feel stuck by remote work -- I feel empowered by it."

-- Rodolphe Dutel, Founder at Remotive

Solution: There's no way to debate freedom and flexibility are key to happy employees. But office work doesn't have to feel binding, or at least not for everyone. Offering people full flexibility in choosing where to work from (and when) puts the reins of their workday back in their hands -- and helps you attract and retain better talent, so you can continue growing your business. Hybrid work software enables you to create personalized work plans for each employee, so you know they are happy and productive.

WFH Is Comfy. Very. Comfy.

The comfort of working from home is unparalleled. Being able to wake up a bit later, avoid the commute, have lunch with your significant other if they work remotely too, and then log out and just spend leisure time the way you see fit, not having to wear shoes all day long -- this feels hard to give up for the restrictions of an office space.

"For many people, their home is their sanctuary, their safe space, and the place where they feel most comfortable. It feels natural for a lot of people, therefore, to continue working remotely for the foreseeable future. The shift to remote work was a huge benefit for much of the workforce who were finally able to work from the comfort of their own homes."

-- Erin Banta, Co-Founder at Pepper

Solution: As a business, you can offer more comfortable workspaces for your remote workers. This means investing in top-notch hardware and software that help them work at their best, creating cozy office spaces, and allowing for more flexibility in choosing when and where to work -- be it from the office from a different desk, their couch, or even a beach in Thailand. For example, Yarooms allows you to easily implement hot desking and desk hoteling, so everyone can choose where in the office they want to work from on any given day.

woman working from her home

It's Pretty Productive

OK, this might depend on who you're asking, but overall, a lot of people can attest to it: working remotely makes them feel more productive. In fact, several studies have shown remote workers put in, on average, one extra day of work every day -- and they are 47% more productive.

"Remote work allows our team to complete more work with more autonomy over our work hours. When we can structure our days how we want to and flex our time to suit our schedules, it’s easier to maintain high productivity levels when we find those quiet times to work."

-- Jack Underwood, CEO & Co-Founder at Circuit

Solution: A hybrid work model combining remote and office work can be the best of both worlds. Letting people decide when they want to work from home and when they want to work from anywhere else allows them to be independent and flexible, according to their lifestyle. Tools like the Yarooms mobile app can make it a breeze to book meeting rooms and stay on top of desk availability. This way, remote workers can still benefit from having face-to-face interaction with their colleagues while working remotely.

Better Accountability on All Ends

Remote work is the way many teams have become transparent and more accountable with each other. People don't need to wait for team meetings or one-on-ones to know what's going on -- as long as your processes are set up with the right tools, everyone can have a clear view of what's going on in real time.

"Employees want to be treated like adults, not schoolchildren, who must show up at a particular time and sit in their seats. When you instead focus on results, time and location become tools that employees use to get the work done. Autonomy paired with accountability."

-- Melissa Hunsberger, Conversion Copywriter & Strategist at The Hunsberger Group

Solution: Working in an office doesn't have to (and shouldn't) feel like there's someone constantly looking over your shoulder. All HR and managers need to know is that work is being done and when people are in the office. Yarooms may not be able to help with the first one, but it can provide visibility over who's working in the office and when, as well as occupancy levels so you know how much office space you're using -- and how to use it better.

No More Office Politics

We all hate it: office politics, constant chatter, interruptions can all be draining and make us less productive. Remote work, on the other hand, means that teams can focus on their tasks without having to worry about all the other (sometimes unnecessary) distractions.

"Employees gravitate towards full remote work due to its ability to alleviate the stress associated with engaging in office politics. With remote work, individuals can focus on their tasks and deliverables, free from the distractions and power dynamics that can arise in traditional workplace settings. This allows for a more focused and results-driven work environment, where merit and individual contributions take precedence.

-- Normand Chevrette, President & CEO of CME Corp

Solution: With hybrid work, your team can have the best of both worlds: the convenience and comfort of working from home, but also enjoy a physical space where they can collaborate and communicate. Building a company culture based on true cooperation and removing nasty office politics-related issues can help you and your team become more productive and increase employee satisfaction. Yarooms makes it a breeze to schedule meetings, book meeting rooms (even on the go!), and keep track of who's in the office and who's not without judgment, bad vibes, or mind games.

man having an online call working remote

Better Mental Health

People who work at home feel less micromanaged and have the opportunity to build better work/ life balance, which consequently leads to better mental health too. This is important because happy employees are productive, loyal, and likely to recommend your company to their peers -- so you can lower overhead hiring costs, onboarding costs, and increase employee retention.

"Employees who experienced no lack of productivity in working from home, many of whom actually became more effective and had a much higher quality of life, don't want to return to the office. Employers really need to justify this demand, however many of them skip this step. If you, as a leader, have concerns about operating remotely, then I think you have a responsibility to be transparent and share it with your staff. If you have valid reasons, then sharing them with your staff will help them see that your decision is not arbitrary and that you do care on some level about their wellbeing. If you cannot justify the return to office to your staff, then maybe you should further question the move. Physical environment is not the only condition necessary for good work; mental and emotional health of employees is also important. Having no say in their space and their working preferences promotes dissatisfaction, and if the reasons for the return are unfounded employees are likely to disconnect."

-- Michael Alexis, CEO at Teambuilding

Solution: You can ensure your team's mental health by providing them with the right tools and resources to work from home or any other place. Most importantly, though, creating a healthy company culture based on collaboration, flexibility, and trust will help your team feel connected and engaged no matter where they are. 

Cost Efficiency

Going into an office every day can be expensive: it involves transportation costs, frequently eating out, the daily cup of coffee from a fancy coffee shop, and so on. When given an option, many employees prefer to work remotely to save money and focus more on their tasks instead of spending time and money on the commute.

"Working from home has been a delightful and fulfilling experience for me. It has allowed me to spend more time with my family, pursue my interests, and learn new things.

Additionally, remote work has had a positive impact on my finances. I have saved money by eliminating commuting expenses, and eating meals at home has been more cost-effective than eating out during office hours. Moreover, restricted movements have curbed my impulse purchases, resulting in better financial management and credit control."

Amelia Thomas, Head of Marketing at Kittygrubs

Solution: Offering people a hybrid solution where they can work from home or the office is a great way to save money on overhead costs, while at the same time allowing employees to have flexibility when it comes to their working hours. Here’s just one of the stories about savings that companies generated by implementing hybrid work with Yarooms. 

So, Can You Bring People Back Into the Office?

The answer is yes, but you have to do it the right way. Employers need to provide their teams with the flexibility and resources they need, as well as the comfort, balance, and security they desire (and they felt like they had while working fully remotely.) Hybrid work is a great solution for teams that want to have the best of both worlds: physical collaboration with colleagues at the office, while also enjoying a comfortable and flexible working environment

Yarooms can help you make it happen, offering an easy-to-use tool to book meeting rooms, keep employees happy and productive, and create an organizational culture that fosters collaboration, communication, and flexibility! 

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