With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to fall, many workplaces are fully reopening again. But after two years of working from home, are employees ready to return?
It’s a big debate and not everyone sees eye to eye, especially when you break those feelings down by age.
In a recent survey by the hiring firm Robert Half, 54% of the participants said they’d like to stay fully remote. But if you look at younger participants (those ages 18 to 24), only 43% were interested in fully remote positions.
“We think that’s partly because of the social aspect,” said Bill Driscoll with Robert Half.
He said while employees with young families may embrace the work-life balance of no commute, newer employees may not.
“Maybe they’re still living with mom and dad, maybe they’re sharing an apartment with a number of friends,” Driscoll said. “So being in the office has a lot of advantages for people newer to the workforce.”
Here’s why this gets sticky for employers: You can have one group in the same company — or even the same department — that would rather work from home, and another that wants to be in the office. The key, experts say, is to look for ways to bridge the gap. What that looks like will be different for every company.
“Creating opportunities where potentially the hybrid, or remote, employees would come into the office,” Driscoll said. “Could be a celebration, could be a call blitz day, could be a collaborative project. And try to build some unity that way.”
At a time when people are willing to change jobs, Driscoll said it’s up to companies to find ways to make the new office dynamic work for everyone if they want to retain talent.
“We’re definitely entering a new phase here, where employee-employer communication around flexible work, hybrid work, all of it, is going to be really, really important,” he said.
Driscoll said with so many job opportunities out there right now, some companies are “re-recruiting” their current employees to keep them happy. He said that could put workers in the driver’s seat so they could negotiate whichever setup, remote or not, works best for them.
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