What People Who've Gone Back to the Office Really Need

As the Omicron surge recedes and society turns an apprehensive eye toward the possibility of future Covid-19 variants, “when, how and why” are the three critical decisions companies are wrestling with when it comes to bringing workers back to the office. While uncertainty swirls for some, other organizations have already welcomed people back – either in phases or altogether. So, what’s it really like? Some offices are wrapped in a time capsule still clinging to a desk calendar from early 2020 – but they can evolve and better serve people’s emerging needs in a new era of hybrid work.

To better understand what people want, need and expect, Steelcase surveyed nearly 5,000 workers in 11 countries. Researchers were able to isolate the responses from people who’ve already returned to the office after working from home to learn their perspective about what they really need in the workplace. These three key learnings may help organizations who’ve already returned and those still making the tough decisions on “when, how and why.”


70% say hybrid collaboration spaces are more important now

Research suggests collaboration between in-person and remote colleagues will be a defining aspect of the new workplace. In fact, those who’ve already returned are experiencing what a pain point it can be. Many people now need to connect virtually more frequently whether it’s one-on-one or many-to-many. Hybrid collaboration spaces are in high demand. Without enough spaces that support technology (power, cameras, lighting, acoustics), people may feel like they’re disrupting nearby colleagues or can’t hear and be heard or see and be seen. The need for space that can flex easily between group work and individual work and include video call and digital meeting technology is a top need for former work-from-home employees who have returned to the office, even more so than the global average.

Finish reading on Steelcase's website here.


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