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The slow reopening of jobs has proved divisive. Some employees enjoyed the opportunity to escape from their homes and work with other people again. For others, the news portends a terrible return to Office 9-5 and all its annoying details.

Whatever your mood for the debate between remote work and the office, it seems that workers are in no hurry to return to their desks. According to an analysis of data from the Robin workspace reservation platform, US employees worked from the office on average only 4.9 days a month in the first quarter of 2022, with office capacity of only 25%.

These are very empty desks. But these figures do not tell the whole story.

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For example, 95% of employees interviewed by Robin reported a “positive office experience”, compared with only 1.18% who reported a negative experience and 4.23% who were neutral. This suggests that when workers choose to go to the office to work, they get what they need for their time there.

SEE: “Come for Free Lunch”: How a company rethinks its office for remote workers

Telework has been welcomed by many professionals who have gained valuable time by not being forced to travel to the office to do work that can be done just as well – if not better – at home.

However, some employees still appreciate the benefits of social interaction and teamwork that the shared workspace facilitates, making business leaders wonder what role the office will play in new models of work after a pandemic.

Robin’s report does not address precisely the aspects of office workers who love or hate, but reinforces the idea that most employees appreciate having a special workspace to use when they need it, and that the office is not necessarily the same. like the dinosaurs.

The use of the office by employees is also increasing – albeit at a gradual pace. Robin found that employees in the United States worked from the office for only 3.7 days a month in the fourth quarter of 2021, and employees in both the United States and Europe – where office capacity is up 35% – had 18 % increase in the total number of employees working from an office in the first quarter of 2022

Similarly, the “dropout rate” of employees – that is, the percentage of employees who enter the office only once in a 30-day period – fell to 18% in Q1, indicating that employees use the office more consistently.

Robin found that employees who had a positive experience during their first visit to the office were 10% more likely than employees who had a negative experience.

Office requires a slap in the face

Despite signs that some employees are enjoying their time back in the office, Robin said there is a “growing gap between management teams and employees” in how plans to return to the office are managed.

Some financial firms, for example, monitor office attendance by tracking how often employees spend their passes on the building. Meanwhile, many large technology companies are pushing for an office presence or otherwise offering pay cuts to those who want to work remotely, despite the fact that technology workers are among the most vocal in rejecting office mandates.

Robin said such mandates feel like a “slap” to technology workers, who have played a key role in overcoming the pandemic business. “When businesses needed their people to go home and work their backs against a pandemic, they did just that,” the report said.

“The stigma of remote work has been proven to be false. Employees could be believed to be productive without the direct supervision of their managers and could cite historical corporate profits and profits as evidence. ”

SEE: The future of work: How things have changed and what lies ahead

If employers insist on returning employees to their desks, workplace managers “need to establish an open dialogue with their people to improve their office experience based on real-world feedback,” Robin said. This includes reconfiguring workspaces to facilitate more spontaneous interactions between colleagues and providing clear incentives for employees to return.

Some companies have done this by radically rethinking their physical workspaces to highlight aspects of the office that offer the most value to employees, such as an emphasis on meeting space and collaboration. But there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

“Every business is forced to face this challenge directly and make the best decisions in challenging circumstances,” Robin’s report said.

“Under this auspices, we note a handful of alarming trends that Robin’s data team sees emerging that workplace leaders need to address quickly.”

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