Return to office? The benefits for workers who return to work

Returning to work can improve teamwork and boost productivity, when done right.

5 minutes

March 31, 2023 Adecco

Five people sit and stand in a circle, laughing, in an office.

As the world emerges from the pandemic, many businesses are grappling with the question of whether to continue remote job arrangements or return to office work. While remote work has allowed for flexibility during the pandemic, there are also significant benefits to returning to the office for both employers and workers. Explore the top benefits of returning to the office and how you can do it the right way.

Why is a return to work valuable?

A return to office work could give your employees a sense of purpose and make them feel valued. Working in person provides a sense of community, and belonging that can be difficult to achieve through remote work alone.

The office environment can also help employees separate their work and home lives, leading to increased productivity and work-life balance.

However, with nearly 32% of workers never wanting to return to the office, and a further 47.3% only wanting to return part-time, managers must be clear with their teams about their goals for returning to work.

Whether it's to improve teamwork, boost productivity, or foster a better company culture, managers need to communicate these goals to their employees to ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same objectives.

Encourage collaboration

Collaboration is an essential aspect of any workplace, and returning to work in person can provide significant benefits over virtual collaboration.

Firstly, in-person collaboration allows for clearer communication, with facial expressions and body language providing additional context to conversations. It may also enable teams to build stronger relationships and trust, leading to more effective collaboration and problem-solving.

Additionally, research shows that teams that only work remotely collaborate with other groups less often, which may hinder knowledge transfer throughout your organization.

To ensure successful collaboration, managers should provide guidance for meetings and in-person work days. This includes setting clear expectations around in-person vs. virtual attendance and establishing certain days when all team members should be in the office.

Without this structure, workers may find themselves in the office but on video calls with colleagues who are working remotely, defeating the purpose of returning to work in person.

Establishing guidelines for meetings, such as an agenda and designated time limits, is key to ensuring that they are productive and efficient. By providing this structure and routine, managers can help to foster effective collaboration and reap the benefits of a return to office work.

Develop camaraderie

Camaraderie is an essential component of a positive and healthy workplace culture. It promotes teamwork and a crucial sense of community among coworkers.

A return to office work after the pandemic provides employers with an opportunity to promote camaraderie by hosting in-office events and parties. These events are likely to see support from employees, as 87% believe in-person office work is essential to building professional relationships.

Examples of events could include team-building activities, after-work social hours, or company-wide celebrations. Employers can also promote camaraderie through frequent social interactions such as encouraging team members to take breaks together or eat lunch as a group.

Foster career growth

A return to office work can provide your employees with significant career growth. Being in the office enables workers to build stronger relationships with their colleagues, managers, and leaders, which can lead to mentorship and career development opportunities.

The office can also provide access to important training and networking opportunities that are often difficult to replicate in a virtual setting.

Furthermore, in-person work allows employees to observe and learn from their colleagues, fostering knowledge-sharing and on-the-job upskilling. Research shows that these close in-person interactions even lead to increased cognitive performance.

To encourage workers to come to the office for these types of opportunities, employers can promote the benefits of in-person work and highlight specific training and development events that will take place at the office. Incentivizing attendance at these events with rewards or recognition can also be an effective way to encourage participation.

Promote diversity

In a remote work environment, it can be more difficult to build relationships and create a sense of community, which can lead to proximity bias. This is when remote employees are left out of important conversations or opportunities due to managers favoring workers who are physically closer and more familiar to them. Proximity bias can affect individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, such as people of color and disabled workers, undermining your DEI efforts in the process.

Having your workforce back at the office can help your organization promote diversity by providing an opportunity for face-to-face interactions that can help break down barriers and promote inclusivity.

If you’re nervous about trying to get your employees back to the office a few days a week, Adecco can help. Our workforce experts have years of experience in navigating new trends while retaining and attracting the talent your business needs. Contact us today to find out how we can help your organization grow, even in times of uncertainty.