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How to Get Employees Back to the Office: Insights from the New At Work Survey

The New At Work survey reveals how companies are adapting to the post-pandemic workplace, with 77% adopting a hybrid model and 88% using incentives to encourage employees to return to the office. Discover the most popular hybrid policies and incentives, as well as the investments companies are making in their physical workplaces.

How to Get Employees Back to the Office: Insights from the New At Work Survey

After two years of largely remote work, the workplace is back front and center. Folks are getting tired of their makeshift home offices, and workplaces around the world are slowly but surely starting to get busy again. However, not every company is back to pre-pandemic workplace foot traffic.

employees returning to office after working from home

Earlier this year, we published At Work: the 2022 workplace trends report to give workplace teams an up-to-date view of the state of the physical workplace. Now, we're diving back into the data so you can keep up with the latest trends and learn new insights.

77% of Companies Have Adopted a Hybrid Working Model

In an April 2022 survey of 800 workplace leaders around the world, we aimed to learn how companies are getting their folks back on-site. The vast majority of companies (77%) have opted to go hybrid, with an "at-will" hybrid policy being the most popular:

  • Hybrid at-will (56%): Employees can choose which day(s) they come into the office.
  • Hybrid split-week (11%): The company assigns specific days for on-site and remote work by team or function.
  • Hybrid manager-scheduling (8%): Managers choose which day(s) their team comes into the office.
  • Hybrid mix (25%): A mix of all three options, giving agency to the company, managers, and employees.

Only 15% of workplace leaders stated that they have returned to a 100% in-office requirement, while 3% are still completely remote and 5% have not decided on a return to office policy at all.

88% of Companies Are Using Incentives to Get Employees Back On-Site

While some companies have requirements to get their folks on-site, 88% have taken to using incentives to get their employees excited to go back to the office. Here are the five most popular incentives:

  1. Food and beverage programs (56%): Stacking offices with snacks, lunches, beverages, and treats.
  2. Social events (42%): Hosting happy hours and movie nights.
  3. Company events (41%): Holding all-hands meetings or in-person trainings.
  4. Furniture and amenities (40%): Providing standing desks, quiet working pods, and other office perks.
  5. Office environment (39%): Playing music, creating social spaces, and having games in the office.

85% of workplace leaders think these incentives are working, while the remaining 15% agree that the most sure-fire way is having a requirement for employees to be on-site.

employees enjoying office amenities and incentives

Companies Are Investing Even More in the Workplace

Whether office attendance is a choice or a requirement, companies are recognizing the need to make changes to support employees on-site. The most popular investments include:

  • Tools for video conferencing, remote collaboration, and space booking
  • Incentives like on-site events and food and beverage programs
  • Changes to the physical workplace (61% have added or reconfigured space)
modern office space designed for collaboration and productivity

How to Get Hybrid Employees to Choose the Workplace

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to getting hybrid employees back to the office. Some companies may choose to make it a requirement, while others lean into incentives. According to Tony Vargas, Sprinklr's Head of Global Workplace:

"Incentives are great, they're necessary, and they do work. But if we focus only on incentives, we forget the main thing with it, which is purpose and value."

When you create a space for collaboration, creativity, productivity, culture, and celebration, you'll get employees excited to choose the office over their home. The key is to make the workplace a destination that offers value and purpose beyond what employees can get at home.

employees collaborating and celebrating in the office

By understanding the latest workplace trends and insights from the New At Work survey, companies can make informed decisions on how to adapt their policies, incentives, and physical spaces to best support their employees in the post-pandemic world.


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