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The Ultimate Guide to Returning to the Office in 2023: Strategies, Policies, and Tips

As companies worldwide navigate the return to office in 2023, it's crucial to develop policies that balance employee preferences with business goals. This ultimate guide explores the benefits and challenges of returning to the office, different return to office policies, and practical tips for a successful transition to hybrid work.

The Ultimate Guide to Returning to the Office in 2023: Strategies, Policies, and Tips

Introduction

The return to office movement has gained momentum in 2023, with 9 out of 10 companies expected to require some level of in-person presence. As organizations navigate this transition, it's essential to develop policies that balance employee preferences with business objectives. In this ultimate guide, we'll explore the benefits and challenges of returning to the office, different return to office policies, and practical tips for a successful implementation.

employees collaborating in modern office space

Benefits and Challenges of Returning to the Office

Benefits

  1. Better work-life balance: Returning to the office helps employees separate work from personal life, allowing them to disconnect at the end of the day.
  2. Employee recognition: According to an Envoy survey, 95% of leaders admit to recognizing in-office employees' contributions more than remote workers.
  3. Onsite collaboration: Face-to-face interactions foster team camaraderie, work relationships, and a sense of workplace community.
  4. Productivity and company culture: In-person brainstorming and collaboration drive productivity and reignite company culture.

Challenges

  1. Commute: Long commutes remain a dealbreaker for 50% of employees, according to the At Work report.
  2. Exposure to illnesses: Employees with health concerns may feel anxious about returning to the office and potential exposure to illnesses.

Different Return to Office Policies

  1. Optional return: Offer flexibility by allowing employees to choose when and how often they come to the office.
  2. Hybrid return: Request employees to return to the office for part of the week while allowing remote work for the remainder.
  3. Full-time return: Require employees to return to the office full-time, with little to no flexibility.
employees using meeting room booking system in office

5 Tips for a Successful Return to Office Strategy

  1. Use the right workplace tech: Implement desk booking, room booking, and hybrid work scheduling tools to create a seamless workplace experience.
  2. Be thoughtful in your approach: Survey employees to understand their concerns and develop solutions that address their needs.
  3. Design your office with intent: Create a welcoming and comfortable workspace with diverse areas for collaboration and focus.
  4. Start slow, go steady: Gradually increase in-office requirements to allow employees to adapt to the change.
  5. Embrace flexibility: Offer flexibility around childcare, pets, and personal errands to ease the transition back to the office.
modern office interior designed for collaboration and flexibility

Conclusion

The return to office in 2023 presents both opportunities and challenges for organizations and employees alike. By developing thoughtful policies, investing in the right workplace technology, and prioritizing employee well-being, companies can create a successful hybrid work environment that drives productivity, collaboration, and a thriving workplace culture.

To learn more about how employees and executives view the office in 2023, check out the latest At Work report from Envoy.

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