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Back in the Office? They May Be There Reluctantly

Although many office-using workers are back on the job site, they’re often there reluctantly, OfficeSpace Software says. A new survey, commissioned by OfficeSpace and conducted online by The Harris Poll, revealed a majority of Americans (54%) who work in an office setting have returned to an office environment full time, yet half who regularly went to the office prior to the pandemic (51%) don’t want to go there five days a week. 

Forty-eight percent of employed Americans who work in an office setting, and whose employer changed their working environment due to COVID-19, said their employer expects them to return to the office full time. Twenty-seven percent said their employer currently requires them to return to the office for part of the week and they can choose where they work for the rest of the time. 

On the subject of how workers would like their employer to handle the return to the office, responses were a mixed bag, says OfficeSpace. 

Slightly less than one in five employed Americans who work in an office setting (17%) would like their employer to allow employees to decide where they work (i.e. in office, hybrid or fully remote), while 13% would like their employer to require employees to spend most of their time working remotely. Perhaps surprisingly, 41% would like their employer to expect employees to return to the office full time, with the office looking/operating like it did pre-pandemic with minimal changes. 

However, the consensus is stronger among those currently working from home due to COVID-19 on what they want if they’re expected to return to the office. Seventy-one percent strongly or somewhat agree that employers should require proof of vaccination, and 70% strongly or somewhat agree that employers should provide incentives for vaccinated employees. A comparable percentage think there should be a mandatory mask policy, regardless of vaccination status. 

All in all, said OfficeSpace CEO David Cocchiara, “We’re not surprised by the results. In talking with countless customers, each is faced with a unique set of challenges and employee needs in creating a safe hybrid workplace model.” 

He continued, “Organizations continue to be challenged to strike the right balance in what the business needs and what their employees want. There is no single approach that works for every organization. The return will vary by company, industry, employee comfort level and geography, and organizations need options to safely bring their employees back into the workplace while providing maximum flexibility in how they organize their offices.” 

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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).

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