Should You Bring Employees Back to the Office?

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As the economy reopens, due to the decreasing number of Covid-19 cases, more and more companies are thinking about bringing workers back to the office.

A Microsoft study reveals that 50% of business leaders say their company requires — or plans to require — employees to work in person this coming year. Employees, however, aren’t too keen on returning to their office desks. The same report shows that 53% of employees are more likely to put their well-being before their job compared to pre-pandemic times.

With a majority of employees demanding flexibility, how do you decide which route to take when other factors convince you to bring everyone back? Let’s dig a little deeper. After two years of working remotely, many executives are eager to welcome their employees back on-site, whether they’re ready or not. Here are three of the most important reasons that support returning to the office:

1. Culture and values

To say that it’s challenging to start a new job remotely is putting it mildly. People have become used to immersing themselves in the workplace culture by observing how employees interact.

Unfortunately, for those who are onboarded remotely, transitioning to the job comes with many growing pains. They didn’t get to see the culture at work — nor did they get the opportunity to learn through face-to-face supervision or feedback for their newbie questions. As a result, they have to navigate and learn more things on their own.

In general, personal interactions are pivotal for new hires. Compared to the dozens of virtual meetings they attended, they’ll learn a whole lot more from both their observations and in-person conversations with their colleagues.

It’s also easy to lose sense of your mission in the absence of personal interactions with teammates. Working in person promotes more frequent engagement, helping coworkers to stay aligned with the company’s core values.

Related: Will Company Culture Suffer From the Rise of Remote Work?

2. Collaboration and productivity

Working remotely also comes with collaboration and productivity setbacks. For instance, colleagues can’t see when a teammate is struggling, so they aren’t able to offer immediate assistance.

Remote work requires checkpoints, alignments and collaborations to be scheduled or done through email or chat. This additional effort can often lead to interrupted work as opposed to throwing questions in person and getting quick answers.

Working on-site also allows fresh ideas and innovation to move along faster. These things can significantly impact an employee’s growth and subsequently, the company’s success.

3. Purpose and satisfaction

Companies and employees can also benefit from working in the office by having a sense of a shared mission. Being around driven people working toward the same goal reinforces the same level of commitment and drive in everyone.

Employees feel more satisfied with their jobs when they feel more connected with their colleagues. Believing in the goal of the company gives employees a sense of purpose, which is far more valuable than just a paycheck.

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