What Employees Miss About the Office – And What They Don’t

June 19, 2020 3 Minute Read

What Employees Miss About the Office – And What They Don’t

By now, we’re all too familiar with the struggles of working from home. But for many workers, the shift has had its upsides as well.

From saving money on commuting and lunches, to having more flexibility about when and where they do their work, employees are realizing they can enjoy working from home.

And when it comes to what they do like about the office, it’s not always what you might expect. While they may miss their coworkers, they don’t necessarily miss an obligatory after-work happy hour.

A new survey conducted by The Harris Poll and sponsored by Hana, CBRE’s flexible space solutions platform, polled over 1,000 U.S. office workers to gain insight into what they do and don’t miss about the office.

Here’s what the survey found, and what it could mean for the future of the workplace.

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The Value of Remote Work

A whopping 99% of employees surveyed say they find value in remote work.

Up to 62% appreciate saving money by working from home, while 58% like not having a dress code and 55% enjoy not having to commute. Over half (52%) find they have a better work-life balance.

These are sizeable numbers, and only increase when looking at suburban workers: 70% value the money saved and lack of commute.

The findings suggest a real preference for at least some elements of remote work, which employers will have to address when it comes time to return to the office, perhaps by offering more remote work opportunities.

The Benefits of the Office

That’s not to suggest that there aren’t things that employees miss about their offices.

Up to 38% report missing random interactions with colleagues, while 33% miss in-person meetings and 32% miss in-person collaboration.

Tellingly, only 23% miss social events, while only 13% miss networking events and a mere 6% miss in-office games.

This information may empower workplaces to rethink how they currently structure time and resources. How can they build on in-person collaboration while reducing unpopular social events?

What Employees Miss About the Office – And What They Don’t

The Future of Flexible Work

After working remotely for months, employees are realizing that they want more flexibility in their work in the long-term.

Before COVID-19, only 37% of employees reported wanting flexible work benefits. That number has now risen to 56%.

Employees are also concerned about losing the benefits they’ve come to enjoy. Up to 35% of respondents said it was a major concern, just slightly lower than office cleanliness (39%).

Will this shift in opinion create a sea change in how employers view remote work? How much say will employees now have to dictate when and where they work in a post-COVID world?

As worker preferences continue to shift, the workplace as we know it will need to evolve to match them.

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