Lockdown, work from home, new normal, protocols – these are just some of the words that have gained attention and have been used on different platforms all over the world. And now, Return to Office or “RTO” is slowly getting more attention.  

Many companies have started to recall their employees back to the office, following the ease in restrictions and availability of testing and vaccination. However, there have been mixed responses to this measure. For almost three years, employees have structured their living arrangements to incorporate their work from home set-up. Routines have changed, priorities, as well as their day-to-day. Hence, the birth of yet another term – Hybrid Workforce.  

In a study by Harvard Business Review, there is a significant number of employees in the United States who do not share the excitement of working back in the office. They would even consider quitting their jobs if they will be forced to come back to the office full time. 

A Hybrid Workforce set-up, a strategy that most companies are starting to consider, is a blended form of work set-up wherein employees have a chance to work in the office or remotely, with the purpose of achieving a more flexible work-life balance. 

On the other hand, let’s hear out the almost 21% of the employees who are excited to go back to the office. Here are the top reasons: 

No more fine lines between weekdays and weekends. 

Working from home allowed more time to spend with family members at home. But as the days passed, work got mixed up with different domestic chores and errands. Work crossed over to the weekend because we are at home anyway.  

As soon as you step out of the office, there is a signal for you to pause for a while and switch to your home “self”.  However, when you have your laptop within reach, it is tempting to read your emails. A clear office setting places a boundary between work and life. 

Socialize and collaborate. 

As we were forced to spend more time at home when the pandemic broke, our socialization was limited, and responding to social cues has been very challenging through the small camera of your phone or laptop.  

Socializing IRL (in real life) adds to the productivity of the employees as it stems from the friendships formed at work. It releases oxytocin, the happy hormones, that makes collaboration and brainstorming more fluid. The interaction with colleagues in a casual setting enhances communication skills and camaraderie. 

Keep on learning. 

In this element, a physical workplace allows a smoother onboarding for a new employee or training and refresher courses for the existing employees. There is a sense of support that an employee can feel when they learn together, which is important for career growth. Having the resources in one place, and being able to exchange inputs with fellow co-workers, encourages engagement and increases retention. 

RTO is not a quick decision to make. It involves deep thought on what should be provided to employees so that they will feel supported. Moreover, applying a hybrid workplace involves different protocols that should be in place to ensure that work-life balance is attained, without compromising the company’s deliverables and goals. 


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