Employers and employees have been engaged in an ongoing power struggle over a 2022 reinstatement policy, and research shows that US hybrid workers go to the office a little more than one day a week during the first half of the year.
But as the end of the year approaches and economic uncertainty threatens the job market, workers are changing their hybrid work habits. Office attendance is on the rise, according to workplace tech expert Robin’s Q3 2022 Hybrid Workplace report.
Why did it increase so much? According to Robin, employees’ work habits change with the seasons and can provide incentives for employers to adjust office policies based on the time of year.
Robin’s study was based on aggregate data from over 2.5 million desk booking customers. It found that office attendance was associated with vacation time and major holidays, with a repeat seasonal decline during winter break, in early summer, and again in late summer.
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In the summer, when only 24% of office space is used, employees travel less to the office. They visit the office a little more in October (27%), and more often in early November (32%), before office use closes to zero ahead of Thanksgiving and winter holidays. According to Robin’s data, office attendance was 10% in Q3 compared to Q2.
Robin co-founder Zach Dunn argued that employers should use seasonal office attendance trends to inform hybrid work policies.
According to Dunn, the current hybrid office return policy follows a weekly schedule that does not align with the employee’s office schedule. He told ZDNET that the company is experiencing a busy season that requires more collaboration between employees.
“Business has peak seasons, and hybrids [work] More people are coming in person to solve this problem and it makes them more visible when they collaborate,” said Dunn.
The slow office season provides a great opportunity for leaders to review their workplace strategy. This ensures that employees are not in the office at unproductive or inconvenient times with minimal disruption to employees.
“In a hybrid team, you’re more likely to prioritize working in the office when others can do it, and they can get the job done if they support it,” Dunn said.
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Robin’s data shows that Europeans are the largest office users, reporting up to 30% of office use in Q3. They are also in the office slightly more often than US employees, averaging 5.5 days per month compared to an average of 4.9 days.
Office attendance is expected to increase to 33% in the first quarter of 2023. But before the new year, before the employee returned, Robin proposed to employers to improve their hybrid work policy for the new year.
In 2023 and beyond, Robin said, leaders must focus on creating an office environment that fosters collaboration, creativity, and strengthening employee relationships. This includes taking an “agile approach to hybrid work” that considers the types of space and facilities workers need to make the most of their time in the office and at home. So employers should “consider changing the space to fit an activity-based layout,” Robin said.
The way we work is constantly changing, and it’s good to stay open to changes in office policies. As the report goes on to show, companies that get stuck in their own way and refuse to give in to workers’ demands are at risk of losing their best talent.