“A lot of people who are fresh out of college have a much higher desire to get back to the office – it’s the basis of their social life” – Butterfield. Combined with the fact that 67% of office workers feel less connected to their colleagues whilst working from home, what we’re seeing is a pattern of disconnection, and a real need for companies to reconnect.
Connection is crucial. It helps employees engage and forge human bonds, creating a greater sense of purpose. These nuanced human behaviors are difficult to simulate on Zoom or over email, making it vital that our office spaces are convened around the people who work within them.
Offices must take a leaf out of the domestic handbook and make the workspace as people-friendly as the home. In practical terms, that means screen spaces must be separate from talking spaces, there must be a mix of breakouts, meeting rooms, desks, and comfort zones in which employees can relax, eat lunch and chat. The space must encourage time to bond, to feel part of the team (this is especially true for new employees).
The ROI? Talent longevity. Ultimately, businesses depend upon people wanting to come into work. Without real, in-person interaction, it’s very hard to generate the employee engagement levels required to sustain long-term talent retention.