Back to Blog

Why Workers Are Hesitant to Return to the Office: Addressing the Top 5 Concerns

As companies bring employees back to the office, many workers have concerns about the transition. This article explores the top 5 reasons employees are hesitant to return and offers advice from workplace leaders on how to address these issues, creating a more comfortable and efficient workplace.

Why Workers Are Hesitant to Return to the Office: Addressing the Top 5 Concerns

As companies across the globe bring their employees back to the office, many workers are feeling hesitant about the transition. While some are excited to return to a sense of normalcy, others have concerns about what this shift will entail. In this article, we'll explore the top 5 reasons employees are reluctant to return to the workplace and hear advice from workplace leaders on how to address these concerns.

employees commuting to work

1. The Commute is Too Long and Too Expensive

One of the most significant deal breakers for employees returning to the office is the long and costly commute. According to the At Work report, 50% of employees cite this as a major concern. Many feel that the time spent commuting could be better utilized working, enjoying time with loved ones, or resting.

To address this issue, workplace leaders can offer more flexible work schedules, encouraging employees to come in after peak traffic hours or leave before traffic builds. Carpooling programs or shuttle services can also help alleviate the stress of long and expensive commutes.

2. Lack of Flexibility in Work Days

Another reason employees are hesitant to return is the worry that their work days will revert to the traditional 9-5 weekday schedule. The flexibility of working from home has allowed for more varied work days, and 35% of employees cite the lack of flexibility in office hours as a deal breaker.

By emphasizing the flexibility of a hybrid work model, workplace leaders can assure employees that they won't lose this newfound flexibility. Hybrid models allow employees to schedule onsite and remote days based on their needs, promoting a better work-life balance.

modern office technology

3. Slow or Outdated Technology

Working in an office with frequent Wi-Fi shortages, no tool to book meeting rooms, or outdated check-in procedures can be frustrating. 34% of employees cite slow or outdated technology as a deal breaker for returning to the workplace.

To address this, workplace leaders should assess their current technology and make improvements where necessary. A workplace platform that connects all workplace tools into one seamless experience can help employees feel more confident about coming into the office.

4. Chatty or Difficult Coworkers

While socializing with coworkers is one of the best parts of being back in the office, 33% of employees cite chatty or difficult coworkers as a deal breaker. Many have grown accustomed to the quiet of their home offices and feel less distracted and better able to focus.

To address this, workplace leaders should provide quiet spaces in the office for employees to get heads-down work done or take a break from the chatter. Efficient space management] and a [conference room booking tool can help employees quickly find a quiet spot when needed.

empty office with no colleagues

5. Colleagues Not Being Onsite

Imagine coming into the office with a full plan of who you're going to collaborate with, only to find the office empty. 27% of employees say it's a deal breaker to come into the office and not find the people they need to work with.

To help employees coordinate their schedules, workplace leaders can implement an employee scheduling tool. This allows employees to see when their coworkers are coming in and book a desk nearby to maximize collaboration opportunities. Encouraging communication among team members is also crucial to ensure everyone is informed and able to make decisions about when to come into the workplace.

Addressing Employee Concerns

We spoke with Emily Day, Director of Workplace Experience at Hashicorp, Max Cardinale, Vice President at Thermal Shipping Solutions, and Annette Reavis, Chief People Officer at WOX, to learn about their strategies for helping employees overcome barriers to returning to the office.

Getting employees excited to return to work starts with understanding what's holding them back. By offering solutions like the ones mentioned above and leading with compassion, workplace leaders can help people feel empowered and excited to return to the office.

employees collaborating in modern office

The workplace should be a place where people want to go to work. By addressing employee concerns and creating a comfortable, flexible, and technologically advanced environment, companies can successfully navigate the transition back to the office and foster a productive and engaged workforce.


You may also be interested in