Businesses urged to make office return 'commute-worthy'

Just 1 in 4 employees say their employer makes the trek worthwhile

Businesses urged to make office return 'commute-worthy'

Employees don't think returning to the office is worth it.

This is according to the findings of Executive Network's survey of 1,300 knowledge workers, where only 28% of the respondents said their company is making it worthwhile to come to the office.

"The majority of knowledge workers don't see the point in going to the office. Many workers are voicing a need for employers to make coming to the office 'commute-worthy,'" the report found.

The findings come despite a strong push from employers for a full return to workplaces — a move met with strong resistance from staff.

"Companies are offering more perks and increasing compensation to entice workers back to the office. But they need to make coming to the office more purposeful and 'commute-worthy,'" said Jeanne Meister, Executive VP, Executive Networks.

Previously, an executive from Poly aired that return-to-office schemes lack a "compelling narrative," with short-term gimmicks not enough to convince employees to go back.

What can employers do?

To address the problem, employers need to be clear on "why and how working in the office can optimise collaboration and innovation," Meister said.

Based on the findings, employers can implement some of these measures that the respondents said can help tout the merits of returning to the office:

  • Expanding training and mentoring for those who come to the office.
  • Engaging in daily team and team leader check-in with coaching.
  • Experiencing more emotional and well-being support in person.
  • Having access to better technology at work sites.
  • Having shorter shifts or workdays for those doing the commute.
  • Having employees choose our own schedule.
  • Funding transportation to/from the office.
  • Providing a great environment and facilities in the office.
  • Setting up gatherings or events so we get to interact with colleagues socially.

'Proximity bias'

The findings come as many still believe that being physically present in the office is necessary to move up the career ladder.

According to the survey, 52% of frontline workers believe that being fully in the office or on-site is best for career advance, much higher than all other groups, found Executive Network.

The situation is further solidified by executives - as 71% of senior HR leaders and 62% of senior business leaders in the survey agreed or strongly agreed that there's "likely a 'proximity bias' between the in-person and remote/hybrid workforce."

But no matter where the work gets done, employers need to grant equal opportunities for career advancement and development for all employees, said Meister.

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