Many employees have been returning to the office begrudgingly after learning to love the newfound freedom that remote work arrangements provide.
However, for Gallup CEO Jim Clifton, more workers want to come back to the office than originally thought.
“The [office] building becomes an event center for you, and a collaboration center,” said Clifton in a podcast with Gallup editor Mohamed Younis. “Because if you’ve got something really hard you want to work on with me, you need to come and draw it on a board for me.”
To make the post-pandemic return more enticing, many CEOs are taking a new approach: providing choice.
By allowing workers to choose when they can come and go, they are more likely to be satisfied with their time in the office.
Companies are also transforming the office environment itself to make the return not something to be forced, but to actually be desired.
For instance, financial marketing and communications agency Vested revamped its Union Square offices in Manhattan by introducing new desks, long tables, sofas, three conference rooms, a full kitchen, swinging chairs, and more.
Other leaders have taken post-pandemic office transformation to the next level, such as Texas-based company S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint. During the early days of the pandemic, CEO Adam Lyons moved the firm’s headquarters to his farm, modifying a storage building into offices and outfitting it with a kitchen, hot tub, and more.
Beyond office amenities, S.M.A.R.T. staffers are also able to enjoy the benefits of being surrounded by nature, while having access to fresh eggs and milk thanks to the farm’s many chickens and cows. Employees are also provided with breakfast and lunch, while lower-paid commuters receive reimbursements for their travels.
Superficial offices will no longer cut it moving forward. Instead, employees want an atmosphere that supports work-life flexibility, their mental health, and instills a culture of creativity.