The Office is not Dead, 85% Are Ready to Return

The Office is not Dead, 85% Are Ready to Return

What is the Eden Workplace Return to Office Survey?

With the vaccine rollout providing the nation with optimism about some semblance of “normal” life starting to return in the coming months, our friends at Eden Workplace wanted to better understand how workers feel about returning to the office. Is the office dead? (It’s not). Do people want to see their colleagues in real life or just continue with Zoom forever? What COVID-related protections do employees expect companies to take?

Eden Workplace partnered with Wakefield Research to survey 1,000 US office workers between February 9th and February 17th, 2021. We deep dive into five key findings from the survey below.

How do workers feel about returning to the office?

1) The majority of workers are looking forward to a return to the office.

The office is not dead—85% of workers are looking forward to an office return in some capacity. We absolutely expect things to be different with a more hybrid and flexible world that combines remote and in-office time, but employees are ready and hopeful for a return to the office.

2) While every demographic wants to return to the office, this is especially true for younger employees.

The survey results also indicate different perspectives by age, ethnicity, and education levels. While 89% of millennials wish to return to the office, only 80% of baby boomers felt the same. Also, while 90% of non-white office workers expressed that they were looking forward to returning to the office, the results for white office workers were slightly lower at 84%. In terms of education, those with a college degree were the most likely to want to return at 90%.

3) People miss socializing with their colleagues.

There are a variety of reasons that people cited for why they want to return to the office—44% want to escape home (e.g. work-life separation, fleeing noise, competing for WFH space, etc.), 44% wanted to get back to having proper office tools (e.g. steady WiFi, printer access, multiple monitors, etc.) and 30% look forward to using workplace amenities (e.g. using collaboration spaces, gyms, snacks, etc.). However, the most frequently cited reason for wanting to get back to the office? Socializing with their colleagues (52%)—getting back to the office gossip, grabbing coffee or lunch with colleagues—tops the reasons cited.

4) Most people expect employers to enforce COVID restrictions within the workplace. 

The survey results show that more than 3 in 5 (61%) respondents want strict enforcement of COVID-related workplace regulations by their employers. The results do vary by the respondents’ current working situation—those who never worked from home are far more likely to not want their employer to enforce COVID rules (46%), compared to those who have been working from home during quarantine (38%) and those who have already returned to the office (33%).

5) Don’t expect the WFH dress code to become the norm at the office. 

It doesn’t look like the 2020 work wardrobe of yoga pants, gym shorts, and tees will replace the more formal office wardrobe any time soon. In fact, more than three-quarters (76%) of workers expect their colleagues to dress as stylishly (53%) if not more stylishly (21%) than pre-COVID days. There were slight differences by geographic are—28% of workers in the Northeast expect their colleagues to dress more stylishly than pre-COVID days while only 18% of Midwest workers expect the same.

Interested in reading the full report from Eden Workplace? Download the survey results here.