- Three-quarters of desks in North American offices are going mostly unused, according to the Advanced Workplace Associates Hybrid Working Index study, conducted during June and July.
- Attendance is low even for organizations that mandate in-office days as part of their hybrid working plan, AWA said. Organizations that mandate two days in office, for example, are seeing employees in the office on average 1.1 days per week, according to the survey.
- Even on busy days, the office is more than half empty, AWA said, and attendance in North America drops to as low as 7% on Fridays. “The hybrid work genie is out of the bottle and organizations have a real opportunity to work with their employees to find smarter, more efficient ways of working and make better use of their real estate,” Andrew Mawson, managing director of AWA, said in a statement.
Employees have pushed back against hybrid work mandates since they were first handed down — though the conversation is turning more complex, various studies have shown.
Companies that aren’t speaking with employees about hybrid work plans may make employees feel they aren’t trusted to do their jobs, one expert previously told HR Dive. At its core, the biggest issue with hybrid work policies may be a perceived lack of trust and not necessarily the office experience itself. But company leaders have gone on record saying that they don’t want to come to the office, either, due in part to commuting concerns, convenience and continued COVID-19 concerns.
Employers may need to change how they think about the office, in general. One expert previously advised that companies should view the office as a tool used to meet company objectives, rather than as a place employees need to clock in and out of to be seen as productive.
Notably, surveys have shown that employees are warming up to the office because of the sociability of the space. Employees have said they miss being with their colleagues as well as their in-office friendships — and they enjoy being able to get out of the house.