Unlike fully remote or in-person working arrangements, hybrid models have played out differently in each office, sometimes involving two or three days of presence per week and, in other cases, letting employees choose when they walk into their way. A Robin survey of more than 10,000 offices worldwide found that nearly 20% of US office workers are back one day a week, about 10% are back two days a week, only 5% are back three days a week, even fewer are back four days. or five days a week and more than 50% do not use the office regularly every week. Wednesday is the most popular day to go to the office, according to data from workplace safety firm Kastle.
Then there are plenty of business leaders still scratching their heads: Nearly a third of employers surveyed haven’t decided whether to return to the office, according to data from ManpowerGroup. And those in the process of setting or fine-tuning expectations realize there’s a lot at stake, including how employees relate to each other and how they perceive their company’s leadership.
“Zillow hasn’t said, and won’t say, ‘Tuesdays and Thursdays you have to be in the office,'” said Meghan Reibstein, head of product management and flexible working at Zillow. “Our employees are adults. Call it a millennial type of thinking — I’m a millennial — but we think if they’re happy and fulfilled in their lives, it will help them show up for work.
Many companies held firm to their RTO expectations even as Covid rates soared. BlackRock made no changes to its protocols, nor did Meta, formerly Facebook, which opened its US offices in late March but offered the option for many employees to continue working remotely. Some workplaces have reinstated mask requirements and others have said they don’t plan to require attendance anytime soon. (The New York Times, which had told its employees that most should plan to be in the office three days a week by June 6, announced a break in expectations last week due to high levels of Covid At New York.)
But business leaders are also grappling with office attendance issues that go far beyond health and safety. Many activities and leisure activities have made a comeback in recent months. NBA game attendance is 95% of pre-pandemic levels, TSA checkpoints are at 89% and Open Table dining is at 87%. Office attendance has lagged. And executives realized that when attendance isn’t required and workers aren’t guaranteed to see their teammates, managers need to get creative to articulate the benefits they see in a ride.
Jefferies, an investment bank in New York, has tried various incentives to get employees more interested in the office and is asking managers to set expectations for how often employees come in. The head of the company, Rich Handler, regularly posts invitations on Instagram. employees who are at the office to send him a direct message for a chance to be invited to dinner. Earlier this month, Mr. Handler and company president Brian Friedman sent out a memo urging employees to start improving their attendance rates for the sake of their fellow community-seeking juniors.
“For those who haven’t been to the office regularly yet, we understand that it can feel daunting combined with a sense of comfort that has taken hold for many of working primarily from home,” they wrote. “Yet we strongly believe that the negative aspects of these realities are far outweighed by the magic of being together in person.”