Employees are anticipated to return to the office full-time in 2024

The work-from-home arrangement, a privilege embraced by numerous employees during the Covid-19 pandemic, may see a shift for many individuals come 2024.

For certain individuals, the era of working remotely may be drawing to a close, as numerous employers anticipate a return to full-time office work in 2024.

Approximately 60 percent of workers, including medical professionals and tradespeople, cannot perform their duties remotely and require physical presence. However, the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated the feasibility and benefits of remote work for desk-bound employees.

Several years after the pandemic’s onset, some employers are now eager to maintain a more consistent staff presence in their workplaces.

While remote work remains a sought-after perk among job seekers, particularly in industries facing retention challenges, many employers are not actively promoting it.

Some companies have even begun tying bonuses and performance reviews to employees’ office attendance.

Many businesses expect staff to be in the office at least 40 to 50 percent of the time.

However, in 2024, some experts predict an even stronger push for employees to be physically present alongside their colleagues.

Angela Ferguson, the originator of Futurespace, a company specializing in workplace strategy and design, informed NCA NewsWire that more executives anticipate a complete return to office work in 2024. However, she stressed the importance of inspiring rather than enforcing this transition through innovative office perks and enhancements.

She emphasized the necessity for leaders to understand the rationale behind wanting employees back in the office. According to Ferguson, the foundation of a successful workspace and culture lies in facilitating connections while preserving some level of autonomy.

She stated, “The effectiveness of encouraging office attendance will vary greatly for individuals, teams, and organizations. To ensure success, organizations must comprehend the specific needs of their workforce regarding the work experience.”

Ferguson highlighted that face-to-face interactions enhance productivity, engagement, connection, and overall workplace culture. She remarked, “Many leaders are suggesting staff come in for two or three days a week, which is reasonable. However, our interactions with organizations often reveal a disparity between what employees desire and what leadership expects in terms of office attendance.”

She emphasized that it’s not just about productivity but also about mental and social well-being. Regardless of individuals’ introverted tendencies, humans inherently require social connections, and the workplace serves as an excellent platform to nurture them.

Ms. Ferguson acknowledged that remote work proved successful during the pandemic but encountered some “frustrations and challenges.”

“Now that we’re navigating the hybrid work model, it’s a more nuanced landscape where people, place, and technology must all adapt,” she explained. “There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and each organization will have unique needs.”

She stressed the importance of workplaces accommodating various working styles. “The most effective workplaces offer a diverse array of spaces—individual rooms, soundproof areas, and collaborative breakout rooms—that cater to everyone’s preferences,” she noted. “This ensures that both individual and team needs are met throughout the physical environment.”

Ms. Ferguson highlighted that according to her team’s research, the primary complaint was often related to technology not being user-friendly. “In many instances, employees prioritize getting the basics right before delving into advanced technologies like AI, VR, or AR,” she remarked. “Enhanced tech-enabled spaces enable seamless work from any location in the office, easy transition from desk to meeting room, remote connectivity, and hassle-free work-from-home setups.”

She also emphasized the importance of on-site tech support, which is a significant desire for many employees.