Many discussions about the future of the workplace focus on the element of remote workers, but the return to office is an essential building block for hybrid work. It’s also going more slowly than anticipated.

A spring 2022 survey of 160 major employers, conducted by The Partnership for New York City, found that more than 75% of firms are set to implement a hybrid model, but the larger the company, the slower the pace of return to office.

Why are things going so slowly? Because workers are unwilling to return.

A recent European survey found that on average 64% of workers are reluctant to return to the workplace, from a low of 56% in the Netherlands to a high of 83% in Ireland.

In the pre-pandemic world, things like game rooms, free snacks, and cool office design were used to create excitement among employees for being in the office. Today, these incentives have been replaced by HR policies, placemaking, and organizational design underpinned with a technical infrastructure that enables hybrid work.


The three most important elements to focus on in the return to office are people, spaces, and technology.

Meet employees’ changed expectations and attitudes. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. Someone early in their career may want to be in more often for the camaraderie, while established workers with families may prefer to be in on as few days as possible. With the autonomy many employees developed through remote working, managers who feel employees need to be in the office to be micromanaged are a detriment. Take roles and function into consideration and make more granular decisions about what makes sense.

Recognize the role of place in building workplace culture. 66% of businesses are considering remodeling their company spaces for hybrid work. While many organizations clearly understand that the traditional approach to office space won’t work, it’s also important to take a new approach to the function of office space. As you redesign your space, consider how your new environment communicates your values and culture.

Animate your return to office with technology. Technology sets in motion the interactions that solve issues, generate new ideas, express culture, and bring colleagues together. From workplace apps that bring people together in the right place at the right time to immersive video conferencing experiences, technology repositions your office as an intelligent hub for remote and face-to-face collaboration.


With hybrid work becoming our new reality, many organizations are struggling to tackle their return to office at a functional level, while missing the underlying culture, structure, and values necessary to support all employees.

To help you navigate a strong return to office that sets your company up to succeed as workplaces continue to evolve, Poly has partnered with the experts at WORKTECH Academy.  Our latest white paper combines key insights, with input from technical and design leaders, and real-world examples to help your return to office strategy create a strong foundation for hybrid working.

Read The Journey to Hybrid Working: A Reset For Return To Office?  to learn more research-based considerations about people, spaces, and technology in your return to office planning.