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What is the Alternative to Return-to-Work Initiatives?

collaborative modern office furniture in the modern hybrid office

The pandemic left its mark on how we work. Businesses have learned what they can adapt to and what they can’t. For many businesses, the transition to hybrid or remote models has significantly changed the work environment, company culture, and the traditional office setup. Although companies have sustained productivity and thrived under these unique circumstances, many are still pushing stringent return-to-work initiatives.

Employees have become accustomed to working in a certain way over the last few years. Consequently, it has become challenging to take that work-life balance away from them. Companies still see value in in-person work, but with there being little upside for employees, convincing them to return to work is a bigger feat than they might have thought. But are there alternatives to strict return-to-work policies? Is there a way for companies and employees to find a solution that both can accept?

The Future of Work is Now

Adopted out of necessity, the hybrid and remote model has proven that working out of the office is more than possible. The increase in job satisfaction, productivity, and work-life balance have become the standard for remote employees. While it might have been hard to accept and visualize it pre-pandemic, it quickly became the future of work. But now that the future of work is here, why are some companies trying to revert to a more traditional model?

Taking away the amenities and environment that employees have become accustomed to, is difficult. Successful return-to-work initiatives require a balance – a give and take. In a survey from Staffing Hub, 41% of employees reported that they would rather risk their jobs than return to work. This puts companies in a unique situation. Even though we’ve arrived and are navigating the future of work, executives are wondering if their return-to-work initiatives are what’s best for their workers and the company. But how can companies incentivize employees to return and are there alternatives? It turns out, there are ways to make both parties happy.

Is the Hybrid Model an Alternative?

It may seem like return-to-work initiatives are all or nothing. Despite the lack of substantial evidence, executives believe that returning to work can increase productivity and efficiency. This idea is partially responsible for some policies. Other policies are driven by companies not wanting to waste office space and money. At the same time, some companies don’t like the lack of oversight they have over employees. Great Place To Work shared an article about 5 elements of a successful hybrid work model. From trust to empowerment to the necessary tools, the hybrid model is designed as a well-oiled machine.

The hybrid model might not be a direct alternative to return to work. However, it can satisfy both the employee and the company. As more companies adopt the hybrid model, the more appealing it is. This compromise between employees and employers addresses the concerns of executives, while workers still get to enjoy certain work-from-home elements. For companies that are concerned about how well their return-to-work initiatives are received, the hybrid model might be the best alternative out there.

Return-to-Work… Sometimes

What employees have become accustomed to is hard to rival. Companies are trying to recreate their work-from-home environments. However, that’s hard to do when employees can take power naps during the day or maintain an active lifestyle while working. So what’s the answer? Is there an alternative to return-to-work policies? Partial attendance requirements or occasional time spent in the office might make the transition a little easier.

The success of a hybrid office depends on what companies offer employees. From modern office furniture to modern designs, creating a welcoming environment with similar amenities can make returning to work easier. But how can you design an office that can make employees want to return to?

  1. Technology – integrating technology into the office adds a different element to in-person work. Technology that can automate mundane tasks or create a more seamless work experience that they can’t get at home. Employees see a lot of cons in returning to work. However, making their jobs easier is undoubtedly an incentive
  2. Furniture – one of the best parts of working out of the office, is being able to work from the comfort of your own home. Returning to cubicle farms, rigid furniture, and traditional office designs is not attractive. From acoustic furniture to lounge seating, using modern office furniture allows you to recreate the relaxed environment that employees have come to love.
  3. Office Layout – A concern that many employees have is the versatility of a space. When working from home, employees have private distraction-free workspaces. They also have a space for virtual meetings. Designing a modern office layout blends those needs. Providing collaborative spaces as well as private areas for focused areas lets employees work in a versatile space that meets all of their needs.

The Modern Office Design that Makes it Possible

The office is constantly evolving. Modern office design is a balance of sleek modern aesthetic and functionality. The modern office – especially the hybrid office – has to meet the needs of the modern workforce. The modern hybrid office uses layouts, design, and furniture to create an environment where employees can thrive. But what modern furniture makes this possible?

  1. Modular workstations – the modular workstation and modern cubicle have made it possible for employees to adapt their work environment to their needs. StrongProject’s modern cubicle collection offers customizable workstations that can be configured to specific needs. These workstations can be equipped with adjustable-height desks, and transparent partitions that provide privacy but don’t completely cut employees off from one another.
  2. Collaborative furniture – Our collaborative product collection can create open spaces where employees can work together. Collaborative furniture encourages interaction, creates a dedicated space for impromptu meetings, and lets employees work together in a communal space.
  3. Acoustic Phone Booths – focused, distraction-free environments are usually a necessity in the office. It can be hard to create a space that is free of interruption, but the phone booth makes it possible. Our acoustic phone booth collection is the perfect solution for focused work. We offer solutions perfect for one or more employees.

Are You Looking for an Alternative?

It’s easy to see both sides of the return to work argument. There are pros and cons to both sides. However, a strict policy with the threat of termination can be divisive. Even if it might be possible to get employees to return to work this way, their view of their employer, job satisfaction, and morale can change forever. The alternative is a compromise. We have arrived at the future of work and as companies and employees, embrace this alternative, the relationship between employer and employees can only thrive.


Do you want to bring employees back without forcing return-to-work initiatives? Contact us to learn more about our hybrid product collection today!

Want to learn more about designing a hybrid office? Read our comprehensive guide to hybrid design.

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