Is your organisation returning to the office?

Overlay Main Banner
Is your organisation returning to the office?
Adam Robinson

Is your organisation returning to the office?

With so many mainstream companies encouraging - and in some cases, mandating - a return to the office, Lorien's Adam Robinson examines both sides of the argument.

It seems like only  yesterday when the introduction of mass remote working was ushered in by the pandemic.  Since then, a global debate has been rumbling on about the pros and cons of office working versus remote working.  With major tech companies like Google, Amazon and Apple handing out return-to-office mandates, many other businesses are following suit – with some going as far as penalising employees for not being in the office for the required amount of days.

In this blog, I’ll examine the pros and cons of a return to the office to help you make the right decision for your organisation and employees.

Welcoming a return

As stated earlier, many companies who embraced remote working back in 2020 are backtracking on promises made to employees to remain remote and flexible. Zoom, who played a pivotal role in making working from home more productive, have announced that employees need to work in the office twice per week. Similarly, X (previously known as Twitter) have implemented an office-only policy, with employees required to work from the office all week.

It isn’t just stakeholders who want to see some familiar faces in the office either – many workers  are receptive to the idea of going back to working in an office. In a recent poll, 59% of young workers aged 18-24 said they work less productively at home, and 43% stated that they feel isolated whilst working remotely. With productivity and isolation topping the list of reasons for workers to return to the office, what else could be a motivator?

Relevant to isolation, many people like the social aspect of the office. Chatting to a colleague and going on post-work ventures can bond a team together in ways that aren’t possible online. Gen Z and millennials specifically feel most affected by the lack of socialisation when working from home, with many finding it difficult to maintain relationships with colleagues. Another factor is collaboration, with employees able to see their colleagues and communicate with them face-to-face, allowing for clear communication.

Why some employees want to stay at home

Despite clear advantages to returning to the office, it’s certainly not for everyone with some employees having equally good reasons to stay home. In fact, 56% of professionals know someone who has quit due to return-to-office mandates, and 35% know more than one person who plans to quit if mandated to return. On top of this, 63% of employees are willing to take a pay cut to work remotely.

With employees firmly standing their ground on this, what exactly are the pluses to continuing to be fully remote? Many employees cite the lack of a commute as a huge benefit to staying at home, allowing for an extra hour – or sometimes more – to be spent however they choose. This also links to having a healthy work-life balance, which helps to keep burnout rates low and engagement high.

Although some employees stated that they are more productive in the office, there is an equally convincing argument for higher productivity at home. With no distractions and potential silence, it’s easier for employees to complete complex tasks in a timely manner rather than being disturbed by a buzzing office.

Research has recently shown that organisations who invest in flexibility in 2024 will see faster growth alongside higher customer and employee satisfaction, with improved retention rates. Additionally, companies that were fully flexible between 2020 and 2022 saw a revenue growth of 21%. Companies that were focused on in-person work saw only 5% growth – a huge difference, highlighting the value placed on flexibility and remote working.

Mental health and the office

The argument that mental health and working location are linked is equally split. On the one hand, it can be easier to monitor an employee’s mental health in-person. You’re also establishing a strict routine to your day, with the opportunity to clear your head on the commute.

On the other hand, many people say the office environment is very draining, particular for those already suffering from mental health conditions. 58% of employees feel a return-to-office mandate would negatively impact their mental health, and they find it harder to hide their symptoms of mental health in an office environment.

I have personally seen some organisations pushing for a large-scale return-to-office, and a shift from the mentality of remote working. Mental health is a big reason for sickness, so I can see the logic in employers encouraging more office time to try and combat this. For me, as someone who suffers from anxiety, I find getting to the office more frequently, and having a set structure really helps with my anxiety – but every person is different!


It's clear that both sides of the argument have good reasoning and lots of evidence to back up their opinions, but which side of the argument will you stand on?


For more Lorien leadership insights, click here. Similar insights can also be heard on our People Make the Difference podcast, which is available here.

Our Insights | News, Events, and Case Studies

Our tech expertise and partner-led approach allows us to deliver highly successful results for our clients so they can attract and retain unique talent for their business. Explore our latest collection of case studies, news, events, and insights.

Subscribe to our newsletter

With insight across the whole of Lorien, we'll keep you ahead of the curve on the talent market.

What Tech Candidates Want 2024

Fill out the form below to gain exclusive access to the report.