With the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, many employers and employees have been forced to confront the question of what a "return to office" might look like—if there should be one at all.
It’s easy to assume that the return to office would mean a return to business as usual, but a Ritual for Companies survey of 1,496 employees across various industries uncovered some surprising trends.
Here are some key findings from the study about employee attitudes and the reality of the return to office that might surprise you.
During the pandemic, amidst lockdowns and social distancing protocols, many employers without existing work-from-home policies realized they could actually make work-from-home work.
With offices opening up again, the majority of employees seem to be returning to the office with a hybrid working model that requires at least 2 days in office.
Of the employees who responded, 62% said they are required in-office at least twice per week. The remaining 38% weren’t required to go into the office, though many of them said it was still encouraged.
It was only a few years ago that going into an office from Monday to Friday was a part of the average employee’s morning routine.
Now, it seems that’s no longer the default.
Of the 917 respondents whose companies required them to be in the office, only 23% went into the office every day. The remainder said they went in two days per week or less.
Many employees may be required or encouraged to go into the office, but do they enjoy it?
Interestingly, 87% of respondents who have in-office requirements, and 84% of those who don’t, reported they like being in the office.
The survey results also reflect a new preference for a hybrid workplace model among today’s employees, with 52% of respondents reporting they like being in the office “sometimes”, slightly outweighing those with a strong preference for or against it.
Overall, employees reported being happier if more people were in the office.
Office benefits, specifically food perks, naturally play a role in how much employees enjoy the experience of being in the office.
On average, 90% of survey respondents who have office food perks programs (company cafeterias, office catering, provided lunches) enjoy them.
And of the 164 respondents without food perks programs, 70% said food perks would make them more excited to return to the office.
Even at companies that did not have mandatory in-office requirements, 78% of employees responded that they would be more likely to go in if food was provided.
Together, these insights reveal that the office many employees are returning to isn’t the same one they left at the onset of the pandemic.
The world of work has changed, but food perks are an incentive that can get employees excited about going into the office—whether it’s mandatory or not.
Ritual for Companies is an elegant solution to the demand for food perks programs in the new hybrid working model, making it easy for employees to use company-funded credits to order lunch for pickup or group delivery from local restaurants—whether they’re working from home or going into the office.