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The office vs. WFH: can a great workplace experience beat the home office?

November 30, 2021

Many companies and workers are wondering whether it’s time to return to the office. But after a year and a half working from home, workers have very specific expectations of their office. How can you encourage a return to the office? And what can the workplace offer that the home office can’t?

Remember the bustling atmosphere of a thriving office? Working side by side toward a shared goal, laughter ringing out from the kitchen, the unexpected breakthrough during a lunchbreak with colleagues. 

That easy, social workplace experience may seem like a distant memory after months of remote work. But as we near the start of 2022, more and more organisations are considering a return to the office. That’s good news for the commercial real estate sector, but it comes with a catch.

You can’t simply expect people to return to the office. Especially in a time that many are referring to as ‘the Great Resignation.’ An office-based future isn’t at all certain. But there are things you can do to help make it a reality. And it starts with highlighting the advantages that offices have over remote-first work.

Your return-to-office strategy should be exciting and joyous. A celebration of what made workplaces so important to begin with... collaboration and community.

Workers miss the workplace experience

Here’s the good news. People value the office more than you might think.

There’s an overriding perception that workers prefer remote work. But, as always, it’s best to check the data before making that assumption.

That’s just what we did in our 2021 Global Office Tenant Report. We asked workers what would motivate them to return to the office. 73% of workers said they viewed the office as the best way to stay connected with colleagues. And the second most-sited reason was collaboration, as mentioned by 71% of respondents.

Knowing what tenants and workers value is only the first step to bringing them back to the office. You also need to clearly communicate that your office can offer them the sense of community and collaboration they’ve been missing. Our free Ultimate Welcome Back Playbook can help you as you devise your return-to-office campaign. 

Download our free Welcome Back Playbook
Find free campaigns, templates, budgets and more in our Welcome Back Playbook


But the major takeaway is that people won’t return to just any old office. They want to return to a great office.

A truly great office can be indispensable

Working from home has many advantages. And those advantages are clear to workers. More time around their loved ones, greater flexibility and freedom. And  never underestimate the allure of a zero-minute commute.

In order to encourage people to spend more time in the office, that office needs to feel special.

The good news is… your office is special! It’s got a whole range of strengths that definitely cast shadow on the remote office experience. Maybe you’re conveniently located in a humming retail precinct. Perhaps you’ve installed new conference technology. And even if nothing’s changed about your office in the lockdown, it’s still got one thing the home office doesn’t – a sense of community. And we know, that’s the one thing workers are missing.

All you have to do is communicate that to your tenants.

Tell people what's unique about your workplace experience

Communicating the importance of your site to workers and tenants alike is deceptively simple. All you need to do is highlight the benefits absent from remote work. Factors such as ease of collaboration, community events, and needs-based services can make a persuasive argument for time in the office.

Here are a few quick ideas from our Ultimate Welcome Back Playbook:  

  • Target your most important contacts first. Create a triaged list of influential tenants and engage with them as a top priority. Getting your most high-profile tenants back to the office will help encourage a broader return.
  • Throw exciting events and Invite your tenants. Remember, community is what tenants and workers value about the office most of all. So, give it to them! Think about hosting a friendly competition between tenants or a welcome back brunch in the lobby.
  • Brag about yourself! Don’t be shy about what makes your site special. After months of lockdown, people are hungry for the community the office can offer. Send out a newsletter telling everyone what you’ve got in store for them. New facilities or retail partners? Let people hear about them! Back this up with a more extensive content plan including push notifications to make sure every remote worker knows what they’re missing.
  • Offer fun, in-office treats. When tenants come back, make the return special for them. Think about a food drop to workers desks or a massage chair hire. Give them something they’d never get at home.

If you want a leg up with your planning, make sure to download our Ultimate Welcome Back Playbook. It’s free and packed full of helpful strategies, campaigns, templates, and more!


Planning your return? Equiem can help to supercharge your strategy! Book a free demo today and have your Welcome Back strategy ready for the new year!


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