The great return to the workplace. | tbtech

90% of employees say it’s better to be back in the office than expected, reports Envoy survey. The way we work, communicate and communicate in the workplace has been turned upside down since the pandemic. And with the shift come new habits in the workplace. Employees adopt new ways of working, renew old skills and focus on their well-being. They also re-evaluate how they spend their time in the workplace. Envoy’s latest Return to the Workplace report reveals which old routines people are putting aside in favor of new ones.

These are the main ways in which behavior and attitudes change.

Employees make the most of office life – and that’s better than expected

While many have struggled with the decision to return, nearly everyone (90%) of those surveyed say being back is better than they expected.

Even among those who have to return, there is consensus: 91% think the office experience is better than they thought it would be – and 42% say it really exceeded their expectations.

According to Envoy’s research earlier this year, there’s a lot to be gained by showing up. People are most excited to meet up with friends from work, collaborate in person, or just get out of the house.

Employees change the old 9 to 5 schedule

Just over half (52%) of workers switched their commute to the office before the pandemic.

The office hours have moved earlier. More than a third (34%) are arriving earlier than before Covid and about a quarter (26%) are leaving earlier. Only 19% come in later compared to 24% who stay later.

New employees are staying in the office longer than before the pandemic. Of those who changed jobs during the pandemic (35%), 41% arrive earlier and 31% leave later.

By comparison, those who return to the same job stick to tried-and-true routines. 57% arrive and 60% leave the office at their usual pre-pandemic time. Only 30% arrive earlier and 20% leave later.

Employees relearn top skills such as time management

86% of those surveyed restart essential workplace skills that had become inactive while working from home. Time management is number one with 40%. Meanwhile, 31% say they are rusty when it comes to small talk and interacting with others. 29% practice personal presentation skills. Finding the right work outfit after two years of elastic waistbands is also high on the refresher list (29%). After communicating via video for so long, 28% are relearning how to maintain good posture.

Employees take control of office workdays

People feel more able to switch up the routine since the pandemic. Almost all (93%) plan their workdays as they see fit. Many interfere with downtime in the form of personal breaks or social activities. Or planning specific tasks for workdays in the workplace.

36% of employees say they reserve priority meetings and collaborative work for days on site.

Taking more breaks at the office (31%) and doing personal shopping (29%) are priorities for nearly a third of employees, especially men. They are more likely than women to take necessary breaks or do personal errands during the workday.

Mental wellness is also a top priority, especially for Gen Z. These younger workers are more likely than any other generation to take a mental health day.

Employees are also making more room in their schedules to socialize in the workplace – more than before Covid. 34% hang out more with colleagues in the office. 27% make the effort to meet new colleagues, and almost a quarter (24%) are attending more happy hours or other events after work.


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