Why Gen Z are driving a return to the office

13 April 2023

Are the perks of working from home fading this year? Recent research suggests that 40% of university students and graduates prefer in-office working. with less than 1/5 applying for remote jobs. Will Gen Z be the ones to remind the other generations that coming into the office can be fun? And that there are huge benefits to our mental health in collaborating in person in our warm office space, as opposed to shivering in isolation at home.  The TfL is predicting that commuter traffic will be back to pre-pandemic levels by Autumn this year, implying a future increase in employees returning to the office.

Gen Z are proving to be the driving force behind this as they want to be true team players, grow professionally, make friends, and possibly find partners. 

Personal Presence:

According to a report by Bloomberg, Gen Z has shown an obvious preference for in-person working. Entering offices at junior levels, they report feeling more secure when interacting with their teams and managers in person. It gives them a better sense of direction while allowing them to learn more on the job- which will eventually result in greater career progression. While the older generations are strong advocates for virtual meetings, Gen Z prefer them to be in-person. Being in the personal presence of colleagues motivates this cohort to be more productive.

An article in Forbes reads, “Gen-Zers are having to decipher instructions and requests through instant messages, emails and video calls. With some nuances lost through technological communication, it can be anxiety-inducing, leaving plenty of room for misunderstanding or conflict”.

Supporting this further, Bloomberg ran a study that showcased Gen Z’s penchant for “face-time”. Learning company culture and ways of working is extremely difficult in remote settings, and this is one of the primary reasons Gen Z values office time. It helps them navigate teamwork, understand company ethos and feel a sense of belonging, all contributing to better wellbeing.   

Focused Spaces

Hotelification may be the leading design approach to encourage colleagues back to the office and make the commute worth it. But for Gen Z, the hero offering within the office is a focused space to work in. Hubble HQ found that Gen Z find striking a work-life balance at home extremely difficult. Often they’re surrounded by distractions with many of them living in shared spaces. They’re attracted to the focused booths, lounge areas or work desks offered in the office, welcoming the opportunity to work without distractions.  

Social Interaction

Most Gen Z completed their university degrees from the confines of their bedrooms. They missed out on a massive part of being a student – social interaction. In-person collaboration leads to better trust, more focus and creativity, all vital components of a healthy experience at work. The lure of meeting people, making friends, and brainstorming with their team are all driving up their demand for in-office working. 

What does this mean for hybrid working policies?

As more Gen Z embark on the first stages of their careers, businesses must evolve and adapt their approach in order to attract and retain this cohort. If Gen Z demand for in-office working continues to strengthen, hybrid working may place greater emphasis on being in the office. 

Get in touch today to discuss our culture/office audit, helping guide the future use of your office space and transforming your culture to suit the needs of Gen Z. 

To find out more about how we can transform working lives, get in touch with our experienced team here.

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