Now that we’re in post-pandemic mode, business owners are tasked with defining the optimal approach for returning to the office, with choices ranging from a full time, in-office model, to a fully remote workforce, to a hybrid compromise. Making the right decision demands careful examination of factors including the nature of the business, workforce dynamics, and employee expectations. Striking the right balance is essential. In this post, we’ll look at the benefits and resources from both the employee and employer points of view.



Maintaining a physical presence in the office promotes collaboration and spontaneous interaction among team members. It also fosters face-to-face communication, brainstorming sessions and information interactions that often lead to innovative solutions and a stronger sense of camaraderie.


Other reasons to return to the office can include:

  • Cultural cohesion. The workplace serves as a tangible representation of the company’s culture and values, and a shared identity among employees.
  • Effective onboarding and mentorship facilitation.
  • Security and confidentiality for certain industries.
  • Enhanced customer service and client engagement.
  • A centralized professional setting for meetings, presentations and demonstrations.
  • Operational efficiency and seamless communication.



There are also compelling reasons to continue to work remotely:

  • Work-life balance to better manage personal and professional responsibilities, reduce stress and enhance overall job satisfaction.
  • Elimination or reduction of commuting time.
  • Work hour flexibility and autonomy to tailor work scheduled to individual preferences.
  • The ability to tap into a diverse talent pool regardless of geographical constraints, thus promoting diversity and inclusion within the workforce.
  • A beneficial environment for those who thrive in autonomous work environments.
  • Business continuity during unforeseen interruptions.



A hybrid work model is increasingly gaining popularity as a solution to strike a balance between in-office and remote work. It can offer employees flexibility to choose when and where they work, with scheduled days in the office.


Implementing a successful hybrid work model involves clear communication and well-defined policies. Organizations must establish guidelines regarding the number of days employees are expected to be in the office. Additionally, leveraging technology for seamless communication and collaboration is crucial to maintaining connectivity and teamwork.


Managers should prioritize transparent communication, and set expectations for performance, deliverables and team collaboration while providing support and resources to promote remote work. Collaboration spaces should be designed to promote teamwork, brainstorming sessions and informal discussions.


Dr. Tracy Brower, PhD. MM, MCRW, is a principal with the Applied Research and Consulting group at Steelcase is a sociologist focusing on workers, work and the workplace, and author of “Bring Work to Life by Bringing Life to Work: A Guide for Leaders and Organizations” and “The Secrets to Happiness at Work.”


In an article published in Fast Company, Brower claims the best workplaces aren’t just hybrid, they’re flexible. “Flexible work goes one step beyond hybrid work, in that it empowers individuals to decide where, and when, and how they work,” she said. For example, a flexible office may offer a workstation, a café, or a comfy area that allows employees a work environment that works best for them.


The results of an Atlassian survey she cited found that with flexible working options, 71% of companies reported that their team was innovative, compared to only 57% without flexible options.


“When people have more autonomy and choice, they are freer to think broadly and creatively. They are also less limited by the stress associated with time poverty,” she said. Continuing on, she revealed a more positive outlook on the company’s culture, better team health, and fewer symptoms of burnout when employees have greater working flexibility.



Equipping yourself with the necessary resources can help ensure a smooth transition when returning to the office.

  • Assess the company’s specific requirements, operational considerations, and roles within the organization.
  • Document your return to office policy with clear guidelines and expectations as employees transition back to the workplace. (See more on documentation.)
  • Engage in open and transparent communication with employees. Solicit their feedback and concerns.
  • Research how other companies are approaching return to office questions.
  • Seek legal and regulatory guidance to ensure local labor law and health regulation compliances.
  • Implement a phased approach or gradual implementation for return to work.
  • Stay updated on the latest workplace guidelines and protocols issued by local health authorities and your organization.
  • Utilize communication and project management tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
  • Leverage project management apps like Asana, Trello or Jira to manage tasks and deadlines.



  • Assess your role and responsibilities. Can you be effective working remotely?
  • Evaluate your personal preferences and work style.
  • Engage in open communication with your employer.
  • Look at the potential impact on your career growth and professional development. Some roles or industries may place a higher value on in-person collaboration.
  • Keep informed on industry trends, advancement and best practices.
  • Talk to industry peers to understand their approach.
  • Leverage technology to facilitate remote work.
  • Be adaptable and open. Use a trial period before committing to a particular return to office option.
  • Engage in continuous learning to sharpen skills and stay competitive in your field. Use online course platforms such as LinkedIn, Coursera or Udemy.
  • Network and reconnect with colleagues and your professional circle. Attend industry events, seminars and conferences.
  • Prioritize self-care to maintain overall well-being.



Indeed, there are generational patterns regarding whether to return to work full time, work remotely, or adopt a hybrid model. For the older generation, familiarity with in-person interactions and traditional office structures may be the tendency. Conversely, the younger generation often values flexibility and work-life balance, accentuated by the rise of digital communication technologies. Remote or hybrid work models align with their desire for autonomy and their ability to tailor their work environment to enhance productivity.


However, generational trends are not absolute, and individual preferences within generations can vary significantly. The adoption of remote work across generations has challenged traditional norms and prompted reevaluation of the role of physical office spaces, and demonstrated that remote work can be effective and productive, irrespective of age.


By carefully considering the unique aspects of returning to the office, company owners can create a work environment that maximizes productivity and employee satisfaction. And by aligning the chosen work model with the needs of both the business and its employees, owners can foster a resilient, collaborative and future-ready workplace.



Leveraging its wealth of expertise and industry insights, the Association for Enterprise Growth (AEG) provides invaluable resources and guidance to help business owners make well-informed decisions on return to office procedures.


It offers educational programs and workshops to address the specific challenges and considerations associated with each work model, and a platform for business owners to gain insights into best practices, industry trends and case studies. Business owners can also network and collaborate with other business owners in a community of professionals to share experiences, lessons learned and innovative solutions.


Contact AEG to learn more about its programs, education and networking opportunities for business owners. For ongoing information, subscribe to the CEO Growth Snapshot.


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