Published on 20 Jan 2021

Bringing People Back To The Office: Here’s What It Will Take

 As we look toward a post-pandemic future, many of us are craving a return to life as we knew it (or closer to what we knew). We’ll be glad to go back to the gym, eat out again and yes, even get back to the office. But while we’re craving to get back to the way things were, there will be challenges as well—because just as there are elements that exhaust us about working from home, there’s also a lot to love.

They say a new habit is built in 21 days and since March 2020, we’ve had about 14, 21-day cycles. This means we’ve solidified new approaches to working in our homes—and it’s possible they’ve become entrenched. So how will we change our current ways of working? What’s effective about working from home? And what’s not? What can we learn from the last year—and how can leaders create the conditions to motivate, engage and bring people back?  

Through our experience of working from home during the pandemic, we’ve learned a significant amount, which we can apply to our future ways of working. Global studies by office manufacturer Steelcase (including—full disclosure—my own contribution to the research effort) are telling. Based on eight separate studies engaging 32,000 participants across 10 countries*, there’s a lot to know about working from home and how we’ll work in the months and years ahead.