Employees Reevaluate Meaningful In-Office Connections in Wake of COVID-19


U.S. employees may be reexamining their relationship with the office after COVID-19, according to a survey of more than 1,000 office-based employees. The survey  found that many workers (those who worked in an office and/or remotely prior to COVID-19) still view the office as a critical place to meaningfully connect with colleagues, yet they value the flexibility that comes from working remotely. The survey was conducted by The Harris Poll and sponsored by Hana, a company specializing in flexible-space solutions.

“Employees are looking to the office as a place to meaningfully connect with colleagues, yet desire more flexible work benefits,” said Andrew Kupiec, CEO, Hana. “To satisfy this demand, organizations should consider enabling flexible working schedules while continuing to offer an office environment for collaboration and meetings with colleagues.”

In the COVID-19 era, the research points to a demand for both more flexibility from U.S. employees to work outside the office, at least part time, and a place to meet with colleagues for irreplaceable in-person interactions:

  • 99 percent of those working from home/a remote location due to COVID-19 say there are aspects of working remotely they find valuable such as saving money (62 percent), foregoing work commutes (55 percent) and gaining more control over their work schedule (43 percent).
  • 56 percent of survey respondents say they want to work flexibly between the office and a remote location or exclusively work outside the office once the COVID-19 quarantine is over.
  • However, after working from home/a remote location as a result of COVID-19, a majority of U.S. employees (92 percent) also better appreciate aspects of working in an office.
  • Many office workers value meaningful in-office connections such as random interactions with colleagues (38 percent), in-person meetings (33 percent) and in-person collaboration (33 percent).
  • Few workers value “fun” in-office interactions such as in-office networking events (13 percent), office-sponsored fitness classes (9 percent) and in-office games (6 percent).

“Forced fun should be reserved for family reunions,” said Brian Harrington, Chief Experience Officer, Hana. “As the results of the survey suggests, employees look to the office for productive interactions with coworkers and are happy to leave the games at home.”

Survey Method: This survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Hana from April 13-15, 2020 among 2,108 U.S. adults ages 18 and older (among whom 1,239 are employed, and 1,055 worked in office/from home/remote location prior to coronavirus). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

The full report is available for download at: https://www.yourhana.com/resources/covid19-workplace-research/

CBRE Hana, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBRE Group, Inc., the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2019 revenue). Hana partners with real estate owners to develop and operate integrated, scalable, flexible workspaces. Each unit contains office suites (Hana Team), conference rooms and event space (Hana Meet) and co-working (Hana Share). Hana provides property owners increased transparency and a valuable offering for companies that desire to maintain their culture and brand while leveraging the benefits of a flexible space offering.

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