A new Robert Half survey has released data on employers' and employees' plans to return to the office.

It shows that 66% of senior managers want their teams to work on-site full time as COVID-19-related restrictions ease. That's down 5 points from last year, suggesting more companies have warmed up to flexible work.

Regional Director Dora Onyschak said more managers embrace remote work because worker retention is huge.

From a retention perspective, maintaining those tenured employees, that knowledge base, is supercritical, according to Onyschak.

"Offering employees that flexibility to choose where they work from is a low-cost way to create a positive culture, to increase employee morale because everyone works a little bit differently," said Onyschak. Some people may be more productive working from home versus in the office.

The survey also found that just 1 in 3 managers support long-term hybrid schedules and employees' ability to choose where they work.

Sometimes, employers feel the office is the best place to work, said Onyschak. It provides easier collaborative efforts and innovation tends to happen when groups are together.

"I think some may be under the impression that their employee base does want to come back to work. It's not a one-size-fits-all, unfortunately, which makes it a little challenging to navigate," she said.

There are also logistical and management pieces that need to be worked through when a hybrid work model is implemented from technology to protocols and communication. Onyschak said it can be daunting.

In a separate survey of workers, 50% of professionals would look for a new job that offers remote options if their company required employees to return to the office full time, up 16 points from one year ago.

Onyschak said as employers, it's important to talk to their employees and find out what they want. Some employers may be fine with a hybrid schedule as long as it's not five days a week. Define what "hybrid" means in the office and work from there.

But she said communication is the key!

If companies decide to offer a hybrid work model, don't forget the people who are working off-site. Communicate with all employees, not just the ones in the office. Onyschak said to make sure managers loop in the remote workforce.

Involving them in different functions that may be happening around the office is crucial. Send out invitations if there is an event going on in the office. Whether the off-site employee decides to attend or not is on them, but that inclusion is important to make sure they are not forgotten.

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