It was an abrupt breakup in March of 2020. Scary in the beginning; you had been together since college. Then it became sort of fun as you found other ways to get work done, and you didn’t even have to wear pants. During the pandemic, almost 70% of U.S. full-time workers worked from home. Half of the American workers said back then that they wouldn’t return to jobs that didn’t offer remote work after the pandemic, and almost a quarter said that they would take a pay cut in order to work from home at least some of the time.1

Homebound No More

It’s been over three years and the office is back with a passion. Leaders at Walt Disney Co., Starbucks, Apple, Amazon, and hundreds of others are asking employees to return to the office…now.2 In fact, a survey published in The Wall Street Journal found that 92% of managers prefer their teams to work on-site. One such leader, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook's parent company, Meta Platforms, told his employees that, “Our hypothesis is that it is still easier to build trust in person and that those relationships help us work more effectively.”3

Fans of remote work – disgruntled about being called back to the office and looking for a new employer – are finding slim pickings. A recent report from LinkedIn indicates that job postings offering remote work are declining. In March 2022 more than a fifth of all job postings advertised remote work, but as of this past November that figure fell to 14%.4 Like baking your own bread, pandemic-inspired norms are becoming a thing of the past. 

The newest working generation, Gen Z, seems to be on board. In a 2021 Axios survey, 74% of the youngest workers said they miss the office community and over 40% said they miss in-person mentoring.5 “That social interaction and feel of being part of a collective is something I think people forget when they’ve not had it for ages,” says Jessica Bryan, a U.K. worker who was fully remote until late 2022, when her company dissolved and she was forced to take a job that required a presence in the office.6 Indeed, the desire for work and social connection is real.

The Future is Hybrid

The tide isn’t exactly changing back to all in-person – the future seems to be a hybrid of some office presence and some remote work days. Columbia Business School professor Stepan Meier believes that companies that learn to be flexible and allow for hybrid schedules will retain a competitive advantage over those with strict in-person mandates. "You want to create and engage an efficient, productive workforce. That means reimagining when and where we do work. Firms that have figured out how to make hybrid schedules work will be more productive," he said.7

Psychology Today has a couple of tips for successfully managing a hybrid work environment. First, organizations should establish clear communication channels, such as using video conferencing and in-person conference rooms at the same time. Managers should also provide specific goals, tasks, and deadlines so that employees know what metrics they need to hit and can gauge how to better balance their in-person and remote presence in order to achieve their objectives. Finally, businesses should invest in resources to ensure those who are working from home some days a week are engaged. This doesn’t just mean purchasing them a laptop, it also includes investing in virtual activities as well as mental health resources.8

Yes, you and the office may be getting back together. Now that you’ve seen both the advantages and disadvantages of being apart, maybe this time around you’ll give each other some necessary space. Good luck on a lasting relationship!


  1. “State of Remote Work: 2020,” Owl Labs, (accessed March 25, 2023).
  2. M. Cerullo, “Like working from home? Some companies say enough is enough,” CBS News, January 12, 2023,; J. Lim, “Gen Z kinda wants to return to the office, but everyone else doesn’t. Why you need to meet in the middle,” Fast Company, March 23, 2023,
  3. G. Guilford, “Work-From-Home Era Ends for Millions of Americans,” The Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2023,
  4. M. Cerullo, “Like working from home? Some companies say enough is enough,” CBS News, January 12, 2023,
  5. E. Pandey, “Younger employees fear being left behind by remote work,” Axios, July 13, 2021,
  6. M. Tatum, “The workers quietly backtracking on return-to-office,” BBC, March 24, 2023,
  7. M. Cerullo, “Like working from home? Some companies say enough is enough,” CBS News, January 12, 2023,
  8. G. Tsipursky, “The Hybrid Work Revolution,” Psychology Today, January 8, 2023,