While remote working during the pandemic for the most part was successful and it illuminated new possible ways of working, it was largely seen as a temporary solution for most organizations. Once COVID-19 vaccines were available, guidelines changed and restrictions began to lift, office occupancy, a term used to describe an organization’s workforce structure – - a hybrid, remote, or in-office approach, increasingly became a top-of-mind concern for organization leaders and their employees. As the world slowly began to move past the pandemic, some organizations chose to remain fully remote or fully in-office, while most organizations implemented some sort of hybrid model. According to Forbes, a study conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans reported that 74% of employers now offer hybrid work arrangements. Many employees considered a hybrid model the best of both worlds, meaning it offers employee flexibility and greater work-life balance, attributes employees placed greater value on during the pandemic, while also offering opportunities for in-person connections by being back in-office. For many organizations, the hybrid approach was a feasible new alternative given that employees were generally happy, leading to better customer experience and overall better business outcomes. 

Now post-pandemic, the world has begun to normalize and some organizations are considering making changes (yet again) to their current office occupancy model. However, changes requiring employees to return to the office either full-time or some other arbitrary amount of time, are being met with employee reluctance, creating tension with leadership. Needless to say, implementing an office occupancy model whether it be remote, hybrid, or in-office, post-pandemic, brings with it challenges that organization leaders may not have previously considered. Some of these challenges are determining the right hybrid model combination (remote day vs in-office) to keep employees engaged and productivity healthy, which job roles will a hybrid or remote model be best suited for, and how to balance those that are required to be in-office full-time, and whether there are new roles or responsibilities for teams and individuals in a hybrid or remote model. To meet these challenges, Innovators among professional service providers have developed office occupancy strategies to help clients create the best office occupancy model that meets their specific needs and maximizes business outcomes.

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