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Surprise! In-Person Work Is Preferred by Many

in-person work

These days, employers are hesitant to require in-person work from employees, fearing resistance and backlash. However, recent studies are reframing the issue. Could it be that a significant portion of your workforce—and potential workforce—are craving a return to the office, too?

Job Seekers Want to Interview Face-to-Face

Job seekers, in particular, want to meet in person. The American Staffing Association recently discovered that 70% of U.S. workers prefer in-person office work or job interviews. In comparison, 17% favor video calls, and only 9% prefer audio-only calls.

“Face-to-face interviews give both parties a chance to pick up on non-verbal cues and make a more impactful connection,” says The HT Group Vice President, Staffing & Professional Services Stephanie Biddy.

Deep into the pandemic, more than 80% of talent professionals agreed that virtual recruiting is here to stay, with seven out of 10 calling it the new hiring standard. But it’s not the only way. As with work, a hybrid approach to interviews should be considered.  

“Many recruiters will suggest that you start with calls and video interviewing and then move into in-person interviews further along in the process. That can work, but, in certain situations, having your outside recruiting firm conduct early-stage staffing interviews and assessments in person can work even better because it can help mitigate risk and save time and resources for employers,” Biddy explains.

New Grads Prefer In-Person Office Work

What about young professionals? Indeed, they prefer remote over in-person work, right? As it turns out, no. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that 51% of recent college graduates want to work in person (42% prefer a hybrid arrangement, and only 7% want to work exclusively in a virtual environment).

“Coming off the pandemic, class of 2023 college graduates are keenly aware of the value of personal interaction, especially since operating virtually was the norm for a sustained period of time,” said Shawn VanDerziel, executive director at NACE.

Axios asked young workers what exactly it is about in-person work that they crave. A whopping 74% said it was an office community, while 41% feared missing out on mentoring opportunities.

Hybrid is Still King

Gartner forecasts that 51% of U.S. knowledge workers will work under hybrid arrangements by the end of 2023, and 20% will be fully remote. Where hybrid makes sense, it’s still a popular solution. A win-win, right? Not necessarily. As we reported in November, more than 80% of H.R. executives felt hybrid work is exhausting for employees. They also overwhelmingly felt that hybrid work is more emotionally draining and taxing than fully remote and—perhaps shockingly—full-time office-based work.

What gives? Too often, hybrid arrangements are poorly administered. Broken promises to fully remote workers, a lack of boundaries for those working at home, miscommunication, and a breakdown of work culture and opportunities for meaningful connections can all lead to disaster. We offer tips to counteract that here.

Considering these new studies, we’ll add: Don’t assume your workers or job candidates dislike or are only willing to tolerate in-person office work and face-to-face interactions. Many are seeking it out. Striking a balance between remote and in-person is essential for attracting and keeping top talent.