We've noticed the start of what maybe a new trend.
There's been no argument that saving on a daily commute has been the number one benefit to employees in 2021, and extrapolating that, a strong reason why they do not want to return.
Every data collection we carried out in 2020/21 showed this. However, in August 2022 it fell into second place, with flexibility of schedule being of primary benefit.
Attitudes may have changed.
People are becoming more confident that their employer will eventually formalise some form of hybrid or remote working.
Which means they won't have to commute daily. The fear of the daily commute has subsided.
In our recent work we've been asking employees to rank the determining factors in choosing a working location in a hybrid world.
Naturally, with the evidence of 2020/21 and the current cost of living challenges, we expected "Proximity to Home" to rank very high.
But no, we were surprised to learn that "Collaboration" was top of the list, and "Cross Functional Team Mates" was second, followed by "Quiet Space" then “Direct Team Mates.”
"Proximity to home" - a shorter commute, was way down the list in fifth place, after "Improved Technical Facilities".
There is no doubt that some of this is influenced by the memory of the pre-pandemic experience of the existing workplace.
But maybe what we are seeing now is the inconvenience of a less frequent commute, being outweighed by the benefit of our human need to feel part of something, a tribe maybe, to be around others and to be connected in person.
Has the pendulum started to swing the other way?
We shall see.