How to Transition From a Remote Work Model to In-Office

Stick to these tips and your transition from a remote work model to working from the office is sure to go as smoothly as possible

April 20, 2023
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How would you describe your job to a five year old?
What season would you be?
What is a weird food you have tried? Would you eat it again?
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Would you go in the mother-ship with aliens if they landed on Earth tomorrow?
What is your favorite season?
Do prefer working from home or the office?
What is your earliest memory of this job?
What is the best thing you have bought so far this year?
What is the earliest book you remember?
If you had to move to another country, which one would you choose?
You are the best criminal mastermind in the world. What crime would you commit if you knew you would get away with it?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
What was the last thing you ate?
What person from history would you add to Mount Rushmore?
What is a weird fact you know?
What is your favorite part of working from home?
Were the Spice Girls a good team?
Imagine you can instantly learn any language. Which would you choose?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Which fictional team is the best team of all time?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What do you usually eat for a quick lunch?
What simple food will you never eat?
Show us the weirdest thing you have in the room with you right now.
Would you rather stay at a hotel or an AirBNB?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
Are you more productive in the morning or at night?
Who is someone in your community that makes a difference?
Who was your most unique pet?
Choose one famous person from history you want on your team during a zombie apocalypse.
What is a good way to give back to the community?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
Is Hugh Grant funny?
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Would you want to have an imaginary friend today? Did you have one as a child?
What actor or actress would you want to play you in the movie about your life?
What is the best super power?
What is your New Years resolution?
You can only eat one food again for the rest of your life. What is it?
What is the best work holiday?
What is the first gift you remember receiving?
Would you rather join Metallica or Backstreet Boys?
What is the best example of a community you have seen?
What is an easy way to do something nice for someone?
Show us your phone background and tell the story behind why you picked this image.
What was your first job?
Pick any band to play at your funeral.
If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
Which superpower would you give to your arch enemy?
What is the most obscure superpower you would want?
What emoji best describes how you are feeling right now?
If you could live in any country, which country would you pick?
Would you rather live in a city or a town?
What is your favorite holiday?
What is something you accomplished as part of a team?
What is your standard office lunch?
What is your most used phone app?
What is your favorite season?
Have you ever won something as a team?
Imagine you are a professional baseball player. What is your introduction song?
Beach holiday or ski trip?
Have you ever been to a funny comedy show?
Would you rather live at the North Pole or the South Pole?
What is your favorite song to sing?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Imagine you could teleport anywhere. Where would you go right now?
What is the most unusual job you have heard of?
What was the last thing you ate?
You can visit any fictional time or place. Which would you pick?
What do your family and friends think you do all day?
What movie do you wish you could watch again for the first time?
Show us your most-used emoji.
What was the most unique style or fashion trend you ever embraced?
What movie defined your generation?
You are stranded on a remote desert island. Are you alone or with your worst enemy?
What is your favorite knock-knock joke?
Have you ever told someone Santa is not real?
Do you know how to speak more than one language?
On a scale of 1 – 10, how much of a team player are you?
What is your #1 recommendation in this city?
What is your favorite holiday?
What bucket list item do you most want to check off in the next six months?
What is your favorite mythical creature?
What was the first way you made money?
If you could be great at any Olympic sport, which would it be?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
When did you start liking/hating mushrooms?
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Do you take your PTO all at one time, or another way?
Which show do you remember most from your childhood?
Which beverage goes best with pizza?
Would you want to have a personal assistant follow you around everywhere and do what you asked of them?
Have you ever met your idol?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Would you rather live 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future?
What is your hobby?
When you are alone in the car, what volume is the music at?
Imagine you no longer have to work. How would you spend a Tuesday?
What is your favorite type of sandwich?

Mandating a return to the office is likely to be a hard sell in 2023. In fact, 56% of remote workers would look for a new job if their company asked them to return to the office.

So, it’s crucial to think carefully about how you’re going to approach bringing your teammates back into the office. Get it wrong and it could have serious repercussions for your engagement and turnover.

Stick to these tips and your transition from a remote work model to in-office is sure to go as smoothly as possible. 

Why do companies want employees back in the office?

While Elon Musk is leading the charge back to the office – recently telling Twitter employees that “the office is not optional” – he’s far from alone. In fact, 50% of businesses are following Musk’s lead and demanding their employees work in-office full time.

An email Apple CEO Tim Cook sent to all employees in June 2021 sums up why so many organizations are pushing to get their staff into the office: “Video conference calling has narrowed the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things it simply cannot replicate.”

The fact is: making sure your employees are feeling engaged and recognized is a lot harder when they’re not in the office. 

And working from home can be isolating, with 24% of people saying their biggest problem with remote work is loneliness. This can seriously affect your more extroverted teammates. 

Plus, not all work can be done to the same standard from home, with 45% of people thinking meetings with ten or more attendees are worse when done on video call rather than in-person.

How do I transition from remote to onsite work?

Planning on forcing a teammate who loves working from home back to the office without making any concessions? Then don’t be surprised if they don’t stay part of the team for long.

The transition back to office life will go a lot smoother if you follow these steps: 

Offer hybrid work

The Covid pandemic well and truly opened Pandora's box when it proved that very few people with a desk job need to work from an office. As a result, flexible working options are a must-have for a lot of employees – especially millennials and gen Z.

The fact is: hybrid working is a huge hit with most workers. In fact:

  • 59% of workers prefer a hybrid work model – compared to 32% who’d prefer to work exclusively remotely and just 9% who’d choose to work fully on-site.
  • The majority of workers would prefer to be in the office between one and three days a week.

And a hybrid work model can have a big impact on your business’s bottom line, too. Did you know:

  • 81% of hybrid employees are highly engaged? 
  • Hybrid workplaces have seen an average 12% reduction in employee turnover?
  • Companies can save up to $11,000 per employee when they work at least partly remotely?

Mandating that your employees all need to return to the office is one of the worst things you can do for your retention and engagement rates. And most organizations are well aware of that, with 91% of businesses planning on permanently allowing some kind of remote work.

If you don’t give your employees any choice at all in where they work from, you’re risking an exodus of your top talent – and a real struggle to become an employer of choice in your industry. So, unless you have no other choice, you should think carefully before mandating your staff come back to the office to spend nine-to-five behind a desk.

Make the office a place people want to come

Today, only 12% of people would choose to work from the office full time.

So, if you are going to mandate your staff back to the office, you need to make sure you’re making it worth their while. Otherwise you’ll seriously struggle to hold onto your top talent.

How willing your teammates will be to return to the office hinges on how strong your company culture is. If you haven’t laid the groundwork there it’s going to take some serious work to create a company culture mix that has your teammates excited to come back into the office full-time.

It’s crucial to remember here that company culture isn’t free fruit, a ping pong table in the breakout room, or beers on a Friday. While these are all thoughtful touches your teammates are sure to appreciate if you’ve got the groundwork in place, they’re not going to make much of a difference unless you’ve established a culture of employee engagement and appreciation.

Subsidize your teammates’ travel

You can’t buy your way toward a loved office culture.

But if you ask your remote employees to come back into the office, you’re essentially giving them a real-world pay cut by adding potentially thousands of dollars of travel costs onto their annual expenses.

Anything you can do to subsidize your employees’ travel costs can therefore go a long way to making the transition to in-office work a lot smoother. So, you might want to look into:

  • Providing them with a company car.
  • Contributing to their fuel costs.
  • Setting up a cycle to work scheme.
  • Covering some (or all) of their public transport costs.

Bake remote perks into office life

Even remote work’s biggest cheerleader would admit there are plenty of benefits to working in an office. Your employees can walk over to someone’s desk to catch up with them rather than having to schedule a Zoom call with them. They can bounce ideas off their teammates face-to-face. And they’ve always got someone to talk to about their plans for the weekend, making sure they don’t feel isolated.

You can help make the transition back to life in the office go as well as possible by complementing these perks with some of the benefits your employees have come to expect from remote working.

For example, a massive 77% of workers say they’re more productive when working remotely. If you can provide your people with a distraction-free environment when they’re working in-office then they’ll thank you for being able to get through their workweek faster. So, empower them to close their email, turn off Slack notifications for a few hours, and put earphones in to get their heads down and through some work.

One of the remote work perks most people will be saddest to let go of is the flexibility to work around their other commitments, appointments, and errands. In fact, a recent survey by McKinsey & Company revealed workplace flexibility is a top motivator for 40% of workers – just behind salary (41%) – with 26% citing a lack of flexibility as a major factor in why they quit their last role.

The transition from remote to onsite work will go a lot smoother if you still give your people the flexibility to plan their work week around their lives. The best approach here is to judge people’s performance by what they get done, not how long they spend in the office. Then you can leave it up to each employee’s discretion how they plan their work week to get everything on their to-do list done.

The final word

Demand that your staff commute to a physical office and sit glued to a desk from nine to five isn’t likely to go down well with them if they could just as easily be working from home.

So, if you’re going to mandate a return to the office, consider a hybrid work model, make sure you’ve got a strong company culture, consider subsidizing your teammates’ travel expenses, and don’t leave the perks of remote work completely behind.

Stick to those rules of thumb and your transition from remote working to working from the office is bound to go as smoothly as possible.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered