Written by Mimi Village

Create ‘commute-worthy’ experiences

17th June, 2024   •  

With hybrid and remote working options now the norm and ‘return to the office’ on the rise, how can we make working spaces justify the commute? 

Nearly 40% of remote workers feel disconnected, leading to lower engagement and higher turnover. Finding a compelling reason to commute not only combats “quiet quitting” but also boosts morale and productivity.

Whether it’s one day a week or five, shifting behaviour away from fully remote working post-pandemic can be a challenge.

So how can we re-energise and inspire people to come back into the office, making days spent in-person with colleagues a destination for innovation, collaboration and fun.

Are your office days worth the commute?



Why create ‘commute-worthy’ experiences?


  1. Enhance retention and combat quiet quitting


In a world of ‘squiggly careers’ with people changing jobs more frequently, and 25% of workers being remote, keeping team members motivated and driven by their contribution to their organisation is vital to avoid “quiet quitting”. 

Quiet quitting is the practice of doing only the minimum required tasks of a job, without extra effort or engagement, as a form of disengagement from the work environment

This phenomenon can stem from a lack of face-to-face interactions, diminishing the sense of belonging and connection to the organisation. Essentially, employees who feel disconnected are more likely to be less productive and, eventually, quit. 

Reinvigorating the office environment can foster a stronger sense of community, belonging and re-motivate employees before they become completely disengaged. 


  1. Boost collaboration and innovation


Ever spoken with a colleague from the other side of the business over lunch, and discovered a creative solution to a problem? Maybe you’ve asked a colleague to look over some work, just by being in close proximity, and they had an interesting fresh perspective to offer? 

A recent study found 75% of innovations come from informal, spontaneous meetings. Casual conversations and chance meetings in the workplace can be a great way to collaborate in new ways and get creative juices flowing. 

And 87% of employees feel more connected and engaged with their teams when they work in person. Having dedicated spaces for relationship building and promoting psychological safety can help teams to communicate openly and effectively, driving collaboration and counteracting ‘quiet quitting’.


  1. Improve wellbeing


Overall wellbeing (including physical, mental, emotional and social health factors)  is now as low now as it was during the first year of the pandemic (2020). While there are many factors that contribute to this, one of the key drivers is loneliness. 11% of UK employees always feel lonely at work, and nearly 50% feel lonely at least some of the time. 

The office space can be a great opportunity to boost social connection and build closer relationships, which can help reduce this loneliness and improve employee well-being. 

So how can we create a supportive, socially enriching and exciting office atmosphere worth the commute? 




How to create ‘commute-worthy’ experiences


1. Motivate your team based on individual needs


In all contexts, motivating individuals based on their personal drivers is crucial to ensure well-being, boost productivity and grow relationships across the organisation.

This remains especially true when considering how to approach your working policy and encouraging team members to come into the office.

For example, you may assume a parent of young children would value more flexible work from home when in fact it’s possible they have had a couple of years out of work and want more in-person interactions to support their development and return to the work environment. 

Whether your working policy is fixed or flexible, it’s important to understand the unique circumstances and preferences of your team so that any days in the office are as valuable as possible.

The alignment jigsaw is a coaching tool to help you avoid making assumptions, integrate what motivates your team both individually and at the collective level, and align with the wider business strategy.

How to use the alignment jigsaw:

  1. Use in a one-to-one setting: outline the tool’s purpose—to understand and align working preferences and motivators. Applicable to multiple wider contexts, one of which is aligning priorities around coming into the office
  2. Work through each piece of the jigsaw, filling out what motivations and needs go in each section: 


Some broad examples of what might sit in each category: 

  • Short-term individual needs and preferences: Flexible work hours, immediate feedback, task completion
  • Long-term individual goals: Career advancement, skill development, personal aspirations: 
  • Short-term collective goals: Meeting deadlines, team collaboration, project completion
  • Long-term collective goals: Strategic projects, innovation, building team culture.


It is also valuable to spend time building this out and adding specifics:

  • For example, within long-term individual goals what are some examples of skills you want to develop? eg: ‘Develop presentation skills to present ideas in our company wide town-hall at the end of the year’.
  • For short term individual goals, why is flexible work a priority? What are the deeper motivations that sit behind that? 


      3. Follow-up

  • Coach through potential discrepancies e.g “How can we balance your preferences with team needs?” 
  • Set actions and expectations around in-office (coming to next) 


The purpose of working through this together is that any disparities between the individual and collective needs can be uncovered and discussed. This tool and jigsaw analogy helps visualise how the different pieces of the collective, individual, short term and long term needs fit together and feed into each other. 

For example the individual might have a preference for fully remote work but by seeing the collective benefit of coming into the office (community / enhanced collaboration to better meet business needs) they can more easily be aligned to the needs of the collective.

As a manager you will also be in a better position to motivate your team and cater to their needs. This also builds trust with our team and helps them understand different perspectives, enhancing mutual clarity. 

For those who have influence over the work-from-home policy, this tool can be a great starting point to assess personal and team needs.

2. Define your communication rhythm and expectations

To help engage your team and encourage working in the office, it is important to be intentional about the time spent in the office. 

HubSpot (software analytics platform) faced declining in-office attendance due to the shift to remote work. To counter this, they established a clear communication rhythm involving weekly team syncs and monthly all-hands meetings held in the office, complemented by real-time project dashboards and shared calendars. This clarified in-office expectations, ensured timely project updates, and facilitated better planning for in-person collaboration. As a result, HubSpot saw a 40% increase in in-office attendance on sync days, with employees reporting a clearer understanding of when and why to be in the office, leading to more effective and engaging in-person interactions.

As a leader, this ‘communication rhythm’ can be defined as the different touchpoints that we have with our team to help regularly communicate expectations and increase alignment as part of our working rhythm. 

Priorities of individuals shift over time, so it is important to create regular opportunities to ensure you’re adapting to the evolving needs of the team.

Here is an example of what a communication rhythm can look like:

We can use knowledge of our team’s motivations to effectively communicate the WHY when sharing expectations around our communication rhythm and days spent in the office. 

Linking back to the individual’s personal motivators creates ‘emotional resonance’,  by engaging feelings and values they are much more likely to be receptive and buy-in to the decision or policy. Simon Sinek does a brilliant TED Talk on the importance of starting with the ‘why’. 

Establishing a clear and defined around when you’re having these conversations is important as leaders to hold ourselves accountable and maintain transparency across our teams, building trust and mutual understanding. 


How to  develop your communication rhythm

Move through these prompts to build out a rhythm and plan

  • What are the different touch-points with my team?
  • What is their purpose?
  • How regularly am I having them? 
  • Is this too much or too little?
  • Have I communicated expectations with my team around them?
  • Any that could be improved/ have more focus on?




3. Build ‘blockbuster’ experiences 

When a new film comes out, what is it that drives you to go all the way to the cinema when you could watch it from the comfort of your own home? 

The experience.

For many, work can quite easily be completed from home, how can we reimagine the physical workplace to make in-office experiences valuable? How can we make it a ‘blockbuster experience’?

The digital communication platform Slack, like many businesses in the current climate, was facing low in-office attendance and a decrease in morale. Employees had grown accustomed to the flexibility of working from home, and the company needed to make coming into the office a more appealing option. 

They introduced “Together Thursdays,” featuring themed in-person workdays with activities like networking breakfasts, skill-sharing workshops, team brainstorming sessions, and leadership Q&As. This initiative led to a 45% increase in office attendance, with 80% of employees looking forward to these days. The varied activities enhanced collaboration, strengthened team relationships, and improved job satisfaction by 78%.

Follow the steps below to build these experiences. Instead of only serving as a place to work, make the office a space for collaboration, creativity, and community. 

1. Map ‘blockbuster’ activities 

    • Source specific activities that would cater to each motivator (uncovered from the alignment jigsaw, for example): 

2. Schedule into your communication rhythm

    • Think about how often and regularly these ‘blockbuster’ events will occur, refer back to your communication rhythm. Could you use this as a rough template for your weekly team days? Is it more relevant to have blockbuster days once a month or quarterly? 
    • Then schedule out these in-office days. This template can be flexible or fixed, detailed or high level, and team or leader created, as appropriate for your organisation
    • For example:

3. Promote 

    • This is to generate awareness and excitement around the office day or event
    • ‘Promotion’ could be as simple as a shared agenda or email to generate excitement around a weekly team meeting
    • For bigger office day ‘events’ create a plan to encourage attendance and build anticipation, for example:

4. Create opportunities for recognition and celebration of successes

    • Vary the form of recognition based on individual preferences (eg: recognition in meetings, team awards, small rewards for participation)
    • Celebrate cultural and personal events (eg: a short quiz on Eid during a team meeting)


5. Evaluate and adjust 

    • Measure the success of the day through: 
      • Attendance
      • Feedback scores (from an internal survey)
      • Discussion
      • Level of engagement 
    • Make appropriate adjustments and continual improvements for following ‘blockbuster’ days




In an increasingly digitally-driven world, making in-person interactions valuable is important to help increase collaboration, boost innovation and avoid the ‘quiet quitting’ phenomenon.

To create ‘commute-worthy’ office time we need to: 

  1. Understand the personal motivators and needs of individuals and how that integrates with the team and wider business
  2. Communicate expectations around coming into the office and encourage transparency
  3. Create ‘blockbuster’ experiences that combine personal and company motivations, making office time valuable

If you’re interested in finding out more about creating commute-worthy experiences get in touch through our website.