Data from the latest Microsoft Work Trend Index reveals that employees need a compelling reason to come back to the office – with 73% of them saying they need a better reason than simply company expectations.

In fact, the overwhelming majority of employees agree that the key motivator to getting them back to the office is the social aspect. Nearly nine out of ten (85%) of employees said they would be motivated to go into the office to rebuild team bonds and 84% would go in if they could socialise with co-workers.

In addition, nearly three quarters (74%) said they would go into the office more frequently if they knew their ‘work friends’ were there and 73% said they would go in if their direct team members were there.

People like people. For some, their co-workers are one of the main perks – if not the main perk – of their job. The socialisation, connection and friendship can greatly enrich the workplace for employees. We’ve heard many stories from businesses we work with of how great it was to reunite face-to-face with colleagues post-pandemic; for many, they had forgotten how good it felt to connect in that way.

It’s clear from this latest data that workplaces should be doing everything they can to help facilitate these connections, which so often take place in and around the workplace hospitality areas. Whether it’s over a coffee, a shared lunch, a more formal gathering in a meeting room – hospitality naturally unites colleagues.

Which is why so many businesses are reviewing their hospitality facilities, and ensuring they are appealing places to be. For example, is there a menu that caters for the varying dietary tastes that are commonplace today? Can employees pre-order items so they don’t run the risk of their favourite lunch item being sold out? Can they pay quickly and easily? Are queues kept to a minimum; or, better yet, completely eradicated?

High street competition has never been so rife; particularly given the rise in food ordering apps which makes it incredibly easy for employees to order food from local eateries and get it delivered direct to the office. Employees have a wealth of options quite literally at their fingertips.

For businesses, it’s good news that their employees want to come back to the office and reunite with their work friends and team members. It’s an opportunity to create really appealing hospitality spaces in the workplace for these connections to be fostered and equally drive revenue from food and drink purchases.

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