Regarding the desire to get back into the office in general and regarding candidate expectations specifically, from our end we are seeing 3 things:
Those who are early in the career see much less of a need to go back to the office. They can get whatever needs to get done from home. In terms of building relationships, there is a high degree of comfort around building those relationships via Zoom/Teams etc. with some occasional formal interaction face to face.
Those who are deeper into their career and who are focused on the value of building face to face relationships are more inclined towards a hybrid schedule, but not with excessive time (I know “excessive” is a subjective idea) in the office if they can avoid it. They’d still like to be around for dinner and spend some time with their loved ones. They are happy to jump on a video chat before or after dinner. Some have no desire to go back to work in an urban setting (NYC for example) and if the hybrid schedule starts to lean a bit too much towards work at the office, they are inclined to look elsewhere for an employer who can accommodate.
Those who are a more senior in their career have one of two mindsets: they either really want to get back into the office where 5 days a week is ideal, or they want to get back into the office, but they recognize that the market is demanding a hybrid schedule. They also recognize that all the productivity they were used to from their team over the last year and a half, may suddenly fall off when the Zoom/Teams time becomes eaten away by commute time.
In the end, the market is demanding hybrid, and it is here to stay.
Here’s a good Forbes article which talks to this topic and quotes Rob Falzone of Prudential who describes the current state of back to work: