Return to Office: Is It “Wheels Up” for the Office Technology Industry?

Supply chain, inflation, and labor problems have generated winds that kept our industry on the ground.

But today is a new day. After over two years of adversity and a seismic shift in working environments, is it finally a “wheels up” moment for the office technology industry?

Return-to-office trends

Since October of 2020, we’ve been tracking opinions of business leaders on remote work, hybrid work, and office work across a number of industries and more than 5000 survey participants. While slower than many expected, sentiment is moving toward office work.

% employees fully remote chart

Since the start of the pandemic, fewer employees are working fully remotely, and the rate of return to office is accelerating. But it’s also important to note that the shift to more remote and hybrid work was clearly in progress prior to the pandemic. In 2019, remote work averaged 19%, up from 11% in 2016. 

So, given those trends, what industries are most aggressively moving into office? 

chart showing % remote employees by industry

In this analysis, we find that while nearly all industries are moving toward more in-office experiences, financial services, government, professional services, and technology industry businesses are leading the way.

What does it all mean and what should you consider doing about it?

First, the data in these charts can point you toward industries where return-to-office shifts are most aggressive. Build a targeted marketing effort, a sales calling strategy, a “vertical market” expertise, or a product/financing offer to take advantage of these opportunities.

Here’s a key number to note as you develop your strategy to win this business: 76% of respondents reported unexpected office technology issues as employees returned to the office. This is not a service pain point as much as an opportunity to proactively sell solutions. Because many of these businesses have forgotten how to manage the in-office technology experience, there’s an opportunity to increase your value-add by offering to consult on their planning and provide resources like best practices to help them navigate the shift.

Finally, remember that while the overall trend shows that more people will be in the office more often, hybrid work is here to stay, requiring new thinking, big ideas, and fresh approaches. All those shifts create opportunity for your team to offer value with your solutions—driving sales opportunities to a cruising altitude we’ve not seen in years. 

LEAF Managing Director Nick Capparelli has been with the company since its beginning in 2011. He has also held leadership positions at LFC, Fidelity Leasing, Tokai Financial Services, and Master Lease. An industry veteran and thought leader with more than 25 years of experience, Capparelli is a graduate of Northeastern University.