The biggest barrier to returning to a hybrid workplace, and how to break it down

When answering surveys, the vast majority of workers prefer some level of hybrid working over being fully remote. Yet for many credit unions, returning to the office ends up being a difficult ask.

Where’s the disconnect?

The biggest barrier to an effective return to office is often a lack of a sense of purpose.

How many employees returned to their desks only to sit on Zoom most of the day? How many showed up for the human interactions and collaboration only to sit alone?

Working in the office at least a few days a week has clear benefits for both employees and organizations. Yet delivering on these benefits depends on a lot more than butts in seats.

Try to step back and look at the workplace like your branch network.

Routine transactions can easily be done from your members’ home online, but to truly thrive and grow you need to leverage the human interactions that differentiate yourself from the competition. You likely don’t have the best mortgage rate, but your members come to you because of the relationships they’ve built with the people who represent your credit union. Future growth and success relies on your ability to give members a reason to come into the branch.

In-person work can drive innovation, passion, higher productivity, and a sense of connection, but you have to give employees a reason to come into the office whether that return is mandatory or not.

The one thing you can do right away is to ensure that they will have access to their peers and opportunities to work and collaborate in-person. This could be policies or scheduling tools to coordinate in-office days and maximize the potential for human interaction.

Building on this, you can develop a long-term strategy around the question “What is the purpose of the workplace?” As you work to answer this question, you can develop a better understanding of not only what work needs to be done in the office but also how your physical workplace can better support your employees and the work they do.

We’ve surveyed over 1,200 credit union employees in an attempt to better understand how they can be supported by their workplace, and published the results in a whitepaper.

What our research revealed is that there is a major disconnect between how employees do their work and how their workplace supports them.

Whether it’s the comfort of their workplace and the temperature of their environment, being isolated when their role is collaborative, or not having a place to quietly focus on work, there are many areas where workplaces break down in their support of employees.

Finding and addressing these issues can have a major impact on your employees’ ability to find a sense of purpose in the office and feel that your credit union has truly earned their commute.

Hybrid working may not be for every organization, but at the end of the day every credit union can benefit greatly from a purpose-driven workplace.


Want to take a deep dive into this topic? Check out our recent whitepaper “The New Hybrid Credit Union Workplace” published in partnership with The Filene Research Institute at

Interested in learning more about how you can develop a high-performing workplace? Reach out to Momentum today and we’ll help you assess your workplace!

Jay Speidell

Jay Speidell

Jay Speidell is the Marketing Manager at Momentum, a strategic design-build partner that takes a people centric approach to helping credit unions across the nation thrive. Web: Details