For workers returning to some pattern of the morning commute, the new routine will bring joy, anxiety or a mix of the two.
Around 60% of Americans indicate that some aspect of their day will change again as they undergo the reentry process, according to a recent Ipsos survey. Routines will be disrupted and rebuilt, but many will often have hybrid routines—one for in-office days and one for work-from-home days. From appearance to meals to safety to time management, consumers are evaluating priorities and how best to meet their evolving needs—and which brands and services they will turn to for support.
Even before we return to the office, we will evaluate our wardrobe. Will our old work clothes still fit, not only in size, but also with evolving views on comfort versus professionalism? Retailers and brands can help workers solve for these competing priorities.
Nearly one in five (17%) consumers expects their morning beauty and grooming routines to change. That change will start as they evaluate what will be most important when it comes to their appearance. Will the DIY skills they developed this past year be good enough for more direct contact with others? Will saving time and money by continuing to DIY be more important than the results and experience we would get when using professional services? Brands will want to be top-of-mind as people establish routines, and they should consider messaging around saving time and money while achieving a desired look.
What about meals? How will we choreograph breakfast, packing our backpacks and work gear, and getting out the door on time for in-office days? How will we manage lunches? Will we take leftovers, look for single-serve meal options, or increase our use of takeout? When and where will we snack, and where will we buy those snacks? Retailers and food manufacturers should provide on-the-go options and support consumers with fast, easy and healthful meal ideas that not only feed the family, but also allow for taking leftovers that can be easily consumed at the office.
The return to the office is an important stress test for the future of hybrid work. Brands have the opportunity to connect with consumers to establish their place as helpers as workers establish new routines.