Back in 2020 (which feels like ages ago), the world went upside down. The global economy, traditional workforce, and social life as we know it experienced major disruption due to the pandemic and lengthy lockdowns. The world adapted and got used to a new normal. Until now when many companies decided to bring their employees back to the office.
How does it affect the workforce and what can companies do to incentivize their teams to get back onsite?
Employees resist another change
Back in 2020, when people were forced to set up a home office, home school, daycare, gym, and all the other aspects of their lives in one limited space, many of us experienced frustration and even grief. Such major and sudden transitions are not easy for the human psyche to process. But three years is a long enough time to adapt. The home transformations were made to accommodate the new lifestyle. And after the worry and frustration died down, many people have come to appreciate the convenience of working from home.
Now, put under pressure by their employers to return to the office, people find themselves frustrated once again. According to Gallup 2022 research, only 6% of remote-capable workers want to get back to work entirely on-site, and just over 50% are happy to compromise with a hybrid work arrangement.
What can employers do to bring people back to the office?
Employers are put in a challenging situation. Many companies that follow the traditional work-at-the-office model prefer to have teams on-site. Now that the national emergency has been officially lifted, it makes perfect sense to bring everyone back. But it is clear that the traditional system has to evolve, and companies are experimenting with different settings to keep their employees happy and productive.
Here are a few ways to incentivize your teams to return to the office:
- Consider a hybrid system. To make the transition easier, allow your employees to work from home for part of the week. After all, they went to a great extent to set up a productive workspace at home when the company needed them to do it.
- Pay more attention to work-life balance. Understanding that our work lives and home lives clashed during the pandemic like never before is very important. Not only the physical spaces had to be rearranged but the mental spaces, too. Consider giving your employees branded yoga mats and durable drinkware instead of stationary to let them know that you care about their well-being inside and outside the office.
- Allow for flexibility. Letting your employees be mobile and work on the go as they need to is another way to show your appreciation and build a deeper connection with them. Gifts that encourage productivity on the go, like backpacks, mobile gadgets, and personalized notebooks, are a great way to incentivize their loyalty.
Create a fluid workplace. With a hybrid work system, it doesn’t make much sense to keep the assigned cubicles and personal offices. Consider transforming your environment into a space where anyone can find a comfortable place to work whenever they come to the office. Available desks and conference rooms equipped with everything necessary for a productive day, like branded stationery, chargers, and headphones, will help your employees eliminate the stress of forgetting something at home.
These are just a few ways to create a smooth transition back to the office and help your teams keep happy and productive.