As vaccinations continue to be rolled out and offices start to open up, it’s no longer an abstract question of when life will go back to normal but now actually having a specific date on the calendar to plan for. According to a poll conducted by Gartner earlier this year, 69 per cent of mid-size companies plan on reopening their offices in the second half of 2021.
While some people are counting the days until they can return to the workplace, they seem to be in the minority. In fact, several surveys have found that as many as one in three workers value the flexibility and safety of remote work say much they would be happy never to step foot inside their office again.
While there are perks to working remotely, going back to the office comes with benefits like increased collaboration, less loneliness and clearer boundaries between work and home life. So, what can you do to make the transition easier? We round up the three things you have to do if you want to incentivize workers to come back in to the office.
Many employees still harbour concerns about how safe the workplace will be, and for good reason – a large number of companies simply aren’t doing enough to maintain transparency and ease employee concerns about the safety measures they have in place. This failure to communicate clearly can have a big impact on morale, culture and talent retention.
Business leaders should announce any reopening plans well in advance of the actual date itself, and establish open communication channels so employees can also voice their concerns. During this difficult time, many people are seeking guidance or reassurance, so being honest and transparent goes a long way to show that employee health and safety is your top priority.
One thing to avoid here is threatening your employees, no matter how subtly you think you’re being! When business leaders expound the virtues of the office rather than focus on actual employee concerns, they can come across as highly insensitive.
Company perks remain a huge opportunity for most companies to attract employees. In fact, a survey by grocery-delivery service Peapod found that 48 per cent of employees would take company benefits, such as snacks provision, into consideration when looking for a job. Take some time to discover the preferences and challenges your workforce face to pick the best perks to get your workers back into the office! Here are a few different options you can consider:
This step requires significantly more effort than our other two, but taking stock of your workspace design and creating an office that people would feel safe in and enjoy spending time in is one of the most effective ways to get your employees motivated to return. The workers coming back into the office have different expectations now they’ve worked from home for the best part of a year so your workspace should reflect that too.
If flexible work is set to remain a part of your working model, you might want to consider scrapping the fixed desks and creating coworking spaces that can be shared. Another aspect of this is to review just how ‘COVID-friendly’ your office is. Are people spaced out enough? Are there sufficient hand sanitizers and face masks available? Once people feel safe and comfortable about being in the office, they’ll be more likely to return.
Have you got any other tips? Let us know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org! We'd love to hear them.