When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, companies began making the switch to remote work. This allowed many people to stay in the comfort of their own homes and still earn their paychecks. Now, almost 2 years later, companies want their employees back in the office to rebuild the sense of shared culture they once had. This article explores the employee’s perspective while offering great solutions you can take so your employees want to come back.
1. Make the office a comfortable workspace.
Let’s face it, after all this time working from home, employees havesettled into the perfect desk setup. Why would anyone want to make the commute to the office when the office doesn’t supply what they need to be productive? Creating designated spaces for each employee is crucial to attracting them back to the office. Not only should each worker have their own workspace, but also everything they need to get work done. At home, many employees have everything they need from monitors, keyboards, docking stations, and headsets. When they come into the office, they should have everything needed so they don’t find themselves regretting the commute for the day. Taking the time to assess what they need to comfortably do their job in the office could encourage them to choose to come more frequently.
2. Create a hybrid workspace
It’s important to understand the employee’s perspective when wanting them back in the office. Employees enjoy working from home, the last thing needed is making a commute because they feel as if their boss is making them. Giving employees the choice to commute will motivate them to come in because it is not forced but voluntary.
“What we really found was that people were not looking for balance per se… They were looking for flexibility.” says Jim Zelter, co-president of Apollo Global Management. Remote employees do not want to feel as if going into the office is another thing on their lengthy to-do list. Take the time to find out what would make them more comfortable coming into the office and make that change. A hot lunch and a cozy chair can make a world of difference for an employee who needs an extra push. Also, making changes does not mean employees will come back, some people simply just want to work from home.
Yet, even at companies that preach flexibility, employers are having to address workers’ fears that their attendance is being tracked. Employees feeling forced into the office could lead to discomfort with their employer and unproductivity in their work. Giving employees the autonomy to choose when and where they work will create a healthy, happy environment.
3. Offer compensation for a long commute.
Gas prices, traffic, and construction are just a few of the things preventing employees from getting in their car, starting the engine, and making that long commute to the office. Rani Molla, a former reporter at The Wall Street Journal says, “People go into the office to see other people but then do not see those people, so they stop going into the office as much”. People enjoy seeing their coworkers at work, but as gas prices rise, it is becoming less common for them to commute, so they stop going to work altogether. At the end of the day, you don’t want just one or two people making the choice to come in a couple of days a week; you want your company collectively to want to come in. Molla also states, “Many others moved farther from the office during the pandemic, making the commute harder”. If it is in the budget and a top priority, offering a bit of mileage may just be the nudge they need.
4. Provide a meal
When getting up early, putting on business attire, and creating the headspace to see a bunch of coworkers again, most employees are not thinking about packing lunch. Offering lunch is an easy incentive to come into the office, while also offering time for employees to catch up and rebuild the culture your company once lacked.
If your company is large and a weekly meal is out of the question, another great option is to offer snacks. This can be as simple as loading up a snack cart in the break room and popping a case of sodas in the fridge. Employees feel more inclined to come in when they know there are options if they get hungry. Employees should not feel as if they need to bring along all their favorite treats from home. An effortless way to find out what a team may want is by making a grocery list in the break room, or even sending out a poll in the office group chat. Picking out employee’s personal favorite treats is a sure way to make them comfortable coming into the office.
5. Celebrate your employees!
This can be as simple as remembering their birthday, work anniversary, congratulating a new marriage, or welcoming a baby. When your employee feels cared about, they gain a sense of appreciation for not just their company, but their coworkers and bosses. The way you can celebrate your team is by having everyone sign a card for their birthday and grabbing their favorite cake for the office to share. Celebrating your employee’s work anniversary in front of everyone so that they can hear “congratulations” all day. The bottom line is that everyone wants to feel appreciated, and sometimes it takes the boss himself to make a difference in an employee’s workday.
Now you have five practical things you can do to get your employees wanting to be back in the office. With just a few slight changes you are going to regain that sense of culture you once had, and never lose it again! Want more office insight? Check back here monthly for the newest article and stay up to date by following us on social media!