As the pandemic slowly drifts away, employers are looking forward to bringing workers back in the office, however there are certain struggles outlined during the process!
Employees got used to the idea of working from home - the idea of leaving the convenience, productivity, flexibility and other benefits that remote-working offers, it can be hard to be let go.
Let’s review some of the ways to encourage employees back to the office!
What Surveys Say?
From a survey conducted by FlexJobs we know that different genders experience the WFH phenomenon (caused by the pandemic) in different ways. We know that in fact 69% of men and 65% of women are in agreement that “increased remote working policies will improve gender equality for women in the workplace”!
On the other hand, 26% of men and 17% of women felt that their professional skills have suffered during that period of time. BUT 20% of men and 13% of women think that remote working ruins the chances of promotion or advancement during their career progression!
This also sparked the question what will happen after the pandemic ends? Do we go back to the office only, or do we adopt a hybrid model and split our time between remote and the office? Since workers found that WFH can be possible, it causes a big problem between them and companies.
And here comes the other research from the aftermath:
If they are not allowed to continue to work remotely 52% of men will quit their job, while 60% of women will search for a new one. AND during the process 69% of men and surprisingly 80% of women stated that “remote-working options are one of the most important factors to consider while in the search”!
So, here are the results from Flexjobs workplace post-pandemic preferences:
What Can Employers Do?
Hybrid Working Model
By offering a hybrid working model you’re not pressuring them to give up their home comforts all at once (you’re making a slow transition) - start with bringing them 2-3 days in the office each week. Having this flexible work schedule you also form a positive employee experience.
Bring your remote work policy into action, because it will lay out the rules and expectations for both employees and managers of when it’s permissible to work from home, who you have to notify and if any workspaces need to be reserved when they come back.
As the Dropbox team have outlined their approach “virtual first” - remote working is a default experience, but teams still have to meet regularly in person at studio spaces convenient for them.
Here are some examples that can help you balance the hybrid model:
- Split the week between remote days and office days - if you see that this model benefits the productivity of your employees, keep doing it by ‘labeling’ which days of the week are from the office and which are WFH.
- Flex hours - by incorporating them you have a degree of flexibility when coming to work and this way you allow employees to avoid rush hours and also makes them spend more time with their family.
- Use remote work as a reward - it could be beneficial for workers with a certain experience level or be a temporary reward as a “job well done”.
Attractive Office and Culture
Do some ‘feng shui’, shake the traditional office a bit before inviting employees to come back into it! This could help with the transition and make the experience more enjoyable.
- Furniture - have your office be more comfortable and to inspire productivity - change the desks, get new chairs, have a designed break room that will bring the comfortability of their homes!
- Cleanliness - we know how the pandemic shifts us to having even more cleaner homes and offices, so it is important to show your employees that you care about their health and wellbeing, so ensure a more clean and upkeep environment.
- Perks - if you have a bigger group of employees that are commuting to work then find solutions to the parking space crisis!
If anything is more important in an office space environment, it is the culture!
Bringing back the culture you fought so hard to create will be a struggle but it’s also not impossible! Think about what brought your employees in the first place, go back to the roots and recreate it to fit the new expectations of employees.
If you still struggle having the majority of your employees to come back, then go to more modernised ways - get returned employees to share their experience of coming back to the office. During catch-up calls let them express their view of what is so great about coming back, you never know, it might inspire others to come back!
Create A Value Proposition
According to a research by Gallup, companies planning to bring back employees are advised to have a workplace value proposition document of ‘why to come to work’! In there you can highlight the culture, the positive interactions between colleagues and the benefits of coming back and working together like before, by addressing the following 4 key areas:
- Connection - how to connect professionally and personally with others and what plans to provide opportunities for structured and unstructured time to engage!
- Collaboration - how to collaborate more effectively - boosting productivity and sustaining the trust that are crucial elements during a hybrid model. Schedule tasks according to team collaboration (in-office) and individual ones (from home).
- Creativity - how can employees become more creative and how will the company capture it? Brainstorming is more efficient when people are together - there are more ideas and have better creative solutions. Have them take informal breaks and let them meet more formally to discuss challenges and ideas.
- Culture - company culture post-covid rebuilt by redefining what makes the culture unique in the first place - how can it be re-created.
In the end have a little bit of compassion!
The past 18 month took a huge turn on people’s mental health and lifestyle, therefore, “compassion, flexibility and support shown by companies in 2020 plays a large role in job satisfaction” and most importantly “companies must continue this support if they want to maintain this upward trend”.