In the past year, the majority of the workforce has been forced into a work-from-home model. This was a transition that few were prepared for, and it was not an easy one. But, one year later, many professionals have become accustomed to this work style and are hesitant to return to the office.
Even so, businesses swallowed significant costs in attempt to keep their empty office spaces functional, so it is understandable that they are hoping to bring team members back into the office. So, how do employers convince their employees to come back into the office if they would instead work from home? Fortunately, there are a few ways to encourage in-office collaboration and promote the office as a place that employees want to be. With a successful return to work plan, based on trust and mutual understanding, you can provide your employees with a work environment that appeals to them and has them excited to return to the office.
Offer Hybrid Work
One of the most significant advantages of working from home was the flexibility it offered. Employees enjoyed working more flexible hours, taking breaks as needed, and managing work according to their own schedule. A significant concern surrounding returning to work is that this flexibility will be lost. For this reason, an excellent way to encourage employees to return to the office is by continuing to offer this flexibility. Companies have already proven that remote work is feasible – so why should it stop?
Offering a hybrid work model allows employees to work both remotely and in the office, providing them the best of both worlds. Working from home provides perks such as flexibility, autonomy, and a better work-life balance. On the other hand, it can lead to a reduction in trust among colleagues and a lack of company culture. With hybrid work, employees can reap the benefits of both WFH and in-office. Already, 77% of companies report that they have implemented a hybrid work model for just this reason.
Taking it one step further, you can offer a hybrid work week. This allows employees to change where they work on a given day. A few days a week, an employee can work remotely, while the remaining days they work in the office. This permits employees the flexibility of remote work while still bringing them into the office to build relationships with colleagues and collaborate. Employees will receive the benefits of working face-to-face with team members while maintaining the perks of working remotely.
Increase Employee Autonomy
Hand-in-hand with flexibility is autonomy. Over the past year, professionals have grown accustomed to following a routine of entirely their own. Individuals had complete ownership over their own schedule, work environment, work processes, and even dress code. Working virtually gave them more freedom to manage their own workday however they pleased. Now, as the return to the office is an impending transition, professionals are not eager to lose this autonomy: the desire to direct their own lives. While this can be challenging to offer in an office fixed with guidelines, it is possible to provide a fraction of autonomy.
By implementing an activity-based workplace, employees can choose between several desk and room options to use based upon their preferences and activities. This enables employees the freedom to choose their work setting, allowing them a similar autonomy to when working from home. Even better, with a desk booking solution, this is made easy. Desk booking software enables users to select a desk or room from available options and book it for their use. With this software, employees can seamlessly book their desired workspace, equipped with accommodations in the environment that fits their needs. This solution is excellent for boosting productivity and job satisfaction as well, as users can choose the area that they feel more comfortable and productive in. Furthermore, the software will eliminate any conflicts over workstations, so no two users will be seated at the same desk.
Equip the Office with Employee-Centric Technology
Another excellent source of encouragement for returning to the office is through technology-driven experiences. Throughout the pandemic, employees have grown even more reliant on technology than before. As a consequence, returning to an office full of lagging and antiquated technology does not seem appealing. This also isn't sustainable if you offer hybrid work where employees rely on your network and technology to communicate.
Equipping your office with employee-centric technology is a must in today's world, especially If you are hoping to bring your employees back into the office. With employee-centric technology, employees will be able to work effectively and be glad to have access to such tools in the office. Pairing mobile tools with an employee-focused approach is key to optimizing your office and ensuring employee satisfaction. These tools may include an upgraded telecommunication system, faster network speed, and more accessible data storage and sharing. Additionally, be sure that there is strong connectivity between workplace tools. There is nothing more frustrating than software that doesn’t connect to workplace systems and apps, so this is a must.
Adapt to the Post-Pandemic Workplace
Finally, when bringing employees back to the office, you must understand that things will be different. After all, we're living in a different world post-pandemic. As things change, you need to adjust your space and resources accordingly. Workplace analytics can be beneficial in anticipating these changes, and they can connect to your office management tools. With desk and room booking software, you can track how many employees are in the office and a given area. Not only does this help you keep track of capacity, but it can also help you manage a socially distanced workplace.
While employees may be vaccinated and safe to re-enter the office, not all may feel comfortable in a crowded workspace. Spacing apart employees and desks can ensure that everyone not only feels comfortable but stays healthy as well, which is a significant component of today's office environment. Implementing regular safety checks while monitoring distance and capacity within the office will make employees feel comfortable. Additionally, offering hybrid work will encourage employees to stay home if they feel sick, ensuring the safety of those around them. Showing concern and understanding for the well-being of your workforce will show them that they are valued and will not be punished for being responsible for their health. With this in mind, employees will feel excited to come to the office knowing their best interest is in mind. Using these tips, your employees' excitement for working in the office will be rejuvenated.