You may have spent a long time making plans to reopen work safely, but some employees may be reluctant to return to the office. While some employees may be used to the convenience of working from home that they have practiced over the last few months, others may feel more productive while working from home.
Yet, there may be a few employees who may still be concerned about their health as they have replaced their hours of commute with better lifestyle management practices like an additional hour of sleep or exercise.
In such a situation, it is challenging to demand employees to be at work five days a week. But if we look at the other side of the picture, your company may be unable to afford the expenses of an office premise that is almost empty on most days of the week.
Moreover, your organization may also be lacking the strong company culture that was once your competitive edge. Furthermore, as new employees are joining your organization, they may not be feeling fully onboarded. And the senior management of the organization may have trouble sharing the "next big idea" with the employees with distinct enthusiasm. It may also be tough to find out about the general discontent of the employees until someone reaches a breaking point.
So what can you do to encourage your organization's employees to return to the workplace? You don't have to push your employees because you want them to be in the office. Rather, you would want to persuade your employees to be in the office because they want to be, and for that to happen, you need to inspire your employees. Here is how to inspire employees as they return to the office.
Offer Flexibility And a Hybrid Working Model
An increasing number of employees prefer to work from home, but there are many employees who are comfortable with a hybrid working model. According to research, most employees are comfortable with working in an office for at least three days each week.
While there are few employees (around 12%) who want to work from home permanently, a majority of employees look forward to coming to the office. However, they also look forward to more flexibility as a flexible work schedule that doesn't restrict employees from being at the office every day of the week contributes to a positive employee experience. After all, it is not always a great experience for employees to spend hours in commute every day only to find themselves in an office that's not always full.
So one of the best ways to inspire employees as they return to work is to offer a hybrid working model. If you do not have any rules or policies in your organization regarding remote working, it's time to create one. However, your organization's hybrid or remote working policy will heavily depend on several factors, including the nature of the job and the time it takes to commute to work.
With a remote or hybrid working policy, you can set expectations for both employees and employers about what is and what isn't allowed when working remotely. Moreover, it will also help establish rules about who needs to be notified when an employee is working from home and whether or not they should have a reserved workspace when employees intend to come to the office.
You may establish virtual working policies similar to Dropbox, which has implemented a working approach that allows employees to have remote work as their default workplace setting experience, but also expect teams to collaborate and have regular in-person meetings.
When you offer your employees a combination of different types of workspace experiences, it makes the idea of commuting to the office more appealing for the employees as it's something that they don't have to do every day.
Explore Latest Ways To Connect In-Person
One of the most interesting findings in recent times is that most employees may enjoy working from home. However, there is an aspect of work that they miss. It is not related to their job. Rather, it is about the human element involved while working in an office. Research suggests that what employees miss most about working in the office is interaction with their co-workers.
When almost all employees come to the office every day, each employee gets a chance for casual interactions in the breakroom or at the coffee machine. Now that workplaces have a variable schedules and most people continue to work from home, it's about time that your organization should look for creative ways to help reconnect everyone in person.
A possible approach to connect more employees in person outside the work setting could be to encourage them to take part in local community service opportunities. Some organizations are now paying their employees for volunteering part-time. Similarly, you can encourage your employees to participate in team-building activities where the impact of employee efforts is measurable and meaningful for the participants. One of the possible team-building activities with meaningful impact is a food drive at the office, which gives employees an opportunity to connect with their fellow workers while giving them a larger sense of purpose and meaning. When employees get more opportunities to reconnect with their co-workers, it makes them more likely to continue returning to the office.
Offer Relevant Training Opportunities And Mentorship Programs At The Office
As the pandemic started and companies had to cut their budgets, perhaps the first expense that experienced a major budget cut was training and development.
While it was the right thing to do a few months ago, if your organization has made budget cuts during the pandemic, now is the time to consider bringing them back.
To encourage employees to return to the office, it's best to consider regular organization-wide training programs at your company head office, so all employees get a chance to meet their co-workers and also find a reason to get back to work. Your office headquarters is the best place for training as employees can find mentors through informal or casual interactions. It makes a great investment because around 90% of employees with a career mentor have expressed better job satisfaction, and the experience is particularly critical for both Millennials and Generation Z employees.
If your organization doesn't have a mentorship program, having one where new employees get a chance to learn from the experience of other senior members of the organization can motivate new employees to return to work. A mentorship program is one of the best ways to encourage and facilitate in-person meetings. You can initiate a mentorship program at the organizational level and establish a framework that may include suggested times for meetings and more casual events such as monthly lunches.
Create Personalized Experiences For Employees
The future of the employee's workplace experience is personalization. Since every employee is different, their reason for returning to the office may differ. So will be their expectations from the employers and managers. Some employees may prefer a quiet working space, while others may prefer a space that allows for socialization.
While you cannot cater to the needs of every single employee, you can target certain employee needs and categorize employees so you can conveniently meet their needs. When you provide your employees with a variety of spaces and amenities in your workplace, they are more likely to help you exceed their expectations.
You can make your workplace more user-friendly in several ways. One of the possible ways is to invest in user-friendly, ergonomic office furniture. While most workplaces today have ergonomic office chairs and height-adjustable desks to accommodate the needs of the employees if you really want to make your workplace more attractive to the employees investing in office furniture that aids employees in maintaining their health makes a great idea. And one of the best products that you can invest in to create a healthier workspace is the Under Desk Bike V9U.
The Under Desk Bike V9U makes one of the best desk bikes and under desk cycle that allows employees to stay healthy while being productive. You may be wondering whether the under desk bike pedals work and how to use standing desk mate desk bikes. It is as convenient as using an ergonomic office chair. However, when you use this under desk bike, you can continue to work while staying fit and healthy.
Inspiring employees as they return to work may not always be easy. But with these tips and tricks, you will be able to attract a large part of your workforce to your office space. After all, when employees feel more at home and more connected with others in the office, they are more likely to look forward to coming back to it.