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As the economy reopens, more and more companies are considering bringing workers back into the office due to the declining number of Covid-19 cases.
A Microsoft study shows that 50% of executives say their company will require or plan to require in-person work from employees in the coming year. However, employees are not very keen on returning to their office desks. The same report shows that 53% of workers are more likely to prioritize their well-being over their work compared to pre-pandemic times.
Since the majority of employees demand flexibility, how do you decide which path to take when other factors convince you to bring everyone back? Let’s dig a little deeper. After two years of remote work, many leaders look forward to welcoming their employees back onsite, ready or not. Here are three top reasons to return to the office:
1. Culture and Values
To say that starting a new job remotely is challenging is putting it mildly. People have become accustomed to immersing themselves in work culture by observing how employees interact.
Unfortunately, for those who are onboarded remotely, the transition to the job comes with many growing pains. They didn’t get to see the culture at work – nor did they have the opportunity to learn through personal supervision or feedback on their novice questions. As a result, they have to navigate themselves and learn more things.
In general, face-to-face interactions are critical to new hires. Compared to the dozens of virtual meetings they’ve attended, they’ll learn a lot more from both their observations and face-to-face conversations with their peers.
It’s also easy to lose sense of your mission when you’re not having face-to-face interactions with teammates. Face-to-face collaboration encourages more frequent engagement and helps employees align with the company’s core values.
Related: Will corporate culture suffer from the rise of remote work?
2. Collaboration and Productivity
Working remotely also comes with setbacks in collaboration and productivity. Colleagues, for example, cannot see when a teammate is having problems and therefore cannot help immediately.
Remote work requires checkpoints, coordination, and collaboration that must be scheduled or done through email or chat. This extra effort can often result in work stoppages instead of asking questions in person and getting quick answers.
Working on site also allows fresh ideas and innovations to progress more quickly. These things can have a significant impact on an employee’s growth and therefore the company’s success.
3. Purpose and Satisfaction
Organizations and employees can also benefit from office work by sharing a common mission. Being around committed people working toward the same goal fuels the same level of commitment and drive in everyone.
Employees are happier with their work when they feel more connected to their colleagues. Believing in the company’s purpose gives employees meaning that is far more valuable than just a paycheck.
Tips for the great return
It’s no secret that people have a strong preference for remote work. But there are practical reasons why executives want employees to return to the office. If you’re worried about losing your employees by calling them back to the office, here are some tips to make it work:
Employees want to feel valued, and giving rewards is a fantastic way to give them that experience. Luckily, there are many ways you can show appreciation to your employees.
For example, you can give each of them personalized welcome gifts upon their return. You can also feature top employees in your newsletter or company blog, or make handwritten notes to thank employees for their invaluable work. Simple things like lunch and bowling can also be rewarding enough to encourage more employees to return to the office.
Allow remote workdays
If the majority of your workforce prefers remote work, consider meeting them halfway. You could offer a hybrid model that also allows employees to work remotely.
According to statistics, 70% of employees want to continue working remotely, part-time or full-time.
As workforces become increasingly digitized, it only makes sense to adopt a hybrid working model. Many see it as a win-win strategy for companies looking to return to traditional practices and for employees demanding more flexibility.
Give them something to look forward to
Remodeling your office can also be a great strategy to encourage your employees to return. Here are some ideas worth considering:
Add new furniture and fixtures: Many employees have become accustomed to their comfortable working environment at home, so try to bring that atmosphere into your office. Replace old chairs with new ones, bring in better desks, and add new facilities like break rooms. Make sure the workspaces can be comfortable yet productive.
Keep workplaces clean and tidy: Awareness of hygiene and sanitation has increased since the pandemic. So make sure the office is clean and tidy at all times. Invest in professional cleaning services to keep work areas sanitized and smelling nice.
Offer other perks: Think of other perks you can offer your employees in the office, such as: B. better parking spaces or travel allowances. Get creative and offer benefits that add real value to your employees.
Also See: Pros and Cons of Remote Work: Will Your Employees Adapt?
How to maintain a productive remote work environment
Whether your employees work in the office or at home, it is imperative to ensure their productivity.
If you want to implement a hybrid work environment, ask employees to set up dedicated home offices. Your workspaces should be comfortable and sustainable, especially if you want this facility to last.
Also, your remote teams should be equipped accordingly. Keep using video conferencing apps like Zoom and Google Meet, and messaging apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams. Finally, don’t forget to check in with your remote workers regularly. It might seem a bit different at first, but once you make it a habit, it should feel normal in no time.
In the office or remotely, remember that your employees need your support to be productive and happy with their work. You can achieve this by setting clear rules and cascading changes whenever they occur.
Also remember that the pandemic is not over yet. Employees still feel anxious and uncertain about the future, so it’s important to think about their concerns and well-being before making decisions.
Related: The Importance of Returning to the Office After Remote Work