Returning to work might seem like a straightforward process on the surface, but it’s more complicated than you think. Workplace dynamics have changed substantially over the last few years; the push to “get back to normal” belies the fact that businesses no longer have a normal to go back to. Employees demand a different approach to the workplace, one flexible to their needs and better equipped to address work-life balance. Getting them “back to work” entails more than just insisting that it happen as you’d like.
Workplaces underwent rapid change thanks to the Covid-era mass implementation of remote and hybrid work options. In a new post-pandemic phase (for parts of the world), companies must evaluate what parts of remote work to keep going forward. Consider the “workplace value” proposition: instead of simply forcing staff en masse back to the office, it’s time to assess what might entice them back—and how much you really need them back in-office.
Since we’ve learned that many employees can work from anywhere, you need to consider what makes the office special. There are still some benefits to a central office. Face-to-face interaction, teamwork, and building social connections with coworkers all serve as strong motivators to bring your team back to work.
Check out these tips for how to boost your office’s workplace value, while adapting to a hybrid work model.
Offer Long-Term Incentives
The best way to attract and retain talent, as many know, is by offering long-term incentives. But what if, in the process of building out a new incentive/benefit structure, you angle it to encourage staff to come to the office?
Offer incentives that help mitigate work’s impact on returning employees’ lives. You can include incentives like childcare or daycare benefits for parents who work fully remotely to take care of their kids. If travel is the deterring factor for coming into the office, you might trim commuter costs by offering transit passes, ride-share credits, or gas stipends. In-office benefits such as an exercise room or on-site upskilling opportunities can further entice them.
These long-term incentives demonstrate a commitment to your team and an awareness that their life extends beyond office hours.
Implement a Flexibility-Forward Strategy
Love it or hate it, remote and hybrid work is the future. These models provide flexibility and efficiency that give businesses a considerable leg up on their competition. But in order to maximize the potential of remote and hybrid work, you may have to shift your own office’s relationship with work. Let employees choose the work models that function best for their life. Emphasize deadlines and quality of work, rather than the hours spent or the processes involved.
This flexibility-centric mindset also requires effective management of on-site resources. Hybrid work concepts such as hot-desking and rotating office schedules can help optimize the flow of people through what office space you do choose to keep. Tools like Smarten Spaces’ Jumpree can help offices with this organization, letting managers shift, alter, and keep on top of hybrid work schedules easily.
Your company will undoubtedly develop its own way of incorporating these shifts and values; any flexibility-forward strategy must be designed to suit your specific needs. But some sort of shift is a must if you want to remain limber and spry in the new work world. With more time and resources available, your company will be ready to hop on new opportunities as they arise.
Have a Rewards/Recognition Program
Employees feel seen when their work is appreciated with loyalty. In turn, the morale boost often makes employees feel more invested in the company and increases their dedication to work.
This creates a positive feedback loop—but it requires active effort to keep it going. Hybrid environments make this sort of engagement trickier; it also provides a golden opportunity to center your in-office work around employee engagement efforts. Keep staff up to date about office schedules, company events, employee recognition events, and other occurrences to boost motivation among all your staff, no matter where their primary home base is.
Rework Office Layout
You want to get your staff back into the office ASAP. But is the office ready for them? A lot has changed in the past few years; new health and safety standards require new protocols. Not to mention that the dispersed nature of the workforce means that you don’t necessarily need everyone at the same time. Comms technology and apps like Zoom make it much easier to hold meetings with remote workers and clients, freeing up space for other purposes.
Reworking your office layout to meet the moment can both reduce costs and make your office a more welcoming environment. Thinking creatively with your space can help you set your team up for success. Coordinated hot desking, meeting room schedules and cleaning sessions make keep your office running smoothly with a newly asynchronous team.
Provide New Technology Solutions
Technology advances in leaps and bounds every day. No matter how in sync your staff is, nearly every company needs to devote at least a portion of its operating causes to tech tools—whether its acquisition, maintenance, or upgrades. Implementing new technologies designed to support employees can help foster a successful transition back to work.
Tech solutions should focus on connection and communications. For instance, meetings held remotely don’t require everyone to be in the office—but you need a high-powered video conferencing tool to pull this off. Collaborative cloud-based platforms can similarly help teams work in tandem, whether they’re in the office or around the world. Occupancy sensors and no-touch entryways can help meet new health and safety measures to keep employees safe. Smarten Spaces offers hybrid workplace management solutions like centralized scheduling and AI desk booking so that employees know when to show up at the office and where they’re allocated when they do.
Remote work in some capacity is the future of business, whether it’s full-time or freelancers and partners operating from different parts of the world. The right tools can help your team function smoothly no matter the distance.
Move Forward Together With Your Team
Today’s workplace is vastly different from previous models—more decentralized, more asynchronous, and (if you approach it correctly) more efficient. Whether you like it or not, remote and hybrid work is here to stay. This doesn’t mean the office is obsolete! It simply means that businesses have to reevaluate their use and transform it to meet the moment.
As employers usher employees back to the office, they should support and encourage the transition with the right policies to make the return an attractive prospect. Tech tools like Smarten Spaces can help you optimize the way you run your office, making it ready for the modern era. With the right plan, your new model will be even more efficient than your old one! If you’re ready to transform your workplace for the 21st century, reach out to Smarten Spaces today.