Initially this was driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, where lockdowns and health concerns made it difficult to get to the office.
Employees quickly learnt that they could achieve a better work-life balance around their personal commitments (children, pets, medical appointments etc) by working from home in the hours that suited them. Reduced commuting time and cost savings from not buying lunch, a daily coffee or being tempted by that daily lunchtime walk past retail stores. While remote work certainly has its advantages, some companies are now looking for ways to entice their employees back to the office.
In this blog article, we’ll explore practical ways that organisations can address these concerns and make your office a more appealing place to work. We’ll also look at strategies to mitigate the increased cost of travelling to and working in an office, and how you can bring that ‘home’ vibe into your workspace. We’ll be leaning on some of the key trends we saw come out in our recent State of the Workplace Survey – let’s dive in and get inspired.
Offer Flexible Work Schedules
One of the key advantages of working from home is the flexibility it provides, allowing employees to set their own schedules and work in a way that best suits them. Are you a morning or evening person? Do you need to get children to daycare or school? Do you love starting your day at the gym, and logging into work a little later in the morning? To entice employees back to the office, companies can consider offering more flexible work schedules. This could include adjusted start and finish times, compressed workweeks, or the ability to work part-time or job-share with other colleagues. Embracing flexible work schedules can be really empowering for your team, and keep them motivated and engaged with working for your organisation.
Flexible work schedules acknowledges an employee’s personal life outside work. By giving your team greater control over their work-life balance, and allowing them to better manage their personal responsibilities, you can still ensure you have times when they come into the office and collaborate with colleagues. Working this way can also help to reduce the time cost and expense of travelling to an office, as employees can schedule their work hours to avoid peak commuting times, or reduce their in-office days, which can result in savings on public transport, petrol and parking expenses.
Embrace Hybrid Work Arrangements
Another way to entice employees back to the office is to offer hybrid work arrangements that combine the benefits of both remote and in-person work. This could involve allowing employees to split their time between working from home and coming into the office, or offering a choice of work locations based on the type of work being done.
For example, employees could work from home when they need to focus on a task that requires concentration and meeting and interruption-free time, while coming into the office for tasks that require collaboration, teamwork and innovation. By giving employees more choice and control over where and how they work, companies can help address concerns about increased commuting costs, while still maintaining the benefits of in-person collaboration.
It is becoming increasingly important to ensure workspaces have dedicated collaboration spaces, or adaptive furniture to ensure the right environment for collaboration and innovation to take place. Europlan has a number of furniture solutions to support modern workplace configurations. Some workplaces are taking things a step further and trying to create a home away from home vibe too. Is your office as comfortable and welcoming as your employee’s home office?
Another way to address concerns about increased commuting costs is to promote sustainable transportation options, such as biking, walking, ride sharing or taking public transport. Companies can provide resources and incentives to encourage employees to use these modes of transportation, such as offering secure bike storage, gear lockers, offsetting public transport costs, or ensuring flexible work schedules that allow for off-peak commuting.
By promoting sustainable transportation options, companies not only reduce the cost of commuting for their employees, but also demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability.
Provide Office Amenities and Perks
To entice employees back to the office, companies can provide amenities and perks that make the office a more appealing and enjoyable place to work. This could include features like an onsite gym or spaces for team fitness such as a yoga class or guided meditation., Free snacks (fruit and treats) and quality beverages like barista coffee or Friday drinks can all lure your team more easily back to the office. Providing access to technology and equipment that employees may not have at home, such as large dual monitors, electronic whiteboards and large boardroom style meeting rooms are also useful to bring people back to your workspace.
By providing these amenities and perks, companies can create a more comfortable and convenient work environment, which can help offset the increasing cost and lack of interest in working in an office.
While remote work has become increasingly popular in recent years, many employees still value the benefits of working in an office environment. The key reasons employees want to head back into the office is for in-person connection. You can think about how you might structure meeting days, workshop days or internal events to ensure you give your team opportunities for regular interaction and collaboration time.
By offering flexible work schedules, embracing hybrid work arrangements, promoting sustainable transportation options, providing office amenities and perks and ensuring inspiring, comfortable work environments, companies can entice their employees back to the office. Create a workplace that meets the needs and preferences of your employees – contact one of our workplace design experts today.