When it comes to remote work, the benefits are countless. Many workers have had the opportunity to happily eliminate their commutes, spend more time with loved ones, save money on meals and have more flexibility around their start, finish and break times.
To incentivise people to come back to the office voluntarily, companies must demonstrate what they were missing out on while working from home.
It is essential for management to promote employee engagement and give their teams a wholesome working experience.
To make things simple, here are a few tips and tricks to inspire your team members to return to the office after working remotely for an extended period.
Rather than set hours 9-5, you can allow employees to work between 8 – 6 pm to let them start earlier. Have longer breaks and finish later as they wish, or allow them to perform a staggered start time, i.e. commencing any time between 8 an m and 9.30 am so that they can reduce commute times.
There’s never a one size fits all.
Some employees prefer starting and finishing earlier, whilst others may appreciate a longer lunch break or to accommodate for a quick exercise session. Its unlikely employees will be willing to give up the flexibility to suit their schedules and preferences.
Although this won’t fit all organisations, however, if it is doable it’s probably worth considering. If you’re not willing to be flexible, you’re going to have trouble retaining talent in this market.
A great benefit of remote work is the ability to feel that you’re not being watched! Employees have exclaimed that remote work has allowed them to take quick breaks in between work and meetings, whereas, breaks in the workplace can be chained to guilt when nobody else seems to be taking them.
Research suggests that regular breaks, even 1-minute microbreaks, can improve job performance, concentration and even reduce injuries.
Employers can implement shorter breaks into the workplace by communicating it to the team and most powerfully, leading by example.
Consider revamping the office with standing desks, ergonomic chairs, redecorating the aesthetics such as investing in office plants, decorative furniture to spruce up the office.
People value their environment and the opportunity to leave their house and go somewhere nice. However, if your current office is old, dark with outdated interiors and ergonomically poor workstations, people are going to prefer to stay at home more often.
A large incentive for people to come to work is to be around colleagues and friends. Organise team-building activities e.g. Friday drinks, byo dinner, shared/free lunches or offer yoga and exercise classes.
It’s important to ask employees what they want to do. Strong social connections make people happier and physically healthier, which also translate into better work performance.
Also, encourage activities outside of the office. Have some fun outside and arrange a company-wide happy hour. This is a great way to de-stress with co-workers and get some bonding time off the clock. Happy hours contribute to the office culture, making it a more social and relaxed environment.
Employees will be more comfortable working with each other when they’ve socialised outside of the office.
What’s that old saying? “The Way to Someone’s Heart is Through Their Stomach”.
Employees often say one benefit to working from home is the amount of money they save on food by not eating out as often. While you don’t necessarily have to provide gourmet lunches for the team, you could consider having some small weekly freebies in the office such as a fruit bowl, instant oatmeal, granola bars, snacks, chocolate and nuts for those mid-afternoon hunger pangs!
Consider speaking to a local coffee shop and partnering with them to provide the team with free or discounted coffee.
Research reveals that by providing free food and refreshments, employees can result in a 67% job satisfaction rate. It shows that the company is serious about creating a supportive environment for its workers. As a result, company-paid lunches are seen as a major perk that’s hard to give up, particularly for Millennials!