Monday 24th June 2024
How to encourage staff into the office | Condeco by Eptura

The post-pandemic landscape has fundamentally changed how we work. While remote work offers undeniable benefits, large enterprises face unique challenges in fostering a strong company culture and maximizing collaboration across geographically dispersed teams.  

Naturally, employers who had made a major investment into office premises and who preferred to oversee employees in person favor a return to the office. On the other hand, employees who found they could save commuting time, save money, and improve their work/life balance by working remotely wanted to keep doing so. However, as time has passed, these lines have become blurred. Employers have come to appreciate the extra job satisfaction and productivity that employees get from flexibility, when some realize what they’re missing out on when working at home alone. 

Of course, some businesses have been more successful in encouraging a return to the office than others, but many are still struggling to convince their workforce of why in-office work still holds real value in a post-pandemic world. 

6 factors that can help you reshape your employees’ thinking about office work: 

To help you with these conversations with your employees, we’ve put together this brief playbook of key points you can put across to your reluctant commuters. We’ve assumed that you’re on a phone call or video call with them to discuss their future work arrangements, and while not all of these will apply to every employee, it’s important to tailor your approach to address their specific concerns and circumstances. Here’s a guide to facilitate these discussions:

1. “Let’s agree on set office days, otherwise come in when it suits you.” 

Employees like having independence and autonomy over where and when they work, to the point that forcing them into the office more than twice a week will make them feel negative about the experience. Letting them choose when they want to come in, and enabling the easy booking of workspaces whenever they need them, can help the office be viewed as an extra option and not an inconvenience. 

2. “You can book your perfect workspace.” 

If employees are happy working in their own dedicated space at home, then it can be hard to convince them to work from the office if they feel the workspaces there will be a compromise. Reshaping your office environment with a variety of different workspace types, all shared and bookable by everyone to use, can maximize the choice available to employees. 

3. “You can get more working space than you get at home.” 

Not every employee has a spare room or large space in their living room to install a fully-equipped home office; employees in shared or cramped accommodation may find it difficult to work long-term off the kitchen table or sofa. For these employees, the offer of a full-size, dedicated workspace – complete with peace and quiet if they need it – can be extremely compelling. 

4. “You can see your co-workers and managers in person.” 

Some remote employees battle with the isolation of being at home on their own all day, especially if their only interaction with employees is restricted to chat platforms and video calls. Coming into the office gives them a chance to see their co-worker friends in the flesh, catch up with them, and strengthen the social bonds which facilitate better teamwork.  

Senior employees also play a vital role in knowledge transfer and leadership development. The office fosters organic interaction and mentorship opportunities that are difficult to replicate virtually. Younger team members benefit from observing senior colleagues navigate challenges and solve problems in real-time. 

5. “You can collaborate more easily than on a video call.” 

The ability to collaborate virtually has its limitations, especially in the ability to read body language and hold a fluid, free-flowing conversation. Reimagine your office as a hub for brainstorming sessions, design thinking workshops, and cross-functional team meetings. Pre-bookable collaborative spaces with interactive whiteboards and comfortable seating can spark creativity and lead to breakthrough ideas. 

6. “You can save on your energy costs.” 

The cost-of-living crisis is biting hard in many parts of the world, especially with energy prices going up, driven by geopolitical facts like the oil shortage spurred by the Russia-Ukraine war. For employees with shorter commutes, traveling to the office may cost less than the cost of the gas and electricity they consume working at home, meaning they can save money by coming into the office. 

By focusing on these factors, large enterprises can transform their offices from outdated relics into dynamic hubs that foster collaboration, innovation, and a thriving company culture in the post-pandemic era. Remember, the modern office isn’t just a place to work; it’s a strategic asset that fuels your organization’s long-term success. 

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