With the rise of remote work and the gig economy, many companies have more flexibility in where, when, and how their employees work. But it's not always the perfect solution for everybody. The ‘work from office’ culture is slowly returning to the workplace, and it's time for companies to prepare for it.
There are many compelling reasons why companies should consider reintroducing a workplace culture. The main reason is that interacting with colleagues on a daily basis can greatly improve efficiency and productivity.
Also, working from the office can encourage employees to make stronger connections with each other, which can help foster a stronger work environment
The truth is, they probably don’t — at least not all the time. According to a study conducted by The Talent Tech Outlook 2022, 82% of responders admitted that they prefer remote work.
Many employees who have been working remotely since March have come to prefer it, and they're likely reluctant to return to a traditional office environment full-time — even as some businesses begin reopening their doors. A survey by Research Institute’s People at Work 2022: A Global Workforce revealed that 76.38% of workers would contemplate quitting if they were forced to return to work from office full-time preferring a hybrid work environment instead.
For many employees, going back to the office will be an uncomfortable transition due to concerns about health, safety, and productivity. As employers, it’s important for you to help mitigate these challenges and make it as easy as possible for your employees to adjust to this new normal.
To help you get back on track and keep your team motivated, we’ve put together some tips on what to do while you resume WFO (work from the office):
A Hybrid work environment is one where the in-office and at-home work models are mixed to provide the employees with more support and flexibility regarding how and where they work from.
Enabling a hybrid work environment can benefit your business in many ways that can include:
i) Establish proper communication:
As you establish new work from office guidelines, it is important to keep employees informed of your methods and efforts. Ensure that employees are fully informed on the steps that you’re taking to address any issues. For example, you can schedule a Q&A session to discuss your strategies and accept feedback from your employees.
ii) Be flexible:
Returning to the office once again will be a tough transition for your employees. Many will feel uncomfortable/uneasy or even at risk of falling ill which can make their work suffer. As the management, you should be willing to listen to your employees’ input and allow for adjustments regarding their working styles.
As a leader, you'll have to determine if this is the right move for your company. Here are some things to consider before you make this decision:
When you've assessed these questions, you'll be better equipped to make an informed decision about whether or not you want to implement this change in your organization.
Showing concern for your employees’ health and safety can boost their morale while returning to the office.
Outline safety practices such as improved air filtration, closing certain spaces in order to help with social distancing, and easy access to COVID-19 testing. If your employees feel that you are taking precautions for their health, they’ll be more willing to come to the office and be more productive in their work.
When it comes to working from the office, employees’ mental health is also an important consideration for organizations. By prioritizing employees’ mental health, employers can reduce stress and anxiety for their employees. In doing so, employers have the opportunity to contribute to improved mental health in the workforce.
The way people work is changing, and organizations need to keep up with these changes.
Organizations need to make several changes in their hiring, onboarding, and engagement practices. When selecting employees, companies will need to consider several factors, including the types of tasks they are responsible for, the nature of their work environment and relationships, as well as their preferences for working in a collaborative setting.
It is also vital for organizations to find ways to keep their employees engaged and invested in the company's success even when they are not physically present at the office. Companies that inspire trust, loyalty and commitment among their employees will retain employees who are more productive than those that do not.
Employers may need to update or create policies to reflect the new normal.
For example: flexible work timings, sick leave extensions, time-off policies, and so on.
One of the most important aspects of managing employee issues is establishing clear expectations and protocols for the workplace. If employees are educated about what is expected of them at all times, and if there are protocols in place for reporting bad behavior or unacceptable situations, then an organization can begin to deal with these issues more effectively.
This can be done through memos, online staff meetings, or training sessions.
Transitioning back to the office may require changing old habits and creating new ones. Leaders should consider allowing for a gradual transition period to allow people time to build new habits. If your employees are comfortable with the changes that are being implemented, they will be more willing to embrace these changes especially if they think their employers have kept their health and safety in mind.