Despite the many collaboration tools that we have at our fingertips today, when it comes to effective communication there’s really nothing better than having your teams all together, in the same room. Especially as ‘Zoom fatigue’ is quickly starting to set in. Many employees feel this way, too. In fact, 87% say that the office plays an important role in building relationships and collaborating with their colleagues.
This is why more and more businesses are beginning to think seriously about encouraging employees to make a return to the office. But how can you ensure you’re taking the right steps to make this return as successful as possible?
Acknowledging the Challenges
The first step towards driving success is to understand the barriers employees may face in returning to the office. Some aspects to take into consideration include:
1. Rising fuel prices that can make the commute unaffordable
2. Cost of living rises leaving less to spend on public transport
3. The comfort of home; nearly three quarters don’t want to return full time
So how can you address these barriers and make a return to the office a positive and comfortable transition for your employees? Here are our top tips for success:
● Involve your staff
What’s changed for employees over the past few years? What do they need to feel comfortable and confident returning to the workplace? What are they excited about, and what fears do they have? Listen, learn, and plan the return based around the needs of your workforce. Give them what they need to succeed.
● Be open and flexible
Approaching this from a rigid, unwavering standpoint could create conflict. Instead, where possible try to inject some degree of flexibility into your return plans. Don’t try to make things exactly the same as how they were. The world has changed. 66% of employees say that flexible terms would help them transition back to the office.
● Don’t lose focus
Prior to the pandemic ‘workplace wellbeing’ was often seen as a ‘nice to have’. Today, it’s everything. If you’ve been supporting your employees making health and wellness a focus during the crisis, be careful not to lose this focus just because your staff are returning to the office. Keep building that employee-centric culture in the office.
● Adapt as needed
Try to develop a culture of communication that allows for your staff to provide feedback on your return to work efforts in a safe space. And most importantly, use this feedback and adapt. Remember: for a return to the office to be a success, you can’t just focus on getting people back in; you need to focus on keeping them, too.
Embracing Our New Normal
It’s been more than two years since the business landscape was disrupted. Returning to the workplace is a major event, and it’s one your employees may feel quite anxious about. Planning is the best way to help it all go smoothly.