Many of the world’s workforces have fallen in love with the convenience of remote working, and it’s going to be difficult to persuade them that a return to the office is the right move, even if you promise free pizza.
The working world has changed forever, and so have people’s office expectations. As hybrid working models evolve, many are questioning the point of even having an office in the first place.
While expectations have changed, it is still true that spending time together in person allows us to create deeper human connections. Connections which leave us happier, more engaged, and less stressed, leading to greater levels of workplace collaboration and innovation.
If you’re currently missing out on the best benefits of in-person working, it’s worth thinking about how you can create an environment that makes your people excited to come into the office.
Suffice to say, you’re going to need an office value proposition to help you sell the transition. Much like an Employee Value Proposition, it must answer the question ‘What’s in it for me?’
The In-Person Value Proposition
What’s the reason to return to the office? It depends on who you ask – the employer or the employee. According to stats from LinkedIn, 97.6% of remote workers want to keep working remotely in at least some capacity.
Focussing on the tangible benefits of in-person work is a great place to start. Does your office culture encourage greater collaboration? Is there a breakout space you can offer where your people can communicate freely and openly?
It’s not the commodities you can offer (hence the pizza not cutting it), but rather the power of robust working relationships, the kind you can cultivate with the help of a good culture.
A Happy, Healthy Environment
The people maketh the office, and if those people are unhappy, unsupported and unengaged, you’ll have a tough time retaining your talent, let alone convincing them to return.
Creating a happy and healthy working environment is a must, so do away with any bland décor, let the light in, and focus on the health and wellbeing of your people.
The best working environments are built on more than carefully selected indoor plants and comfy chairs – they’re built on the strength of their culture. But what makes a great culture? It’s the biggest of big questions, and there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Here’s What You Can Do
Why should your employees swap their five-second commute for a much, much lengthier one? Here are some measures you can put in place to help you offer maximum office value.
Internal talks – Even the very best webinars struggle to compete with a great in-person talk. Not only is a superb opportunity to learn and share experiences, but it’s also the ideal time for your people to connect with one another. It’s important for your people to get to know the kind of colleagues they’re working with; it can help employees understand the real driving force behind the brand.
Lunch and Learn – The value of the lunch and learn cannot be underestimated. Providing the food is the best way to go, and if you can combine that with some top-tier training, you’ve got a great deal to go on. People generally enjoy the chance to develop their professional skillset, and a free lunch is always a bonus.
Support options for those who need them – Whether this is spearheaded by employee engagement groups or mental health first aiders – a person-first approach means looking after the needs of the people.
Team-building trips – Team building doesn’t have to inspire groans, not when there are plenty of great, non-awkward activities that ensure everyone feels included. For example, story sharing, book or film club, team lunches, charity days, or whatever works best for the needs of the team. Not everyone works in the same way, and for many, team building is still a term that evokes fear. For the best results, why not consult your team first?
Getting the Balance Right
Hybrid working doesn’t work if you use a hit and hope model. When hybrid working excels, it captures the very best of both in-person and remote working. You don’t have to sacrifice either when both sets of employees can work in harmony.
A toxic company culture will pour into the remote side of work too, so it’s important to focus on both aspects of the workplace, and how they fit together as a whole. Most of the time, it starts with being realistic about your expectations.
Managing employee expectation means understanding the many benefits remote working provides and revisiting your policy to account for the needs of your people.
A great policy backed up by dependable metrics can be a recipe for success, but when it’s too rigid, it can hold you back. Updating your policy as you go is the best way to cultivate a flexible approach.
Seeing the company culture from a different angle can be an enlightening experience, especially when you use your unique company data to back up your findings – it’s hard to argue with the cold hard stats (although it doesn't stop some from doing it anyway).
This is where we come in. At Equiris Consulting, we can give you that new perspective by providing you with the tools, means, and passion needed to make the high impact changes that matter.
Through our bespoke training and advisory services, we can get to the root cause of cultural challenges and provide you with a solution you can depend on. We know your business is unique, and so too are your needs and challenges – this is why we’ll always tailor our products to fit your people and your specific requirements.
If you feel like your business could benefit from our advisory and consulting services, or you’d like to know more about Equiris, please get in touch with us on our website today, we’d love to get to know you better. Alternatively, you can reach out to director Cara Myers on email@example.com.