The great office return: How to keep employees motivated and productive
As restrictions have eased, we are seeing thousands of workers start the process of returning to the office environment. Although it seems that businesses are not planning on being back in the office five days a week, the consensus is a move to a hybrid model, with employees choosing which days suit them to go into the office.
According to one report, 85% of the UK’s C-Suite and 71% of employees now support better hybrid working, suggesting the trend will be around for a long time. Supporting employees by making the new hybrid model as easy as possible for them will be crucial in keeping them motivated and productive.
A challenging return to work
As working from home has become normalised, it’s easy to forget that most office-based workers have not commuted in over a year and a half. The majority have not seen one another outside of video calls, some having not even met face-to-face, meaning they have not benefited from a sense of community within the workplace.
While better flexibility in our working day should be encouraged, the isolation that comes with working from home has left employees reassessing the benefits of staying at their current job. This is now such a large issue that recent figures show nearly half (41%) of employees could move jobs post COVID-19 if their situation does not improve.
Employers now need to ask themselves how to reignite what made them a special business to work for in the first place. This will allow them to welcome back employees to a hybrid model in the most positive way possible.
Revamping the commute
Making the commute easier for their employees is a great solution for employers to keep engagement high. While it’s unlikely we’ll be heading into the office five days a week anymore, spending an increasing amount of time in the office using the hybrid model, means employers need to tackle the issue of the commute.
Some of the main concerns businesses must solve in a post-pandemic work era are avoiding the risk of overcrowding as employees enter buildings, dealing with parking shortages, enforcing social distancing and allocating office access to employees who need it the most.
Some companies are tackling this using a commuting programme that ensures individuals are able to get to and from the office not only safely, but in a way that lessens the environmental impact of their travel. For example, cycling and electric taxis, and also new solutions such as boat taxis for City of London workers. Having all these options available to the employees means that they get to choose what works best for them as they re-enter the world of work.
Food for thought
If HR teams take one thing away from the pandemic, it’s the value of their employees and the importance of keeping them happy and motivated. Rewarding their employees through food has always been widely received in a positive way, from team lunches to treats, or even a coffee on the way to work. Our own research has shown that 63% of workers believe food provided by their employers keeps them happy and satisfied.
But as we head towards a more hybrid working environment, organisations must make sure the gifts they are giving can work for employees whether they are at home or in the office, while still making them feel personalised. So while team lunches are still a great option, including voucher distribution allows companies to include the employees who are at home.
Personalising the experiences
If employees want one thing post-pandemic, it’s to be part of a wider work community while retaining their sense of self-worth and this worth being recognised internally. Pre-pandemic, it was easier for HR teams to put less effort into the employee experience but with many workers now having itchy feet, this is no longer an option if they want the best people to stay at their company.
From the number of days employees work in the office, to the commuting services available, businesses must make sure they have processes in place to engage with each employee on an individual level. The driving force behind the success of these processes will be having a personalised rewards program, so businesses can show their employees how important they are to the company.