How to get employees ready to return to the office

poster getting employees back into the office

Certainly one of the success tales of the pandemic has been the adoption of distant work. A January 2021 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) discovered that 83% of employers say remote work has been successful for his or her firm. That’s a ten% improve from a June 2020 survey.

It’s a case of excellent information/dangerous information. Whereas some corporations survived due to the power of their remote-work initiatives, getting employees to head again to the office has its personal challenges. The truth is, one other January survey by LiveCareer discovered that one-third of workers would quit earlier than going again to the office full-time.

“We now know that distant work is nice for a lot of issues, however not all the pieces,” says international HR analyst Josh Bersin, founding father of Bersin by Deloitte. At the identical time, corporations are going to want to steadiness the wants of employees with the firm’s plans to get folks again to the office, and blissful about being there, he says.


Begin with security

The primary problem that has to be managed earlier than employees come again to the office is security, says Tami Simon the company consulting chief and senior vice chairman at Segal, a human sources and worker advantages consulting firm. “Above all else, employees want to really feel protected: bodily, mentally, and financially. Employers ought to transparently describe how they plan to make their office a protected place,” she says. As well as to the bodily measures corporations want to take, employees want to really feel like they gained’t face penalties for expressing their wants or feeling reluctant to head again to the office, she says.

A few of their issues may be quelled by speaking the firm’s bodily security initiatives and insurance policies, says Jikku Venkat, chief know-how officer and cofounder of infectious illness administration software program platform ReturnSafe. These could embrace symptom checks, bodily distancing of workspaces, staggered scheduling, testing, private protecting gear necessities, enhanced cleansing, and others.

“It’s vital for you to have a really systematic strategy and never one thing advert hoc with respect to these protocols,” he says. And whereas these could look like easy actions, many corporations nonetheless haven’t found out their very own strategy, Bersin provides.


For employees to really feel snug—not to mention motivated—to return to the office, they’ve to know what to anticipate, says HR marketing consultant Brenda Neckvatal. So, as you make choices about what your in-office or hybrid schedules will seem like, hold your crew in the loop. (PwC’s analysis discovered that greater than half of employees (55%) need to work remotely no less than three days per week, whereas greater than two-thirds of executives (68%) need employees in the office no less than three days per week.)

It’s a good suggestion to talk insurance policies, adjustments, and expectations throughout completely different platforms, equivalent to worker emails, supervisor conferences, and even inner podcasts. That is one other interval of fast change and your crew wants assist anticipating what’s subsequent, she says.

As you focus on plans with employees, you’re probably to get their opinions about what’s taking place. Deal with this effectively, Neckvatal emphasizes. “Both your group strikes ahead with it, or in the event that they don’t, no less than circle again and allow them to know that you simply admire them giving solutions,” she says. It helps them really feel appreciated and that their contributions matter.


Acknowledge that your employees have modified

The parents who’re coming again to your newly distanced cubicles aren’t the identical as the people who left a yr in the past, Simon says. Earlier than the pandemic, corporations like banks and insurance coverage companies could not solely have discouraged distant work, however prohibited it due to safety issues. Now, not solely has distant work develop into mainstream, but it surely’s occurred throughout a disaster. Employees’ lives have been usually laid naked in the background of Zoom calls. Lodging have been made for the work-life collision and employees are going to anticipate extra of the identical going ahead, whether or not they’re in the office or not, Bersin says.

Certainly one of his purchasers used to spend each Friday commuting about 5 hours round-trip to a employees assembly. Now, the assembly is a videoconference. “She mentioned, ‘for some purpose, we by no means did that earlier than. It was by no means accepted,’” he remembers. Now, she expects the Zoom name will develop into the norm they usually’ll discover methods to get face time in different methods.

Search for new advantages wants

Employees may have new advantages wants, Simon says. These could vary from added psychological well being help to caregiving help to monetary wellness and training. The easiest way to decide these wants and ensure your employees are getting the help they want is to take a severe take a look at your worker base. Speak to employees and discover out their opinions, but in addition take a look at your advantages program by the lens of what your group can supply and what investments will greatest help the most quick wants your crew has.

Bersin provides that shoring up your organization’s wellness tradition could also be a good suggestion, too. “I come from the world the place you simply go to work and take care of it. However, in the final three to 5 years, the expectations of employees for well-being applications, mindfulness applications, relaxation, day without work, breaks, and instruments to assist us schedule our time are very excessive,” he says. Your employees are probably to have new calls for round high quality of life, particularly in the event that they’re spending extra time commuting to get again to the office.

Adapt your house

Create an area that individuals need to come again to, Simon suggests. That will embrace adjustments to the bodily house and accommodating wants like standing desks to assist employees keep away from being sedentary all day. In case you are going to rotate employees who’re out and in of the office, you might want to contemplate abandoning mounted desks and create workstations that may be shared. “This is a chance to rethink how the work is finished and the place it’s performed,” she says. Giving employees what they want, probably together with having their major workstation at dwelling, will assist them higher adapt to the time spent in the office.

Use the energy of FOMO

As soon as folks really feel protected and comfy, there’s one side that will get misplaced in the “going again to the office” dialogue: There may be many advantages. “[Employees] like the face-to-face contact. They like the private relationships,” Bersin says. And a few actions, like brainstorming new concepts or holding a rigorous planning assembly sometimes go higher in individual than through a videoconference, he provides.

Then, there’s the enjoyable half: As work shifts again to regular and it’s protected to collect, office events, get-togethers, and easy alternatives for reconnecting with our coworkers will probably be motivators for employees to return to the office. And as soon as folks begin coming again and having in-person conferences, a measure of FOMO—concern of lacking out—will probably immediate others to be part of them, he says.

And what about these corporations which have gone all distant? Bersin has a prediction. “These corporations that mentioned, you possibly can do business from home for the remainder of your life? They’re in all probability going to simply undo that and say, ‘yeah, we’re type of, we’d such as you guys to come again in from time to time.’”