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Effective Incentives To Encourage Staff Back To The Office

Despite the end of COVID-19 lockdowns, many employees prefer working from home to going into the office. This has led to a hybrid working model that often sees employees working both from home and in the office on alternate days. 

However, some employees are simply not enthusiastic about returning to an office environment, so if you are a business owner, how can you encourage your staff to return to the office?

Incentives, of course. Here are some effective ways you can encourage staff back to in-person office working, even if you offer hybrid working arrangements.

Prioritising staff health and wellbeing

The time to prioritise your employees’ mental wellbeing is now more than ever, as a result of the aftermath of the pandemic. The COVID-19 lockdowns impacted millions of people, and for some employees, it may have had a detrimental effect on their mental wellbeing, thus, they may feel discouraged from returning to the office. 

As a solution, it would be worthwhile reviewing your current company health and wellbeing policy and finding ways to further develop strategies already in place. You might also implement new activities such as mindful lunch walks, or outsource an on-site counselling service that staff have access to during work hours. 

Office-specific perks

To incentivise your staff into returning to the office, you must be willing to offer perks and rewards that are only available in-office. For example, you could provide delicious and affordable (or free…) catering services for both breakfast and lunch, or even gift your staff a doughnut box specifically designed for the office! 

You may want to consider daily fresh fruit baskets, coffee machine upgrades, or an assortment of snacks (healthy and not-so-healthy) that are replenished every day to help alleviate the costs of workers buying their own snacks for the office. In the process, you can also help encourage healthy living.

These food-related incentives are a great way to foster bonding between employees, helping to facilitate conversations, and they are perfect for encouraging staff to come to the office. Who wouldn’t want free food?

Flexible working arrangements

Employees have become extremely familiar and comfortable with working from home during the lockdowns, so it is not surprising that they may be unwilling or pessimistic about going back to face-to-face work. With advances in technology enabling remote communication and collaboration without compromising efficiency and productivity, working in the office might almost seem useless. 

Consequently, employers introduced the hybrid working model so that employees can get the best of both worlds. In fact, one survey found that 77% of companies adopted a hybrid arrangement to incentivise employees to return to office working. So, it seems that businesses have had to adapt to the current situation, which is that employees want to work from home, too. 

You could incorporate a 6:4 office to working from home policy, where employees spend 60% of their week in the office and 40% of it working from home – or in other ratios, depending on what you believe will be best for your business and staff members. 

Alongside this, you could offer flexibility in employee working hours – in particular, early finishes or late starts compared to a standard 9 to 5 working routine. This can benefit employees’ work-life balance, especially if they have childcare duties or hobbies that they have had to cut time on due to work. 

Revamping the office

It is possible that some of your employees have not stepped foot into the office in over a year or two, therefore it may be a good idea to revitalise the office space to welcome both new and existing employees back to face-to-face working. A clean workspace can help boost concentration and productivity, so don’t forget to have the office cleaned regularly. 

In addition to this, it may be a worthwhile investment to upgrade not only the office tech equipment like computers, but also the office chairs and desks and lounge areas, so that employees are able to feel comfortable and relaxed. Ergonomic chairs are the best type of chairs you could invest in when it comes to making your employees comfortable and saving them from back and neck pain. 

How about some bean bags for employees to rest on, or even a dart board for some entertainment? This is provided that staff don’t get too distracted by these, of course. Nonetheless, these will surely entice your staff to come to the office. 

Installing sanitary equipment like hand sanitiser machines are a definite must in the post-pandemic workplace, and a possible refurbishment of the toilet areas to ensure first-class hygiene and cleanliness would also be a great way to encourage employees to return.