Employees have been working from home for over two years now. They’ve figured out how to recreate their workspaces, how to get the best light for video calls, and how to remain productive away from the office.
That’s understandable. Working from home has added a lot of benefits to the workforce. It’s eliminated time spent commuting and allowed people to spend more time with their families and invest in their personal pursuits. It’s also allowed people to find more flexibility within their workdays and figure out the unique schedules that make them most productive.
As much as the distance from the office can be a good thing, though, those same benefits can be an obstacle to the communication and inspiration that happens best in person. If you’re ready to get back in the office and are struggling to come up with ways to entice employees to come join you after being away for so long, try some of these incentives.
According to research from the Blackhawk Network, cash is still king when it comes to employee incentives as 62% of respondents said that monetary bonuses would get them back to the office. If that’s not your company’s style, remember that time is also money. In addition to one-time bonuses, employees who return could be rewarded with extra paid time off or shorter work weeks. For a certain amount of days in the office, reward them with a day working from home or a day off altogether.
Cater snacks and meals
We’ve grown used to having access to our own kitchens for snacking and cooking between meetings. With a return to the office imminent, employees may be concerned about packing healthy snacks and the cost of eating out for lunch again. As they settle back into the office routine, help them worry about one less thing by catering meals. If you’re starting with a few days a week back in the office, provide breakfast on some days and lunch on the others. Knowing there’s a fresh meal waiting in the office will allow everyone to focus on getting back up to speed in other areas.
Proper hydration is just as important as full stomachs. With our new Standup 2.0 water dispenser, your employees have the ability to customize what’s in their glass. In addition to hot and cold and still and sparkling water options, everyone can also add delicious flavors and healthy enhancements like electrolytes and immunity. With health concerns still top of mind, hydrating and boosting immune systems has never been more important, and a Bevi water cooler makes it easy and fun.
During this time away from the office, people have moved out of the cities where their companies are headquartered. New talent has been recruited from across the country. People who work together every day have never been in the same room.
Get everyone on the same page and excited about working together by throwing a return to office kickoff party. Fly in the satellite offices, plan a schedule of strategic and social programming, and remind everyone how much fun it is to be working toward a common goal in the same space.
Welcome back gifts
Show returning employees how happy you are to have them back with a sustainable gift. It could be a work bag made from recycled materials or a reusable water bottle or it could be something specific to the return. Similar to providing meals, covering commuting costs or childcare shows that you’re aware of the extra effort that you’re asking of your employees and that you’re willing to help them through it.
If there isn’t one item or category that makes sense for everyone, allow employees to expense a one-time purchase on something that makes them excited to return to the office. It could be used on plants for their desk, a new outfit, or anything else that contributes to good feelings about being back.
Other resources for a smooth return
It’s only natural that employees will need a nudge to get back into the office after an extended time away from it. Don’t be afraid to involve the whole company in the process of finding the best way to navigate this transition. They’re the experts on the materials and resources that will successfully fill up your office again.
As you make your plan, make sure to consult a few more of our return to office guides like How to mentally prepare for a return to the office, What makes the happiest employees, and 4 ways to ensure a smooth return to the office for all employees.