As the world begins to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic and transitions back to normality, many employers are trying to figure out how to encourage employees to come back to the office. In early 2020, the pandemic changed the lives of everyone and forced people to transition to working remotely.
This sudden change was difficult in the beginning, but as people adjusted to this new remote work environment, it became very popular and made employees reluctant to return to the office post-COVID-19. Employers will need to develop solid return-to-office plans that will make employees more excited about coming back to work in person.
How to Navigate Employees Coming Back to the Office
According to a survey, only about 2% of employees would prefer to be in the office full time. With current and prospective employees valuing the option to work remotely, this will surely have a significant impact on return-to-office plans. It will be very important for companies to formulate plans that will emphasize the benefits of working out of an office but also embrace the benefits of remote and hybrid work options.
When employers are developing their return-to-office plans, they should remind their employees of the benefits of being in an office and listen to their suggestions and concerns. Return-to-office plans must address how employees will reconnect and collaborate with each other. These plans should also develop a culture that acknowledges and embraces the “new normal.”
Companies can include their employees in the development of their plans by asking them their opinions on working from home and in the office for the following reasons:
- To develop a plan that works for everyone on the team: Including employees in the details of returning to the office will help companies develop the best work-from-home procedures for their company as they figure out their plans going forward.
- To meet their employees’ professional needs: Employers will also need to develop an understanding of what employees need to succeed and be comfortable when coming back to the office post-COVID-19.
- To acknowledge the changes brought on by the pandemic: The inclusion of employees in this process will only help employers going forward because their employees are not the same people they were back in the early months of 2020.
- To create a healthy sense of work-life balance: People have appreciated the increased flexibility and time with their loved ones and want to preserve this as much as possible.
Coming Back to the Office Post COVID-19
The return to office post-COVID-19 will impact the dynamic of the workplace and have impacts on the personal lives of employees. There is still a fear of getting sick and spreading the virus. Some of the ways that companies can help their employees feel safe include:
- Health screenings and cleaning: Companies must reassure their employees that they will do everything in their power to protect them from getting sick in their return to the office by adjusting their safety procedures. They can provide regular health screenings, socially distanced desks and increasing cleaning.
- Increased sick and mental health days: As mentioned earlier, employees have changed since the start of the pandemic, and mental health has become a major issue for many more people. This change brings up a great opportunity for employers to revamp their attendance and sick day policies by being flexible with employees who contract the virus and granting their employees mental health days.
Being flexible with employees when they have COVID-19 or are awaiting test results will help ensure employees are not coming to work sick and will lower the risk of an outbreak in the workplace. Adjusting policies and procedures will show their employees that they are committed to making sure that they are comfortable in their return to the office while also showing that they understand the impacts that the pandemic has had on mental health.
Office Changes That Will Excite Employees to Return to Work
Remote work is leading to employees missing out on many of the benefits of working from an office, such as interacting with coworkers. Working from home has changed the way employees interact with each other, and many will agree that those interactions are one of the things they miss the most about the office. Employers can use this to encourage employees to return to the office, but it might be difficult to convince employees to leave their homes to come back to work in person.
A creative redesign of the office and its communal spaces could make employees more excited about coming back to work. Refreshing the office environment will give employees something else to look forward to besides interacting with coworkers and will provide a nice incentive for returning to the office.
These redesigned areas can be used as break spaces or small event spaces that encourage those informal interactions employees have missed out on since early 2020. If the employees that take longer to return see the early returners are having a positive experience, they may be more motivated to return to the office, as well.
Tropical Design Elements to Encourage More Employees to Come Into the Office
Transforming the office into a more fun and welcoming space will go a long way in encouraging employees to return to work and reconnect with their coworkers. Not sure how to redesign your office? Transforming outdoor areas into a tropical-themed break area will surely be a nice surprise for returning employees. This would be a great option for employees to spend lunch breaks together or gather after work and chat around burning tiki torches.
The return to the office might be difficult for some employees, but who would not love the feeling of a tropical getaway at their workplace? To introduce this new addition to the office, you can have a company luau to celebrate the return to the office and show appreciation for the hard work your employees have put in since they have been gone.
Check out these tropical design ideas for your business:
- Room dividers: Your employees may be nervous about coming back to work because they worry the office will be crowded. In that case, give them peace of mind by setting up room dividers with bamboo poles or paneling. These products are suitable for indoor or outdoor use, and they give a sense of privacy to every employee to help maintain social distancing.
- Outdoor meeting spaces: Establishing a sense of comradery in the workplace can help those hesitant to come back feel welcome again. Set up outdoor meeting spaces with natural thatch or synthetic thatch roofing. You may also want to set up umbrellas with thatch covers to provide a place for employees to sit and eat outside.
- Outdoor offices: Weather permitting, you may even want to create an outdoor office to help keep your employees safe and healthy. Being out in the sun and fresh air will boost your employees’ moods and increase productivity. Use thatch roofing and umbrellas or set up a VIRO dome for a unique tropical spot to work.
Design Your Commercial Space With Tropical Decor From BYXS Commercial
As the world starts to get back to normal post-COVID-19 and people transition back to working from an office, some people will need a little extra motivation to return to work. It is important that employers develop strong plans for returning to work and include employees in this process.
It will certainly be important for them to accommodate their employees’ needs and make the return to the office as rewarding as possible. This might be through policy change for some companies, and for others, it might be as simple as encouraging their employees to reconnect with each other by enjoying their new tropical-themed break areas together.