Written by Sean Li • April 29, 2021
The return to work is the latest challenge of the COVID-19 era. Life has changed, and office standards (plus employee expectations) won’t be the same. This is stressful for employees and employers alike.
How can organizations encourage workers to return? First, the basics. Communicate early and often about policies and procedures. Stay updated and bookmark safety guidelines from the CDC and local officials.
Beyond that, here are six ways to make the shift a smooth transition for employees.
We’ve heard it a million times, but it’s just as relevant: safety must remain a top priority. Create a checklist of requirements before staff returns.
These investments may be costly. But consider the financial effects of having multiple employees get sick and quit due to poor safety standards. Safety standards are a moral obligation and a savvy business move.
Create a list of perks that employees have missed out on during COVID-19. Mix fun with functional.
Some employers are creating theme days such as Mario Kart Monday and Waffle Wednesday. Sometimes the most effective incentive is straightforward FOMO. Remember that many people are missing social connection. A Slack survey found nearly half of newly remote workers say their sense of belonging has been negatively affected.
Employees can still bond over a shared meal. Reward your teammates coming back with catered breakfast and lunch. This will also keep them inside the office, boosting productivity and minimizing outside exposure.
If you're looking for a office catering solution, CaterCow partners with local restaurants and caterers looking to keep their business alive after a difficult 2020. These meals can be individually wrapped, and all caterers are consistently vetted and pass regular quality control tests.
A wide variety of cuisine and seasonal options will give your returning employees an extra boost. We all know one of the biggest reasons office life used to be tolerated - free food!
Things have changed. The switch back to office life is going to be difficult for many and requires drastic changes to routines and habits. Help employees through the transition with flexibility and familiarity. For instance,
The well-being software industry is more relevant after COVID-19. These services help employers invest in the collective health of their organization. Examples include:
Alternatively, many of these ideas can be designed manually. For example, use FitBit devices to create a step challenge or launch a health council to design wellness plans.
For many employees, there’s only one thing that would make them comfortable with returning to the office. After all, most workers have piled up savings due to quarantine life and now have to take on a commute or return to public transit.
Identify options for financial bonuses or other incentives for returning to work. Look for ways to make commutes either via carpool programs or public transport stipends. Financial incentives are especially important for those with offices in urban areas. According to Stanford research, employees reported a 25 percent drop in demand to work in high-rise offices in 2021.
The return to work will require communication, safety, and employee support. It’s a new challenge for employers and an unprecedented workforce circumstance. It’ll take creative ideas and patience to make it work. Whether you're providing catered office lunch, allowing pets, or providing financial perks, take steps now to plan out ways to welcome and reward those coming back.