Hybrid work is an excellent alternative for employees who are not very eager to return to work in the office. How can companies encourage them to do so and still ensure that they remain engaged and motivated?
During the pandemic, we had to deal with several lockdowns and, because of that, companies needed to implement a fully remote working model.
Although this change of paradigm was hard on some employees, bringing feelings of isolation, communication hardship, and time management, for others it has brought a myriad of benefits.
A large part of employees value the convenience of working from home because of the schedule flexibility and the absence of commuting. There is a better balance between employees’ personal and professional lives, which is also reflected in their performance, so there is sometimes some reluctance to return to previous practices.
Several companies have decided to embrace a hybrid working model to encourage their employees to return to the office in a natural way. In this way, employees can work part of the time from home, or elsewhere, and part of the time from the office.
However, giving employees the chance to work from home for a few days isn’t enough to make them want to come to the office more often. In this article, we provide 9 tips to encourage employees to return to the office that leaders can use so that office days become a source of motivation and enthusiasm for their employees – and not something they do just because they have to.
9 Tips to Encourage Your Employees to Embrace Hybrid Work
1. Offer Flexibility and Choice
Having flexibility and choice in a hybrid work model is a good starting point for increasing employee satisfaction, commitment, loyalty, and productivity. This allows employees to accommodate their lifestyles, needs, and preferences to their work.
Companies can offer their employees the option of choosing when they want to work in the office, the most convenient hours, as well as their working methods, as long as this is in line with the work to be done.
2. Determine the Reason to Return to the Office
When remote working was introduced, there was a good reason for this: to be aware of the health and safety of all workers. Even those who were against this working model understood why it was necessary.
To encourage employees to return to the office, you also need a good reason. While working from home is comfortable and flexible, it’s also true that on-site work has its own benefits.
Although the IT professional’s tasks can be carried out from home, being in the office helps reconnect with colleagues, strengthens work teams, and also benefits mental health by reducing feelings of isolation.
Companies should try to find a way to clearly communicate the value of returning to the office at least a few days a week.
3. Revitalize the Office
Another point to consider is the physical space of the office. Companies need to make the workplace a space their employees want to return to. Hardly any worker feels comfortable in an environment with little natural light or old-fashioned work equipment.
With this in mind, many companies are focused on creating more social and recreational spaces and offering more access to (free and healthy) food.
Some companies are also invested in privacy. During the pandemic, many employees were forced to work from home without having a private environment designated for working without distractions.
For these employees, having access to a private place in the office (perhaps just the psychological side of having a door to close) can be a real benefit and provide a great increase in productivity.
4. Provide Solutions to Personal Issues
While working remotely, people found it easier to handle personal issues. Employees had greater flexibility and even more time for household chores and shopping, taking care of their physical and mental health, and looking after children and/or the elderly.
With this in mind, it’s very important to show employees that they can continue to take care of these matters from the office. Companies should implement actions and amenities that add value. An example of this could be to create partnerships with markets, stores, and other services near the office.
Companies can offer educational resources or tutoring for employees who support their children in their studies. Some even offer special grants for childcare, elderly care, and even pet care. Others set up their own on-site nursery or kindergartens.
To support employees’ health and well-being, many companies create partnerships or offer free access to local gyms or apps that support meditation, healthy eating, mental health, etc. Some even use office space to create fully equipped gyms.
5. Celebrate All Victories
Remote or hybrid employees don’t perceive their colleagues’ achievements as easily, except when they are shared by team leaders. They must strive to establish connections with all team members.
It’s also very important to celebrate all kinds of victories or events. Celebrating birthdays, employment anniversaries, and even small milestones or achievements is one of the best ways to make employees feel acknowledged and appreciated.
Any kind of celebration helps employees feel good and appreciate their working environment, which motivates them to be more present in the office. For example, KWAN celebrated Brazilian Independence Day with our Brazilian employees by playing a lively playlist of Brazilian music and filling the pantry with typical Brazilian food and beverages. An initiative that was greatly appreciated because we created the context for an occasion that would otherwise be more difficult to celebrate, considering that they are in a foreign country. On the other hand, it was an excellent way of motivating employees to work in the office that day.
Highlighting different employees for their victories (whether they were achieved at the kitchen table or at the office desk) makes them feel valued, which contributes to an increase in their productivity and commitment.
6. Prioritize the Employees’ Mental Health
For many employees, working remotely has somewhat blurred the line between professional and personal life. This has triggered many cases of burnout, which have become a real threat to mental health and productivity.
When implementing a hybrid working model, companies must take on a moderating role when setting and enforcing employee tasks. For instance, leaders should limit the number of lengthy meetings and encourage employees to take more breaks.
Employees are more likely to be committed to their work and to the company if they feel that their leaders genuinely care about their well-being. Going one step further, companies can also provide psychological guidance so that their employees always feel supported.
This approach on the part of companies can lead to a high level of satisfaction and retention in the long term.
7. Promote a Culture of Feedback
Encouraging a culture of feedback in hybrid work settings is vital if leaders and the company wish to support their employees. Receiving honest opinions from team members allows for adjustments that can make the hybrid work experience more efficient, productive, motivating, and comfortable.
Companies should encourage their employees to express their opinions and feelings on any issue that may be hindering productivity. Leaders can set up ongoing feedback meetings, provide forms, or even do individual follow-ups to better assess team morale.
Another method of monitoring employee satisfaction includes a technique called 360-degree Feedback. This format allows evaluations to be made based on the opinions of everyone in the company, including superiors, subordinates, service providers, and clients.
8. Invest in Cutting-edge Technology
When it comes to productivity, companies must make every effort to provide their employees with quality technology. The use of state-of-the-art software, hardware, and any other type of equipment makes a big difference in the quality of work, employee effort, and motivation.
Companies that make the effort to fill their offices with cutting-edge technology will certainly reap many benefits in the medium and long run. Employees feel encouraged to be in the office and access new programs and equipment. By doing so, they will be able to make their processes more efficient and improve the quality of their work.
Many companies also choose to purchase comfortable and ergonomic work equipment so that their employees can work at their best, reducing the risk of injury, and improving performance and productivity.
Developers value several types of equipment, from vertical mice to stand-up desks. In this article, we give you some tips on ergonomics at work that can help you understand which equipment you should prioritize purchasing.
9. Adjust the Culture of the Company
There’s no point in trying to establish a hybrid working model if the company culture doesn’t keep up with the change. It’s crucial that the company truly offers employees autonomy and choice.
If hybrid work is an option, employees shouldn’t feel the need to work in the office to gain respect or progress in their careers. Or, by contrast, they shouldn’t feel uncomfortable when working in the office, at all.
Moreover, team leaders must be well prepared to deal with hybrid teams. The company must offer continuous training to enable leaders to manage their employees effectively.
Companies that succeed in promoting this type of experience in their hybrid work model will be able to keep their employees motivated and engaged at work, both on the days they stay at home and on the days they go to the office.
9 Tips to Encourage the Return to the Office – Final Remarks
Many companies are adopting the hybrid work model as a way of having more employees working on-site. Given the degree of flexibility and personal benefits associated with remote work, companies need to implement strong mechanisms to encourage employees to return to the office.
Not only does the company culture need to be adjusted to a hybrid work model, but the workspace also needs to be revitalized and new technologies and equipment need to be added, both in terms of software and hardware, to make employees feel motivated and enthusiastic.
But you don’t have to be the only one working on the motivation of your tech team! KWAN has extensive experience in outsourcing IT professionals and a team of certified coaches, our People Managers. We can assist you in your mission to motivate and guide your team, ensuring it remains united and productive, meeting the project’s targets. Get in touch and let’s assess together the needs of your tech team.