Working from home has made life significantly easier for many workers. Childcare, errands, and the ability to take breaks according to a less rigid schedule seem to have improved the lives of many while causing little to no reduction in productivity.
Yet, there are clear benefits to meeting in person. Certain kinds of social and intellectual exchanges happen much better in person than remotely. If you have talented employees, and you want them to share their knowledge with others, you’ll likely desire at least some in-person interaction. At the same time, given how tight the labor market is, it might still be in your best interest to offer a work-from-home option.
So, if your office is hybrid, how do you incentivize your remote employees to come into work, at least occasionally?
First and foremost, if you’re inviting employees back into the office, make sure that you’re doing so safely. With a large minority of the country still unvaccinated and with the more contagious delta variant circulating, ensuring that your workforce is vaccinated and/or has adequate physical protection is a must. Many want to work from home because they fear contracting COVID-19.
However, once you have ensured the physical safety of your team, there are perks that you can offer to attract people back into the office. Here are a few to consider:
One of the biggest reasons why people sometimes aren’t thrilled to return to work is that it can mean a significantly longer amount of time on the road. Commutes are downright harmful to health, and there’s a good case to avoid them if possible. However, if you want the benefits of working together in the office, including things like social learning and community building, then you might consider paying employees a stipend for their commute. This can help offset the true pain that commuting causes. Offering discounted parking might also ease the pain of the transition back into the office.
Increased Time Off
One of the best ways to attract talent during the Great Resignation is to offer more time off, particularly if you are trying to get workers back to the office. Giving workers time off for commuting recognizes what the commute really is: time and energy that they are investing in their jobs. By providing them with compensation in the form of time off, you’re recognizing just how much time your employees are truly investing in their work.
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Create Social Learning Opportunities
Zoom meetings are draining in ways that in-person meetings are not. Especially for Gen Z, who are now entering the workforce, the social connections that work offers can be of significant benefit. Think about what sort of team-based activities you can do only in person. Employees may be more likely to come in to work if you offer professional development activities that can only be done in person. Your team might find that coming back to the office is more palatable if there is a good reason to do so.
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One of the most meaningful investments you can make in your employees is to help care for their children. The convenience of offering at-site childcare can take the sting out of the return to the office, particularly because one of the main attractions of working at home is the ease of childcare. However, if you offer after-school tutoring or daycare, you can make the workplace even more attractive and convenient for your employees in the long run.
Offer Extra Bonuses or In-Office Perks
Some companies are offering a bonus system or lottery for employees to show up in person. Others are increasing the number of unique in-office perks, like free food, free coffee, workout equipment, yoga, massage tables, etc. Keep in mind, though, that according to a recent survey, a majority of workers who were offered a $30,000 raise or the option to work from home chose the latter. In-office perks like this can be a nice addition to these other strategies, but, on their own, they probably won’t move the needle much.