5 ways to help employees return to the office

Employee preference for working from home is still overwhelmingly high, so what can employers do to revitalise office-based modes of work?

Written by Editor Medibank

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over. Even when the current health crisis has passed, our new ways of living and working are set to continue.

Employers are already reckoning with a workforce that has become accustomed to working from home. Employees like the safety, flexibility and convenience of logging on from the same place they’re waking up.

The modern office - and the modern employer - therefore needs to consider how to present an appealing alternative.

Here are five ways you can support your employees to return to the office.

First, have a clear COVID-19 safety plan

Employees want reassurance that their workplace is risk-free, with up to 78% of site-based workers fearing exposure to COVID-19 or other health risks, according to research by the New South Wales Innovation and Productivity Council.

Developing, implementing and communicating a clear COVID-19 safety plan should therefore form the cornerstone of every employer’s return to work strategy. These safety plans can help assure your employees that their health is a priority.

Safety plan requirements vary by state/territory; check your relevant government website for more information.

Reward employees for their presence in the office

There are plenty of ways employers can help employees get excited about returning to the office. Bendigo Bank, for instance, has successfully used incentives like cake and coffee to encourage employees to return.

In another example, ANZ’s Melbourne office employed a DJ to play in the foyer as employees arrived to work to create a fun and energetic atmosphere.

Promote team bonding opportunities on-site

After some time away from the office, some teams may need a little extra support to reconnect. Encourage interactions such as team lunches, lunchtime fitness and morning coffee runs.

A recent report by Medibank on workplace connection suggests some additional ways to create socialisation opportunities at work.

Provide employee support for returning to work

Where possible, give employees the option to work in the environment that best suits their needs, rather than mandating days in or out of the office.

For example, Medibank employees who opt to come into the office can choose between high or low concentration zones to help facilitate the kind of working space they need.

The key here is to listen to what your employees’ needs are.

Communicate the benefits of office-based working

Once you’ve solidified your return to work strategy, promote the benefits to your employees through transparent and accessible internal communication. Nobody will take up the benefits if they don’t know what they are.

Putting it all into action

If you want to support your employees to feel more comfortable about returning to the office, we can help. Medibank also offers a range of services for corporate customers, such as onsite messages and smoothie stands, to provide office-based perks for your employees.

Email your account manager if you have one or get in touch at corporate@medibank.com.au

READ MORE: The benefits of a connected workforce

Written by Editor Medibank

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