After 2 years of consistent remote working, the statistics are clear: by the end of 2021. Approximately 37 percent of workers in the UK wish to work from home some of the time after the Coronavirus pandemic is over. With one in five who want to work from home all the time.
If you’re a leader, you may be wondering how to encourage employees to come back to the office.
As CEOs and government are eager to get people to populate the offices again, is becoming clearer that employees are not on the same wavelength. The Future Forum, developed by workplace messaging platform Slack, surveyed more than 10,000 workers globally in the summer of 2021. And what emerged was an “executive-employee disconnect” with regard to returning to work.
Three-quarters of all executives reported they ideally want to work from the office three to five days a week. Compared with about one-third of employees. Among executives who have primarily worked completely remotely through the pandemic, 44% said they wanted to come back to the office every day. Just 17% of employees agreed.
This Disconnect Could be Caused by a Few Different Reasons:
- Work environment: Many executives aren’t experiencing the same working environment as their employees, and this is especially true in medium to large companies, where most of the time executives have their own office and a better setup at work than the rest of the employees, making it harder to relate to their working environment.
- Cultural mythology: it’s likely for the executive-employee disconnect to be caused by a division between what is best for the company and what is best for the individual. While management can often feel like creativity is boosted while the team is face-to-face and working together, the reality is that group thinking leads to group thinking. Allowing individual employees to submit ideas on their own, removed from a group setting, proved to produce more creative ideas. Therefore, asking people to come back to the office full-time in order to “boost creativity” has proven to be a myth.
- Work pace: Executives rely on face-to-face communication to get a better sense of what’s going on throughout their organizations, and find it easier to monitor the working pace when they have the employees in front of them. On the other end, employees might see a full-time return to the office as an expression of a micromanaging employer.
However, studies have also underlined how 37% of remote workers have reported a decline in mental health after working from home. Remote working makes it more likely for employees to work through illness. Find it more difficult to separate private life and work, and end up working longer hours consistently.
Even though working remotely has a lot of perks, some employees might feel lonely, isolated, and lacking social interactions. One-third of remote workers also admitted that their working stations were not suitable. And this has resulted in an increase in muscle-skeletal issues related to bad posture and uncomfortable working settings.
So What Would be the Best Solution for Everyone?
So far, the best approach for a win-win solution seems to be a form of hybrid working, and by 2023 more than two in five companies will have adopted this model permanently post-pandemic.
In the meantime, there are some ways in which companies can gradually encourage their employees to go back to the office:
- Make sure employees feel safe: being empathetic, especially after a long pandemic, is essential to encourage people back to the workplace. And while for some COVID-19 is a fading memory. Employers need to keep in consideration employees who still need to isolate or live with someone vulnerable. More flexibility would be suggested in this case.
- Employee incentives, such as Employee Reward Schemes, are highly valued by employees. Rewards and recognition of an individual’s performance can sometimes be even more meaningful than a salary increase.
- Organizing wellness workshops and speakers on subjects that are likely to be personal and professional. Interest and being aligned with physical and mental health can be good reasons to attend the office.
- Organising caterers to provide lunch on set days of the week: is also an incentive for many employees as it enables social gatherings. Particularly when colleagues eat together in a staff rest area. Such communal activity encourages people to network and forge closer working relationships.
- Company team events: human interaction plays a crucial role in inviting people back. Organizing a team-building event to re-ignite the spark of a team is a fantastic way to create extra buzz and level of engagement
The Cooking Academy is a provider of team-building events, and wellness in the workplace workshops. Offers a range of range schemes for employees to recognize and reward employees. If you would like to learn more about this please contact email@example.com or telephone us at 01923778880.
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Kumud Gandhi is a Nutritional Food Scientist bestselling Author, Broadcaster, and Keynote Speaker on the subject of nutritional health for productivity & performance in the workplace. In 2010 Kumud founded ‘The Cooking Academy’ a cookery school that focusses on cooking for nutritional health and wellbeing. Kumud regularly presents to international audiences on a variety of topics such as ‘Eating for Immunity and a Lifetime of Wellness’. She is an expert in the field of Wellness in the Workplace and works with organizations to create transformational change in employee health & well-being through nutrition and health coaching.