After almost three years of creating and managing distributed workplaces, business leaders worldwide have decided it’s time to get things back to “normal” and invite their employees to return to the office. What some of them may have trouble understanding is that after working remotely for so long, employees don’t want to relinquish the increased work flexibility and work/life balance this work model offers.
If you want to attract your employees to work from the office more often, you need to accept all the changes that the pandemic has brought, acknowledging that your employees’ needs and requirements regarding the workplace have changed. Simply put, you need to offer added value to the office-based work to motivate your employees to work from the office more often.
This said, creating an optimal hybrid workplace will be a challenging process. You may achieve this by identifying and optimizing the advantages of in-person work while ensuring that your remote workers don’t feel isolated or left out of the entire process.
One thing is certain if you focus on connection, collaboration, creativity, and culture that can flourish in the office and overcome all the challenges that may come your way, your employees will come to the office more often and feel good about it.
The lack of in-person communication and social interaction is one of the significant downsides of remote work. Even though advanced communication and video conferencing platforms secured seamless communication and interaction, many employees were soon overwhelmed by this virtual communication.
As social beings, employees soon started feeling lonely and missing the coffee breaks and water cooler conversations with their friends from work.
Much-needed social interaction and in-person communication may be significant motivators for employees to come to the office more often. Some surveys even show that employees with a best friend at work seem to be more productive and engaged.
If you want to attract employees back to the office you need to foster creating strong interpersonal relationships as a segment of the company culture. Your employees need open communication with you, their team, other teams, and their best friends at work and still be highly productive.
Here are several tips to help you achieve this:
- Encourage your employees to spend time talking about work and non-work-related topics alike
- Spend some intentional, focused time with your employees listening to their ideas and suggestions.
- Encourage your employees to discuss and adjust their “work from office” schedules so that they can work together. Analyze these schedules to determine the best time for the entire team to gather in the office.
- Organize company lunches and coffee breaks where employees can socialize and get to know each other on a personal level.
- Organize social events on-site so that you can bring your hybrid team closer together.
It’s needless to say how beneficial cross-team in-person collaboration can be. Employees can be more creative, innovative, and productive when working together and exchanging ideas with colleagues in the office. Even though numerous studies backed with employee remote monitoring software data show that remote workers were highly productive during the pandemic, cross-team collaboration in virtual workspaces had shortcomings.
Employees collaborating remotely can struggle to stay focused on their work long turn limited by screen sharing and virtual interactions.
On the other hand, encouraging frequent on-site collaboration may put your remote part of the team in a difficult position where they may start feeling left out from brainstorming sessions or decision-making.
So here’s what you can do to provide a level playing field for all your team members when it comes to collaboration.
- Schedule office-based work days when you know that your business and productivity can benefit from in-person collaboration.
- Listen to your remote team members to find out what platforms and tools involved in cross-team collaboration make it easier for them to participate in creative processes and communicate with office-based team members.
- Ensure that your remote and office-based employees have equal development and mentorship opportunities.
The fact is that creativity and innovation can drive your business success and that they can derive from spontaneous brainstorming and planned collaboration alike. This said employee creativity suffered significantly during remote work because employees’ lacked the spontaneity of social interaction and in-person communication where simple coffee breaks can spur creativity.
Even though business leaders go above and beyond to create optimal digital spaces for remote teams’ planned collaboration, nothing can compare with exchanging ideas on-site in collaborative shared spaces.
If you want to create and maintain innovation in your hybrid work environment, ensure that the remote part of your team participates in all planned and spontaneous brainstorming sessions and that their creative input is appreciated.
- Motivate employees to spend more time together working on different ideas
- Organize team meetings where you would discuss different ideas and share various experiences.
- Create appealing innovation spaces and equip them with video conferencing and virtual collaboration tools so that your remote team members can actively participate in creative processes.
Creating a balanced hybrid workplace can be a challenge. But if you want to see your employees work from the office try to motivate them by fostering collaboration, communication, and creativity with the help of advanced technology.
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