Businesses are attempting a return to pre-pandemic operating conditions, including having everyone return to the office. However, they are facing resistance from employees who prefer working remotely. Some have even threatened to resign if their employers do not allow them to work from home.
In the face of this resistance and downright refusal to return to the office, employers are rethinking their strategy to achieve this goal. Here are ways you can convince your remote workers to come back to the office.
Many workers have found great comfort in working from home. It gave them a sense of safety being away from the risk of a Covid infection. They are hesitant to return to the office, fearful that they might get sick. Employers should emphasize the precautions they are taking to prevent this, including a visitor management system from Greetly that allows the company to track guests and do contact tracing if someone gets sick.
Send employees pictures of your newly configured office that ensures social distancing. Discuss and explain other measures that workers must comply with for everyone’s safety, such as mandatory mask-wearing and hand hygiene. You might need to keep your breakroom and communal kitchen closed for now. Ensure that staff members remain informed.
People took to remote work as it allowed them to incorporate other commitments into their workday. For example, parents could collect their children from school or get their grocery shopping done when stores were quieter. Employers should acknowledge this and remain as flexible as possible, understanding that many families are adapting to a new schedule after losing loved ones.
Embrace the idea of a hybrid model that gives both sides something they want. For example, insist that everyone is in the office on specific days for appointments and meetings or during the mornings, allowing them to work the rest of the time remotely if they prefer.
While employees have managed to work from home, a lot of time for creative collaboration and interaction with others was sacrificed along the way. A lack of face-to-face contact with colleagues and employees has taken its toll on working relationships. People do not have one-on-one exchanges to learn more about each other and build respect for their similarities and differences.
In-person collaboration is essential for innovation. While a team can work together remotely, it does not offer the same quality output as when they are in the same room. Brainstorming works best when people occupy a shared space. Remind employees of this to encourage them to return.
Many companies discovered that some of their pre-pandemic ways were hampering productivity. For example, daily meetings were reduced to bi-weekly gatherings. If this had no significant impact on the company’s performance, use this new approach as a lesson learned from Covid.
Use the technology Covid highlighted, such as using project management software and alternative communication methods. These can be incorporated into the company’s daily operations. For example, continue submitting progress reports via email instead of traveling to meet superiors at other locations.
If you encounter a brick wall when trying to get employees to return to the office, speak to them individually to establish what makes them hesitant. Such discussions could yield valuable insight and bring issues you might not have been aware of to your attention. Once you understand where people are coming from, you can start thinking of ways to accommodate them.
Allow workers to feel like they are part of the process of returning to pre-pandemic conditions. If they feel their concerns are taken seriously, they are likelier to cooperate, even if they must compromise.