As COVID-19 precautions begin to lift, many workplaces are opening back up and inviting employees to come back to the office.
But getting people excited about coming back may be easier said than done. Many of us spent the last year working from home. Although that presented many challenges, we adapted, and some of the benefits of working from home can be hard to leave. No long commute, kitchens with our favorite snacks just steps away, and the comforts of home are just a few of the things that will be hard to say goodbye to.
So as you start to open your offices back up again, here are a few ways you can improve the space to entice employees to come back.
Try New, More Flexible Policies
For many, this last year proved that working from home can not only be enjoyable, but can also be more productive. As we’ve adopted new ways of working remote, think about how you can incorporate more flexibility into your office policies. Maybe there’s a WFH (work from home) day of the week for your office, or you allow everyone to choose what days they come in and which they stay home.
Creating Intentional Time for Connection
I think there’s one thing we can all agree on: People have missed socializing with coworkers. Dogs, kiddos, and houseplants just aren’t the same as commiserating on tough work or getting excited about a win with a fellow teammate. Help boost this benefit of returning to the office by creating time for connection. Add in a monthly coffee stipend for co-workers to catch up, randomly pair members of your team to reconnect with each other, or schedule team lunches. This kind of connection is what we’ve all been waiting for, so make sure you make intentional time for it.
Stock Up on Snacks and Drinks
Don’t forget to add some favorite snacks to the kitchen before everyone arrives back at the office. Include some of the house favorite coffee, tea, or other drinks (Topo Chico anyone?). Bonus points if you send out a survey or ask for requests before you make the grocery run.
Snacks are important to stave off hunger, but people will also use “snack time” to chat with co-workers — going back to that important connection time.
Set Up a Deep Clean
Maybe this one is obvious, but it’s important to note. Even if no one has been at the office, make sure you hire a service to come and do a deep clean of your space. This will help freshen everything up before everyone returns, and help keep everyone healthy.
Give Them a Little Gift
We’ve all just made it through a very tough year, so having a small token on your employee’s desk when they return shows thoughtfulness and adds a moment of brightness as they return to their old stomping grounds. It can be something simple: a gift card to a local coffee shop, a small desk plant, even just a short note from their manager or CEO welcoming them back.
Add Some Plants (or Replace the Dead Ones)
Having plants in your office or workspace has so many benefits, like increasing productivity and creativity, improving health, and creating a more inviting space.
Houseplant sales skyrocketed in the last year as people made their homes more inviting and livable (even during a lockdown). So why not add some plants to your office space as well?
No one wants to come back to dead office plants — so if you already had plants but no one was around to water them, it’s time to replace them.
You don’t even have to take care of the plants anymore, you can hire a service to “lease” the plants, and they’ll take care of them for you. (Like us!)
Good luck returning to the office. With a few of these thoughtful changes, you can get employees excited to come back.
As always, let us know if you need help with the plants.
Note: this is not a guide on safety precautions you should take when returning to offices. You’ll need to consult local restrictions, your HR team to develop an employee return to work plan.