Steering people back into an in-person setting will raise expenses–and maybe some hackles–but try these ideas to rebuild camaraderie, reestablish connections and reinvigorate your staffers.
Your company may be offering employees a hybrid work arrangement post-COVID.
A hot commodity for recruiting and retention, workers have certainly earned the right to work how and when they’re most comfortable. But many company leaders also appreciate the advantages and benefits of having employees spend time in the office, from bridging silos to sparking innovative collaboration.
If you’re eager to lure employees back into the office, here are five ways to encourage people to show up on site:
1. Volunteer activities.
Help employees overcome any initial reluctance to return to the office by giving them a meaningful reason to come in.
Consider hosting an onsite volunteer activity, such as a corporate meal-packing event doubling as a team-building activity. Gather employees at the office to stuff backpacks with school supplies or build bikes for kids in foster care with Together We Rise. Groups like the Outreach Program and Rise Against Hunger will bring in bulk quantities of dry goods that teams of employees can pack, assembly-line fashion, into meal kits for the homeless or to help those affected by disasters.
2. Fitness perks.
Get those office fitness centers reopened, and consider adding incentives for employees to plan a workout there. Incentives can include yoga classes, a fitness competition or group training for an upcoming corporate race or walk for charity.
Add new exercise equipment employees will be excited to use. Peloton’s new corporate wellness program is a great way to engage employees, whether the company helps comp the home equipment and memberships or adds Peloton bikes and treadmills to the corporate gyms.
After many months of home exercise, employees might be in the mood for an active routine and the chance to workout with others again.
3. Leadership meet-and-greets.
In Tribe’s national employee survey on remote work, respondents said they missed the chance to be visible to and recognized by management. Host a weekly get-together open to all employees working in the office, and have the leadership team tag along.
These events can be framed around employee-selected topics they’d like to address. Structure the meeting as a Q&A session, or serve coffee and doughnuts and let people mingle.
4. ERG events.
Your employee resource groups may have been mostly been quiet during the pandemic. Now’s a great time to get these crucial groups going again.
Encourage them to host on-site events or activities. For instance, your LGBTQ ERG may host an on-site fundraiser to support a trans youth organization, or the women’s ERG can bring in a speaker to discuss how the pandemic has affected female professionals’ career tracks. Use your imagination, and make sure these groups have all the support they need.
Give employees a reason to convene around causes and issues they’re passionate about, and you’ll get people in the office.
Don’t underestimate the power of food (preferably of the free variety).
Provide a catered breakfast in break rooms on a few days of the week, or pick one day a week to have a handful of food trucks show up on site. You might even splurge for a weekly happy hour juice bar. Opening a real happy hour with beer and wine on one Friday each month and providing food gives people a reason to show up, and then keeps them around long enough to talk with colleagues. After the pandemic, many employees are eager to see their work friends again—and to make new ones.