Your company may be offering employees a hybrid work arrangement post-Covid, with flexibility in terms of working some days in the office and some from home. That’s become a well-accepted given for recruiting and retention. (For insights on ongoing remote work, see this Forbes article.)
But many CEOs and executive leaders also appreciate the many advantages to having employees spend time in the office, from bridging functional silos to innovative collaboration. Here are five ideas for ways to encourage employees 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. You might consider hosting an onsite volunteer activity, like a corporate meal-packing event that doubles as a team-building activity. You could gather employees at the office to stuff backpacks with school supplies or or build bikes for kids in foster care with Together We Rise. Or 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 disaster areas.
Get those office fitness centers reopened and maybe add some new reasons for employees to plan a workout there. That could be yoga classes, a fitness competition, group training for an upcoming corporate race or walk for charity. Or add some exciting new exercise equipment that employees will be excited about. Peloton’s new corporate wellness program is a great way to engage employees, whether the company helps make the home equipment and memberships more affordable or adds Peloton bikes and treads to the corporate gyms. After many months of home exercise, employees might be in the mood for a new routine or the chance to work out with others again.
3. LEADERSHIP MEET-AND-GREETS
In Tribe’s national employee survey on remote work, one of the things respondents said they missed was the chance to be visible to management. You might think about hosting a weekly get together with one or more members of the leadership team that’s open to any employees working in the office that day. You could frame the events around a certain topic that employees would like to know more about, structure it as a Q&A session, or just serve coffee and doughnuts and let people mingle.
4. ERG EVENTS
Your employee resource groups have likely been quiet, if not inactive, during the pandemic. You might encourage them to host on-site events or activities. The LGBTQ+ ERG might host an on-site fundraiser to support a trans youth organization; the women’s ERG might have a speaker come in to discuss how the pandemic has impacted female professionals’ career tracks; the African-American professionals ERG could hold a round table on Black Lives Matter. Give employees a reason to get together at the office around causes or issues they’re passionate about.
Don’t underestimate the power of food, preferably free food. Provide a catered breakfast in all the break rooms on certain days of the week. Pick one day a week to have a handful of food trucks show up on site. Spring for a weekly happy hour juice bar. Or even a real happy hour with beer and wine on one Friday each month. 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.
Interested in strengthening in-office engagement? Tribe can help.