Remote and hybrid work has become the norm for thousands of businesses all over the world, but many organizations are making return-to-office plans a reality in 2023.
In recent research from Microsoft, 84% of employees said they would be motivated to go into the office if they could socialize with their co-workers. This comes as no surprise since we lost so much in-person, social connection over the last three years. An article in Harvard Business Review stated employee disconnection is one of the main drivers of voluntary turnover, with lonely employees costing U.S. companies up to $406 billion a year.
Therefore, it will be important for executive leaders to establish a clear and detailed return-to-office plan that not only explains when and why employees should be in the office, but really takes into account the wants and desires of its employees. A successful return-to-office plan demonstrates the organization cares about its employees, their wellbeing and their mental health.
So how can corporations rebuild workplace connections and engagement in their return-to-the-office plan? There are countless ideas, but let’s explore my top five.
5 Ideas Every Corporation Needs in Its Return-to-Office Plan
1. Create Hospitality in Your Workplace
Progressive corporations are utilizing the new trend of ‘workplace hospitality’ in their return-to-office plans. These experiences are often led by Workplace Experience Manager roles whose sole purpose is to improve employee satisfaction and a big part of this is encouraging employees to come back into the office by providing them with the spaces, technologies, facilities and services they need to thrive at work. Premium workplace hospitality experiences take the best practices from the hotel and events industry and infuse them into the office environment by treating staff like customers. These premium workplace hospitality experiences have been found to strengthen an organization’s culture and improve employee retention.
2. Make Space Booking Visible and Easy
Many return-to-office plans this year will include a hybrid office environment. Employees love the flexibility and control of working from home. Therefore, corporations need to provide that same flexibility and control of working from the office. One way to do this successfully is by having a self-serve, unified portal that simplifies finding and reserving shared spaces in the office. Conference center spaces, smaller conference and meeting rooms, amenity spaces, you name it. If you make online space booking hard, it’s going to be less likely your staff will want to continue to come into the office.
3. Streamline Inventory Management
Part of building more connection and culture in the workplace involves increased collaboration and in-office activities. Therefore, make sure you not only have the necessary tools to conduct these types of in-office events, but you have a streamlined process for managers to request their inventory needs. The last thing you want is a manager running into a chair shortage for a team meeting or not being able to find an LCD projector. From A/V equipment, furniture arrangement and other essential inventory, it is those little meeting details that can make or break coming back into the office. Have a streamlined inventory management process in your return-to-office plan to save employee time dealing with tech delays, troubleshooting and other frustrating roadblocks.
4. Offer Online Food Ordering
There is the old saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” And food-centric events are a strategy many corporations are incorporating into their return-to-office plans. While the food-delivery ecosystem has significantly changed and expanded since the pandemic, corporations need an efficient and effective way to streamline food ordering and delivery in the office. There are technology solutions designed for corporate facilities that will help you create the hospitality experience and simplify your office meal ordering, catering management, payments and more in one portal.
5. Measure Your Effectiveness
After you have executed your return-to-office plan, don’t forget to measure the efficiency of your investment. It’s a problem that all corporate executives talk about, but rarely do they know how to do it. How can you capture data around hybrid vs. in-person meetings, space utilization or event trends that draw employees back on campus? Venue management software provides corporations with real-time access to analytics so they can make data-driven decisions about where they need to invest their in-office efforts.
Ensure Your Return-to-Office Plan Is Successful
One thing is for certain in 2023, organizations will continue to evolve and adapt in the dynamic workplace with the flexibility that employees have come to expect. Innovative companies will lead their organization and culture with technology and a single source of truth around their return-to-office plans.
By Trina Fox