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On Feb 09 2021 / by Wyoming Paul

Flexi-working: Does your office feel like a ghost town?

Here are 5 ways to attract staff back to the workplace

For many businesses, new flexible working policies have led to dramatic changes in the number of people coming into the office. Companies which previously had full, bustling workplaces now have only a handful of staff working onsite each day.

While there are plenty of positive aspects to flexible working, an empty office isn’t necessarily what companies want. If you’d like to entice staff back to the office this year, here are five ways to make people want to return to the workplace!

1. Ask employees what they think

To solve a problem, you first need to understand it. Find out what barriers are preventing staff from returning to the office, and which changes or improvements they would appreciate the most. The easiest way to gather this data is through a staff survey:

  • Try surveying platforms SurveyMonkey or Stickybeak to quickly receive a one-off batch of feedback from your whole team.
  • Use open-ended questions to gather ideas. For example, the question ‘What would make you want to work at the office?’ could present you with fresh suggestions and proposals.
  • Use multichoice and ranking questions to gather more quantitative data. For example, you might think that free lunches will bring people racing back to the office, but if only 10% of staff are really excited about that idea, it might not be the right change to make.
  • Keep other channels of communication open, so people feel free to bring forward their issues or suggestions for improvement at other times.

2. Make your office a social hub

There are certainly perks to working from home - no commute, being in your own space, and less rushing in the morning. However, your workplace has something that a home office doesn’t: the company of colleagues and friends. For many people, the office is an important social hub, and you can emphasise that benefit by providing opportunities for your team to grow closer, spend time together and support each other. For example…

  • Organise team building activities in the office or at the end of the day. This could be Friday drinks, a BYO dinner, or a team activity like laser tag or bowling.
  • Offer free weekly exercise like a lunchtime yoga class or work bootcamp. Just check out what options are close by, and ask your staff what they would enjoy the most.
  • Start shared lunches or free catered meals so staff have the opportunity to sit down together.

3. Create cool working spaces

Is your office an enjoyable and engaging place to work? Environmental factors like noise, colour, lighting, and layout can have a significant effect on the mood of your staff, and how they feel about spending their time in the office.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Organise a DIY renovating or decorating day for your team. You’ll create a more appealing environment, encourage team bonding, and get everyone invested in their physical workplace.
  • Start a music roster where each employee or team has a turn to create a playlist for the office in certain spaces. Make sure there are also quiet areas, so staff can work in the best environment for them.
  • Decorate by adding pot plants to your office - plants are a great and affordable way to add colour, and greenery boosts concentration, reduces stress, and creates a more relaxed environment.
  • Make your office pet-friendly. One of the big benefits to working from home is that people can spend more time around their furry friends. By allowing staff to bring their pups to the office one day a week (or any day of the week), you could remove an important barrier for some employees.

4. Make the transition easy

Asking staff to return to the office can be a big HR challenge, especially once people have settled into a work-from-home routine. Rather than telling people that they need to be back in the office full-time, take baby steps and ask people to come in two or three days a week.

  • To make oversight easier for managers and ensure that staff are coming in, schedule which days people should be in the office.
  • Consider a scheduled approach. For example, organise the week so that each team or department works in the office on the same days. That way, staff are getting the benefits of the company of their colleagues (and access to any other perks you’re introducing) when they aren’t working from home.
  • Make sure staff see the return to work as a positive change by clearly communicating any new perks or improvements.

5. Let all of your staff use the car park

One of the most appealing aspects of working from home is avoiding the commute. That’s especially true for a driven commute that ends at an expensive commercial car park or far away street parking (especially when staff then see empty spots at the office car park).

You can alleviate the pain of commuting and create easier mornings by opening your staff car park to employees who are driving into the office each day.

  • Businesses which allocate car parks to execs can shift to a model where all staff have access to the car park. This could be on a first-come-first serve basis, or you can use car park management software to allow staff to book a park in advance and have a stress-free commute.
  • You can also roster the use of your staff car park, so that each employee is guaranteed a park some of the time. If you roster which days teams come into the office, this is a great way to manage your space.

To avoid an uptick in car park administration and maintain your facility security and access control, consider a flexible parking management system like Parkable.

Parkable’s software platform gives staff complete visibility over car park occupancy and allows people to book a park in advance, so they don’t show up to find the car park full. Plus, execs can keep their allocated car park and simply share it on the app with colleagues on the days that they’re working from home or on leave.

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