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The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 08 December 2022
  • Tiffany Carey

Want to Go Back to the Office in 2023? How to Get Your Employees on Board.

Roughly 24 months after most companies moved employees to remote work, 90% of companies said they would require a return to the office in 2023, according to a recent report by Resume Builder. To date, over 25% of workers work remotely.

staff laughs together during break

Moving one-quarter of the workforce back to the office may prove challenging as studies show that many remote workers believe they are more productive and have a better work-life balance working from home. So how do you rally your team to come back into the office?

Give Employees A Reason to Return

There are many benefits to working from home. But, a recent survey suggested that among the things that employees missed out on working in an office building are in-office technology, small talk with colleagues, and in-person collaboration. Video conferencing gives us access to other team members, but it doesn’t have quite the same camaraderie that happens when you're around others who share your same goals. The office is a place that fosters relationships with coworkers.

If your goal is to bring your staff back to the office, start by reminding them that being in-person is beneficial because it allows them to resume in-person meetings, reconnect with others on their team, and strengthen company culture. Incentivize workers to come back by offering paid lunches, pet stipends, and a freshly revamped workspace.

Help Your Team Visualize a Return to The Office

Visualizing what it looks like when your team returns to the office can help your employees get excited about returning. The transition may make some team members anxious for many reasons, but if you are intentional about retaining the best parts of working from home and bringing those into the office, you can help quell those anxieties. Pack the nutritious lunch you learned to make while working from home and keep taking a walk during your lunch break.

Create a clear idea of your expectations of employees returning to the office and then start communicating those guidelines with your team early and often. Consider initiating new concepts like outdoor meetings, flex hours, and in-person rituals. Make coming to the office more social.

Optimize Peer-To-Peer Influence

Let's assume that you'll need more time to convince everyone, but one or two people might be up for going back into the office. Those individuals can help others switch by providing their points of view­ from a peer-to-peer perspective. Their enthusiasm and interpretation of how the transition could be beneficial may differ from yours and can positively influence the rest of the team.

Ask for feedback from your team when you start talking about heading back to the office. Schedule one-on-one conversations and be open to their thoughts and ideas. If there are a few members who want to return to the office, ask them to share their thoughts with their colleagues.

Create New Spaces and Concepts

Make your office an inspiring place where everyone feels motivated to come in daily. Create a space for inspiration, collaboration, relaxation, and socialization. Break rooms can be an important place for employees to decompress and relax. Provide smaller areas with comfortable seating where team members can work quietly by themselves if they choose or brainstorm ideas with others.

Take your weekly meetings outside when possible. A change of scenery can boost energy, provide a distraction-free space, remove tension and improve health and well-being. If it’s conducive to the group size, host a walking meeting which promotes exercise and increases brain function.

Keep It Simple

At the end of the day, it’s about creating a space where people feel comfortable and inspired. Returning to the office doesn’t have to equate to stress and anxiety. Be open-minded, communicative, and responsive to your team’s needs to ease the transition.

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