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Organisations have been considering how to return their employees to the office without alienating them or causing undue anxiety. Flexibility is a key retention strategy in the time of “the Great Resignation” but how do you balance this with “business as usual” back in the office?
Time to read: 4 mins
Four key barriers have been identified in employees returning to the office after a significant period of working from home over the past two years. Some are more surprising than you would think:
Many parents understood the frustrations of home-schooling while trying to work, but now that schools are back in session, a lot are enjoying the ability to do school pick up and/or drop off instead of sending their children or dependents to a babysitter for before and/or after school care.
Commuting requires time and money. In some countries like Germany, employees are starting to ask employers to cover their commuting costs when they are required to come into the business premises. Many employees also enjoy the time freed up by not commuting. This gives them time to exercise, work on hobbies, spend time with dependents, and improve their work/life balance.
Recent productivity surveys have shown that productivity is mixed when working solely from home. While having “quiet/focused time” boosts productivity for many people, it decreases the innovation provided by a collaborative office environment. A combination of working from home and in the office (hybrid model) helps ensure that workers can be both innovative and productive. Interestingly, there is a gender difference on where you focus most effectively. In a recent survey by Unispace, 46% of males preferred the office, compared to just 34% of females.
Once the initial fears of Covid-19 were over, focus turned to the mental health implications of being at home and physically isolated from others – and with good cause. The U.S. Census Bureau found an 11% increase in anxiety and depression symptoms from 2019 to 2020. The social aspect of the office environment is important, not only for culture but also for individuals’ mental health.
A briefing by Strategic Pay last month showed two key ways to retain employees. One is a short-term approach of increasing salaries to meet the market and the other is the more strategic focus of building your Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Put simply, EVP is the sum of the tangible and intangible benefits of working for your business.
To ensure that you are not part of the “Great Resignation” consider how you can “upgrade” your organisation and its EVP to retain your top talent. One area to focus on is incentives / benefits to staff returning to the office, even on a part-time or hybrid basis. Organisations could consider:
These are just a few ways you can make your business or organisation an attractive place to work but for help with that or other HR matters, please contact Kate.Julian@bakertillysr.nz, the wider Auckland HR team on firstname.lastname@example.org, or your local Baker Tilly Staples Rodway HR advisor.
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