Businesses are rapidly returning to the office as the effects of the pandemic subside, and companies look to achieve peak performance. In fact, some reports have found that almost half of Singapore’s workers are already back in the office full-time.
Yet that doesn’t mean everyone will be happy about being asked to return. As countless workers have grown comfortable with flexible work-from-home arrangements, getting your entire team on board with this significant change won’t be easy.
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How to help your team transition to the office
So, what’s the answer? Backed by a clearly defined communications strategy and genuine efforts to make your office more appealing to employees, you can convince your team to collaborate in person again. Return to the office effectively with these tips.
1. Be transparent about policies
Business owners and managers must recognise that a return to the office represents a genuine challenge to a positive workplace culture. As 41% of Singaporeans won’t accept a job lacking flexible work hours, an employee backlash could lead to higher-than-expected turnover.
However, you can mitigate this reaction by explaining your reasons and responding to employee feedback. Then, you can use this information to shape policies and ensure you keep as much of your team as happy as possible, thus avoiding resignations and quiet quitting.
2. Provide mental health support
The mental health benefits have been huge for employees who have enjoyed work-from-home arrangements. Rather than needing to crowd onto public transport or work in a busy office, many people have experienced reduced work-related stress thanks to enhanced flexibility and spare time.
If you need your team back in the office, alleviate employee concerns by implementing effective mental health policies. You can improve how workers engage with the office by training supervisors to recognise symptoms, providing access to professional help and creating adaptable processes.
3. Make a financial commitment
Many people who work from home have reported significant financial savings. Since these policies have become widespread, the cost of public transport, daily lunches and coffee breaks are no more. Plus, there’s less need to spend on office clothes and childcare costs.
Naturally, asking your workers to resume these costs in uncertain economic times isn’t a simple request. However, if your business contributes through perks like free meals, access to coffee machines and gym memberships, you’ll reduce the hit experienced by your team.
4. Create a better space
It’s easy to understand why many employees prefer to work from home, as the comfort and familiarity that comes with their personal space are important to them. However, a dedicated approach to making your office space as appealing as possible can smooth the return to work transition.
For example, your office might implement dog-friendly policies or emphasise spaces that promote social engagement and quiet time. Meanwhile, repurposing an area for yoga sessions, group meals, and games can also make your team feel more at home in the office.
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5. Focus on professional development
Your team might be far more receptive to returning to work if you provide outstanding professional development opportunities that level up their careers. Through training programs, mentorships and guest speakers, you can help your employees realise the benefits of in-office work.
You can also encourage your team to develop pitches and provide sincere feedback that gives them the confidence to take the next step in their career. With a genuine appreciation of the benefits of professional development, achieving a thriving workplace culture is much easier.
6. Be receptive to change
Being receptive to change is perhaps the most critical attribute to adopt after asking your employees to return to the office. Even if you take steps to smooth this transition, policies that cater to your employees and achieve a positive culture would undoubtedly require extra work.
Rather than simply meeting minimal expectations for your team, actively gather and respond to feedback about your office setting and culture. Over time, you can implement new processes that ensure your team knows you listen to and care about their concerns.