I fully support a hybrid working model. It allows for the ebbs and flow of life to happen with flexibility and structure.
However, if you are looking to bring your people back to the office full-time, follow these five steps.
Before we dive in, one of the most important things to know is this:
It’s not the change your people are hesitant about - it's the transition.
As humans, we are great at change - we change our shoes, shirts, undergarments, and hair. We can manage change just fine.
The transition is the hardest part of the change.
Want your people to come back to the office? Here's where to start:
1. Rebrand the Culture
How much rebranding depends on the state of the culture - but a rebranding nevertheless.
Consider this the dating phase, and you want your employees to fall back in love with the idea of being together again.
Rebranding your culture won’t manifest overnight, but you can start showing your people that you are working and investing in ensuring they return to a healthy and inclusive workplace that will support the balance, harmony, and symphony between life and life work.
2. Level Up Your Leadership
Your people want to come back to great leadership. Grace and space are needed more than ever; the leadership and management layer will; need to brush up on soft-skill basics and self-care practices.
“75% of the reasons for voluntary turnover can be influenced by managers.”–Gallup.
Starting with self-care and soft-skill are important because these two combined help enrich the leadership EQ, allowing psychological safety and trust to be built/established.
You can’t give what you don’t have, and if you have leaders and managers who are stressed and anxious, your people will feel that too.
This would include training and workshops like:
Analysis / Solution Mindset
Leveling up your leaders will only improve their lives and the lives of those who work with them.
P.S. now is a great time to ensure alignment, connection, and collaboration among the leadership team as you enter this new season within the workplace.
3. Remove the Deep Fake Perks
"Deep-Fake-Perks" are perks that companies use to keep people in the office longer.
This is the kombucha, happy hours, dinners, breakfasts, onsite car washes, dog walkers, iced coffee, the list goes on.
It’s disguised as a perk but what it really does is a mess with life-work balance.
And because some of these perks might take a lot of extra maintenance and regulation, now is a great time to see what your people could actually benefit from.
While you want the work to get done, you don’t need or want your people to burn out due to it.
At Culture Circle, we cover costs and create time for our Tribe to take a solo retreat each quarter.
This encourages reflection and self-care.
We understand that taking care of one’s self is the most important thing. Finding that out the hard way is hard, and we believe that true productivity is reflected when humans are well.
Culture Circle Tribe Photo Credit: John Duah
To avoid "Deepfake Perks," start by asking your people what they would like that will enrich their life, work, and mental health. Provide a simple survey, collect the data, budget it out, remove what no longer serves, and voilà, no more "deepfake perks."
If you want to know more about "deepfake perks," check out this article.
4. Upgrade the Office Space
The office is going to need an upgrade due to returning to the office regulations. Now is the time to ensure you make it at zen as possible.
I'm talking plants, standing desks, grounding mats, and soothing music.
In all seriousness, upgrade the office layout and decor. Consider how you want people to feel in the office - relaxed, focused, productive - so to do that, it's time to evaluate the current space.
5. Set a Meeting Cap
No one wants to sit in 6-8 hours meetings with a mask on.
If you really want to excite your people, let them know that moving forward, all meetings will have a cap and a time limit.
Every organization is different but adding a meeting cap and time limit to meetings can encourage more co-creative ways to be productive. This also allows for meetings to be efficient and not take as long.
Some companies have introduced no meeting Mondays, allowing for creative space and time to work on projects and tasks.
Start slow and make changes along the way.
For example, start with a 45-minute meeting time limit, with a maximum of 3 meetings per day.
You’d be surprised how creative and efficient your people will be.
6. Use Humanity