The perks and incentives coaxing workers back to the office

As companies navigate the decision of whether to bring employees back to the office, there are varying approaches being taken. Some companies are resorting to threats and ultimatums, while others are using incentives and flexibility to encourage employees to return. Zoom, for example, initially ordered its employees to work from the office at least twice a week, causing shock and backlash. Similarly, Amazon, Google, and Publicis have implemented strict office return policies with potential consequences for non-compliance.

However, many companies are realizing that a more lenient and worker-led approach is more effective. Managers are listening to employee concerns and adjusting their strategies accordingly. For instance, rather than issuing ultimatums, companies like Perkbox and EMCOR UK have adopted flexible policies, allowing employees to choose the number of days they work in the office. This approach, coupled with less strict enforcement, has resulted in better adherence to office return policies.

In addition to flexibility, some companies are providing incentives and creating more employee-friendly work environments to entice workers back to the office. Perkbox, for example, offers rewards and perks for in-office workers, such as lunch subsidies and Netflix subscriptions. Other companies are designating spaces within the office for health-related purposes, such as areas for new mothers to pump or for employees to perform physical therapy. Some companies are even considering at-work childcare options and allowing pets in the office.

Furthermore, companies like Salesforce have experimented with charity donations and team lunches to motivate employees to return temporarily. These efforts aim to create a positive experience for employees and remind them of the benefits of working together in person.

Ultimately, the right approach to bringing workers back to the office differs for each company. However, managers should prioritize understanding and effectively communicating the purpose of the office to employees. By demonstrating that they care about their employees' lives and engaging in open discussions, employers can create environments that employees find valuable and meaningful. It is crucial for managers to consider what will make the office worth returning to and find ways to make the transition easier for employees, such as reducing commuting time or offering more efficient work hours.

As the workplace continues to evolve, it is important for employers to be adaptable and experiment with different strategies to find what works best for their teams. By prioritizing employee well-being and creating a positive work environment, companies can increase the chances of successful office returns while maintaining employee satisfaction and productivity.  

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