Remote working became the norm during the most intense days of the pandemic and for many businesses that has become a permanent shift. A recent PwC survey identified that 83% of leaders felt that the move to more remote working had been a successful one for their businesses. As we go into 2022, a more flexible model of working is evolving, one that will still involve office work for many teams.
So, how can you prepare your business for office life in 2022?
Make sure you put safety first
Both to retain employee trust and also to ensure that your business isn’t struck down with waves of COVID infections, safety needs to remain a top priority. That might mean keeping social distancing measures in place, rotating staff through the office on different days so it’s easier for people to stay at a distance and investing in modular furniture and equipment so interiors can be more flexible.
Broaden communication channels
This is particularly important if you’ve got a workforce where some staff are working remotely while others are in the office – and many are splitting their time between the two. Make sure that you’re using online communication systems as well as opportunities to engage face-to-face. Town hall style meetings can be a great way to bring people together and allow concerns to be aired. Any communication from the business should be clear, straightforward and concise so that there is no confusion about what is required of staff now and who they can speak to if they have anything to raise.
Find reasons to entice your staff back to work
Incentives to get staff back into the office will make their return feel much more positive than if they have been ordered back in. Many may have set themselves up with a customised workstation at home so it can be a good idea to offer improvements to the space they will occupy at work, whether that’s a standing desk or a more plant filled space. It can also be a good idea to provide other incentives that take into account the benefits of home working they may have enjoyed, such as wellness areas or catered lunches.
Create a stronger company culture
A robust culture will act as a bond for your workforce, no matter how it is structured. If you haven’t put much thought into internal culture until now then there are plenty of culture building activities that teams can undertake to help define and embed this. Activities, parties and team bonding will improve the way that teams interact with each other and also provide a much firmer foundation for the overall business culture. Make time to connect with the people in your organisation and to allow them to interact – and make sure that you adapt culture-building activities to your current working environment, no matter how hybrid that may be.
Office life in 2022 looks very different to previous years and requires a smart and inclusive approach that integrates the different shape of the workforce going forward.