Editor’s note: Rick Grimaldi is a workplace trends expert and the author of "FLEX: A Leader’s Guide to Staying Nimble and Mastering Transformative Change in the American Workplace".
For a while it looked like remote work was here to stay. But with COVID-19 cases falling and vaccines available, some employers have realized having people in the office is better for business. Some employees are happy to come back but others are not as willing. What’s an employer to do? Of course you could force people to come back but you don’t want to lose good employees – and frankly it’s better for everyone if people don’t come back begrudgingly. That’s why the best approach is to convince the reluctant returners.
We all know the old-school command-and-control style of leadership doesn’t work any longer and that includes the issue of determining where people work. Instead of dragging employees back against their will, it’s better to entice them with a collaborative, happy, innovative work environment they can’t resist. In other words, if you build the right case for coming back, you can pull them in your direction – no pushing required. Read on for some strategies to incentivize your employees to come back to the office.
Be very clear about your reasons for bringing people back to the office. If having people on-site increases productivity, share that. If profits took a nosedive once people moved to remote work, be transparent and give them the facts. When you level with them about your reasoning instead of giving a command with no explanations, people are more likely to respect those reasons and comply.
Some companies are just now seeing the value of having people in the office. Be honest about this. Tell employees: “We didn’t realize at first that face-to-face interaction was so pivotal to our success. The past year has shown us that it really is.” They will appreciate your candor.
Employees don’t want...