A few years ago, it looked like remote work was here to stay. Now, more companies are encouraging employees to return to the office– for at least some of the time. According to the Flex Report, 42% of employees worked in the office full-time in May 2023. Thirty percent of companies have structured hybrid models, where employers establish expectations for when employees must work onsite.
With more employees coming to the office, now is the time to ensure your work environment is updated, fresh, and ready to welcome them. Some businesses may not have had employees onsite in three years, which means no updates or upgrades to the office decor, equipment, or signage in years.
The physical office environment can have a significant impact on employees’ performance and engagement. Lighting, colors, room temperature, furniture, noise level, and office arrangement can obviously or subtly affect your employees. What touches can you add to make the office a preferred designation?
With employees working remotely, the in-office culture may have diminished. Re-energizing that culture involves giving people opportunities to interact– at the water fountain and beyond. As you plan, think about how to make these events welcoming so employees want to leave their home offices to attend.
As your employees return to the office, consider these six ideas to help welcome them back.
Freshen up the decor. The way we work has changed in the last three years, and today’s office environments reflect that. Companies are rethinking what activities take place best in the office– like meetings, collaboration, and learning– and are designating areas for those. Naming those areas with clear signage, such as “Innovation Space” or “Learning Center,” emphasizes the new purpose of those spaces.
Psychologically, a fresh look can convey a fresh start, creating energy for employees returning onsite. Researchers have noted the correlation between the physical work environment and employee performance. Aspects like an abundance of natural lighting, walls painted in colors that increase productivity, or ergonomic furniture help employees feel their best while working. For inexpensive and immediate changes, hang new internal and external signage or add new accessories like fabric backdrops.
Create an inclusive environment with events. Whether employees are returning to work on a regular full-time, part-time, or ad hoc schedule, make them feel appreciated with welcome back signs.
Offer opportunities for employees to gather in meaningful ways with town meetings and celebrations. Hang celebratory and themed signs to highlight the festivities. Look for opportunities to publicly appreciate staff with employee recognition signage.
Use wayfinding signs for any structural changes in the offices, such as reconfigurations of office space. Don’t forget to hang signs to inform employees of new processes, such as updated hours for the cafeteria.
Although employees seem to be more willing to return to the office than they were a year ago, it’s essential to remember that this is still a change–even for people who worked in the office before. What’s more, new workers that came on board remotely over the last several years may never have worked in any office. Think about your employees’ experience and how to make their return smoother.
Update digital and non-digital materials. If you’re recruiting, refresh your recruiting materials to look up-to-date. As companies continue struggling to hire for some positions, they’re using new methods to recruit, such as posting signage with QR codes linking to applications. You can put signage on windows, lamp posts, or job boards.
Although a lot of HR material is accessible digitally, many workers still prefer to have printed versions. This is especially true when it comes to reviewing benefits material. When it’s annual enrollment time, give employees a choice in how they consume the material.
Dress up benefits and recruiting fairs. If your company hosts activities, be sure to dress up the room with tablecloths and backdrops with your company logo. Post signs with the company mission or history. Provide visuals that show and reinforce your culture.
Use large format signs in unique ways to highlight your business. Large format signs are often used externally, but you can also use them internally to promote the company. One company made a large metal sign for the front office–a creative and whimsical way to promote and reinforce employee pride in the company’s product.
When welcoming employees back to the office, setting the right tone is essential–and it’s something that should not be left to chance. Thoughtful touches that show appreciation and understanding throughout the transition can establish a positive, productive culture for years to come. Discover how FedEx Office can help. Request your complimentary consultation today.