Much of the American work landscape has changed radically since the beginning of the pandemic, when companies began allowing employees to work from home when possible for safety reasons. Despite some teleconference platform fatigue, many workers adapted quite well to this new way of life, and were both comfortable and productive in a remote setting. Yet people everywhere—from a work perspective and otherwise—began to miss the authenticity of in-person interactions.

Now that the most dangerous phase of the pandemic is over, employers are working to facilitate the return to office work in person. Naturally, this has become a bit more complicated than it first seemed, in part because many workers spent two full years in home offices. Plenty are feeling unsure about going back to the office after COVID, less because of concerns around COVID-19 than because of the work/life balance that remote work afforded them. As a result, companies are now offering incentives to make the in-person format more appealing.

Here’s how many companies are working to get their employees back into the office:

  1. Hybrid work models. Hybrid work models can be a good compromise between working in the office 5 days a week and working remotely every day. Many employees are willing to come to the office anywhere from 1-4 days per week, but value the option to work from home at least some of the time. Hybrid work models are also a gentle way to help workers readjust to in-person work in general, and they offer employers a natural starting point for adjusting the ratio of remote vs. in-person work in the future.
  2. Pay increases. Pay increases are one of the biggest factors in motivating employees to return to a life of work attire, commutes, and shared working spaces. This is logical given the current cost of clothing and other goods due to inflation, as well as the high price of gas. Employers may be well-advised to consider compensating employees for cost burdens that effectively disappeared during the height of the pandemic and have increased substantially after it in order to reduce sticker shock.
  3. Fringe benefits. Fringe benefits can be another worthwhile approach to enticing employees back into the office. Examples include things like free meals or snacks, hiring food trucks, creating more appealing work spaces, offering professional massages and yoga classes, and more. Some companies are providing break rooms with game equipment like ping pong tables and similar items; others are introducing nap areas and child-friendly spaces.
  4. Improving employee engagement. Improving employee engagement requires a bit of homework, but it can be well worth the effort in the long run. It’s best to start with one-on-one conversations, surveys, and other forms of feedback to find out which workplace factors contribute most to employee satisfaction and loyalty. Employees aren’t robots: they need sources of joy not only in their line of work, but at the company they work for. Resources like professional development opportunities can be beneficial too.
  5. Using collaborative technology. Using collaborative technology is indispensable, particularly if some or all company employees are working from home on any given day. At a minimum, it’s essential to use platforms that allow workers to share documents, such as the Google Docs Editors Suite. However, platforms that allow them to communicate by text in real time, such as Slack and Asana, are helpful in building strong inter-office relationships and a vibrant company culture.

Get Back in the Office With JobTrain

You can get the training you need to qualify for many careers with rewarding work environments and company cultures as well as great benefits. You can learn more about the components of a high-quality job here.

JobTrain is an accredited educational and training institution that transforms lives and communities in Silicon Valley. We help the Valley’s most in need reclaim their lives from poverty and unemployment by preparing them for successful, sustainable careers in high-demand and emerging fields. Check out our career training pathways to get started on the path to a high-quality job in a field that excites you.

Each of JobTrain’s programs combines vocational training, academics, and essential skills development, preparing students to turn their lives around—from unemployment and poverty to success and self-sufficiency. Contact us today to learn more!