A Work in Progress

How smart employers are managing the new normal and getting staff back to the office.

By: Annie Kutsuris

The COVID-19 pandemic was a lonely and isolating time for many workers, as day-to-day routines across the globe were disrupted and workers found themselves stuck at home for inordinate amounts of time. While many employees are happy to return to the office, a study by The International Foundation for Employee Benefits indicates that 28% and 68% of the workforce is eager to continue working remotely or in a hybrid work model, respectively*. With the pandemic behind us, employers are facing the new challenge of getting staff back in the office while maintaining employee job satisfaction and productivity. The Bridge Group team has observed some of the strategies companies are using to adapt to the new normal. Here’s what’s working, (and what isn’t).

Switch it up

The days of cubicles, and even private offices, are beginning to look like a thing of the past. Hybrid accommodations, such as mobile power sources, collaborative workspaces, and privacy booths all support a remote and in-person workspace. Allowing workers autonomy in deciding where and how they work is key to increased job satisfaction.

Be our guest

Liz Stern, Managing Partner of Mayer Brown, recently led a redesign project of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Her goal was to attract and retain talented employees, and to do that, she determined that staff must feel that their presence is valuable**. The employee experience is becoming increasingly important in drawing workers back to the office. Like a pleasant stay at a hotel, providing staff opportunities to nurture their physical and mental well-being is crucial to keep them coming back time and time again, and it helps maintain the sense of balance many of us enjoyed as a side effect of the remote working environment of the last two years. What does the hospitality-infused workplace look like?  Consider opportunities for easing the transition from commute to work, policies and programs that support well-being, and engaging spaces for employees to decompress and connect.

Kidding around

Businesses strive to offer enticing benefits to attract and retain talent. According to research done by Gensler, one of the most often overlooked necessities for parents is childcare that is financially and geographically accessible.*** By offering a solution to this problem, businesses can support parents and make themselves more desirable to recruits. Real estate developers and owners should also consider childcare centers as a strategy to attract tenants.

Get together

Encourage leadership to be present in the office. Our team has found that if managers and supervisors are in the office, their teams often are, too.

Sense of place

Gensler suggests employers celebrate the community by highlighting the things the local area has to offer****.  Providing new experiences helps reinvigorate the workplace, while supporting the community, and saving employees time by providing engaging events without more drive time.

As companies grow, downsize, or change where they work and how they do it, The Bridge Group can help develop a change management plan to meet those needs. The collective experience of our team, and the firsthand experience we have supporting other companies in adapting to the new normal, allows us to identify inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement, resulting in increased financial, real estate, and human resources performance.  Let us show you how and guide your workspace into the new normal!

Footnotes:
*
https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemckendrick/2022/12/28/hybrid-work-is-now-the-norm-for-the-year-aheadand-beyond/?sh=5444024e520b

**
https://www.gensler.com/blog/infusing-hospitality-design-into-the-workplace

***
https://www.gensler.com/blog/child-care-key-to-enhancing-your-return-to-office-strategy?utm_source=social&utm_medium=linkedin&utm_content=blog

****

https://www.gensler.com/blog/the-hospitality-driven-workplace