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6 things every employer should consider before bringing people back to the office

1. Assumption that is the most effective solution 

It’s easy to assume that bringing everyone back to the office full time is the best thing to do for your business. An important thing to consider is where is that assumption coming from? Do you have it in your head that you want things to go back to how they were before? If you do, are you sure that it is the most productive way forward?

One thing you need to ask is how have people been working since the COVID-19 pandemic started? A study by the CIPD found that employers on average found productivity increased by 33% in January 2021, 38% said it didn’t make a difference to productivity and only 23% said productivity had decreased. How has your overall productivity been?

Hybrid working could be a solution for you, what benefits are there to having everyone in the office vs a hybrid working model?

2. The work-life balance of your employees

Are you thinking about employee experience? Since working from home, many people have praised having more of a work-life balance. Less time commuting, more time at home and flexible working for some, has allowed people to fit everyday tasks around work and have more time for themselves and family.

According to research carried out by the Future Strategy Club (FSC), 52% of employees said they feel they have a better work-life balance since working from home at the start of the pandemic. Do you know how your staff would prefer to work moving forward? Does going back to the office or working from home full time work for everyone?

3. Can you embed anything you have learnt over the last 18 months?

What have you learnt about your business since the start of the pandemic? Are there any lessons you have taken from the experience? Are there any opportunities for the business to implement change positively?

Whether that be with your employees and how they work, or the potential of downsizing your office space. You could even go one step further and think of the environmental impact of bringing people back to the office vs having people work from home. Do you know what your carbon footprint was before the pandemic?

4. Health & safety measures for bringing people back – vulnerable employees

One thing you need to consider is health & safety. Not only the health and safety of people working from home if that’s what some are going to continue to do. But also, the health & safety of people back in the working environment.

Are all of your staff comfortable with working close to others again? You may have vulnerable members of staff or people with certain health concerns, how are you going to manage that and ensure everyone’s safety? Have you considered updating your health & safety policy?

5. Is it a return to the office or a move to the office?

Have you recruited anyone since the start of the pandemic? If so, you may have members of staff that are making a move to the office rather than a return to the office.

It’s important to consider an employee’s contract and what was agreed at the start of employment, employee expectation is just as important as employee experience, because both of those things combined with determine that employee’s future within your organisation.

6. Remote working means access to a wider pool 

One benefit to remote working is the fact you will be able to find staff from far and wide, compared to staff within a commutable distance from the office. You may be able to find great people for your roles and business that you wouldn’t have otherwise spoken to or considered.

The chance for remote or flexible working will in most cases make you an employer of choice, as a lot of people are now weighing up what they value in life.

If you’re an employer that is willing to be flexible or offer alternative ways of working, with a work-life balance, you will in turn attract a higher calibre of candidate.

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