Top tips on how to get staff back to the office

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Getting staff back to the office can be a struggle for all. Empact’s Andile Mgudlwa shares some tips.

The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly affected ways of working. While society as a whole seems to have gone back to the way things were before March 2020, the workforce and their employers seem to be divided on how best to move forward.

Most employers are on a drive to get people back to the office for better corporate culture and face-to-face collaboration, while workers seem to be torn between the flexibility that comes with working remotely and missing the in-person interaction they have at the office. For a significant shift to happen, we need to re-think how the office is currently perceived. Insisting on keeping the office set up the way it has always been, is no longer an option.

Companies are now looking to facilities managers to understand the needs of their employees and clients, and tailor the workplace environment to meet their combined needs. This has resulted in a shift in the traditional role of a facilities manager, a shift referred to as “basement-to-boardroom”. Facilities management is now seen as one of the levers that employers can use to drive this strategy and deliver the required results.

Here a few tools available to support an organisation in meeting its strategic goals:

1. Focus on the experience: Consider what the employees need and want in a workplace environment and tailor it to meet these needs. It could be a comfortable work area, an inspiring view, or a quiet space to work.

2. Create a healthy workplace: Ensure that the workplace is clean and hygienic and provide access to healthy food and snacks. Encourage employees to take breaks and provide opportunities for physical activity.

3. Provide a modern work environment: A modern workplace environment is essential to attract new talent. Consider providing up-to-date technology, ergonomic chairs and desks, and advanced software applications.

4. Encourage collaboration: Employees want to work in a collaborative environment. Provide opportunities for team building and encourage cross-functional collaboration. Use collaboration-friendly workspaces to encourage informal conversations and knowledge-sharing.
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5. Promote work-life balance: Promote a healthy work-life balance by providing flexible working arrangements, such as remote work on certain days, flexible hours, or part-time work. Encourage employees to take time off and provide opportunities for training and development.

Deciding which is the best tool to reach the strategic goal will depend on the company’s specific requirements at the time, and these requirements will evolve as the company’s strategy evolves.

Andile Mgudlwa is the MD of the Integrated Facilities Management Division at Empact Group.

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