4 Ways Businesses Can Prepare Their Employees As We Return To Office - Business Insight - Canon Singapore

    4 Ways Businesses Can Prepare Their Employees As We Return To Office

    By Vincent Low

    I hope everyone is doing well!

    With the easing of safe distancing measures and COVID-19 cases dwindling, many businesses are eager to open up their offices and welcome employees back to work. However, with the rapid changes brought about by the pandemic, the way we work has been changed forever. From adapting to remote working to glitches in online video conferencing, there have been many challenges that both businesses and employees had to overcome amidst a stressful, unpredictable time.

    As we progress towards a post-pandemic world, we will have to adapt once again. This time, employees will have to adapt back to working in an office environment. So, just how can businesses prepare their employees for their return to their office?

    I would like to share a few tips with you that may be useful in helping your businesses better prepare your employees on their return to the office.

    Accept Flexi/Remote Working Is Here To Stay

    Based on the 2022 Salary and Bonus Expectations survey by Randstad Singapore, it was found that 41% of workers in Singapore would rather work remotely than receive a bigger bonus. In turn, businesses that offer remote working will have a competitive advantage in attracting or retaining talent for their companies.

    Even as businesses look forward to having their employees working back in the office, we have to accept that remote or flexibility in working is here to stay. As the risks of COVID-19 continue to evolve and persist, companies have to remain flexible in shaping the future of work.

    Furthermore, from the downsizing of office spaces during the pandemic to new processes brought about by remote working, it will require time for businesses and employees to calibrate to new working arrangements again. To facilitate such adaptations, hybrid working solutions that have been adapted such as Canon’s Smart Workplace Solutions can be retained. For example, if your business has shifted to hot desking and are continuing hybrid working, Canon’s Facilities Booking System will prove useful in the management of facilities and spaces within your office for employees.

    Make The Office A Place People Want to Come To

    Gather feedback from your employees to have a comprehensive overview of how you can make the office an attractive space people want to come back to. Listen to such feedback and enforce them into your office spaces. This can come in the form of providing a myriad of different spaces and amenities in your office that will excite and attract your staff. Some examples include repurposing conference rooms or installing new multimedia technology that can bring employees together.

    Given that we are still working towards a pandemic-free world, it is crucial businesses ensure that their offices remain safe spaces to come into. This means ensuring safe distancing measures continue to be enforced such as enhanced cleaning, wearing masks in the office and communicating the company's safety initiatives and policies. Such practices can help to allay worries and create a sense of security for staff who may still be reluctant to return to office due to safety concerns.

    Keep Organisational Health in Mind

    With the copious amount of anxiety and isolation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic due to social distancing, this has affected the relationships of employees at their workplace. Based on a recent Mercer Marsh Benefits’ Health on Demand Survey, 56% of Singapore employees reported that they did not receive strong support from their employers during the pandemic, below global benchmarks. It is therefore absolutely crucial for businesses to take into consideration their employees’ well being and in turn their organisation’s health, be it physically, mentally or emotionally.

    Some steps businesses can take include being more proactive and empathetic towards their staff well-being through regular check-ins. Organising opportunities for employees to interact such as staff lunches or team-building sessions will help to improve employee relationships and enable employees to feel a sense of belonging within the organisation. With more trust forged and happier employees, this will help to improve productivity with a more positive organisation culture built. Additionally, opportunities for such experiences will prompt more employees to opt to come into office more often.

    Have More Purposeful Gatherings For Collaborative Projects

    Planning ahead is key to ensuring that each meet up between employees is meaningful and fruitful. With hybrid work here to stay, it is important to divide up asynchronous and synchronous tasks based on whether employees are working at home or in the office respectively. For example, tasks such as responding to emails or requiring focused writing can be done at home individually while collaborative work such as brainstorming or strategy planning can be facilitated in offices instead.

    Based on Gartner data, three in four HR leaders acknowledge that an increase in virtual touchpoints faced by employees causes them to be more vulnerable to burnouts.This means that in the case of collaborative work, it will be better to be scheduled on in-office days where entire teams are able to meet physically for more productive work.

    Organisations should also encourage employees to outline the objectives and purpose of any meetings they have set up and limit them to a small number of hours to prevent fatigue. It is important that management teams communicate the purpose of each get together to employees for them to see the benefits of being in-office.

    I hope that these tips will help your business to be better prepared to welcome your employees back to the office. Remember to stay safe and we will get through this change together as we transition to a post-pandemic era.

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