As the work-from-home (WFH) policy is beginning to die down all across the EU, more and more companies are opting for a hybrid model approach. This means that they are giving their employees the chance to work from home 2/3 days out of their working week, whilst encouraging them to come into the office the remainder of the days. More remote workers than ever are operating across Europe, so it’s something to be aware of. For many people, this may not seem like a big deal, but they forget that these employees have made working from home their new routine. Having to deal with rush hour traffic, the rising costs of public transport and just an overwhelming number of people surrounding them in the busy town centres is enough to make anyone stressed out. This is, of course, different for each country in the EU, but the overall trend is the same. What can you do as an employer to ease your employees back into the workplace?
Host a Party or Night Out
Parties are one of the best methods for encouraging your employees to come back to the office place. It allows them to retract any negative feelings they may have about returning to the physical aspect of the office, whilst having a fun time in the process. Depending on what time of the year you are going back to work, and where you are based in the EU, you could have a summer cocktail party or a staff Christmas party. During the party, you shouldn’t discuss with people why they should come back to the office, you should allow them to create bonds with their colleagues and realise that this is the sort of social experience they have been missing out on.
As a great way to ease employees back into work, you could encourage great team-building activities that aren’t work-related. One of these activities could be to solve a puzzle. The puzzle could come in the form of a large jigsaw puzzle or a very hard brain teaser. If you want to be sneaky, you could even give them a time limit and offer an incentive that would encourage them to work as a team to figure it out. This can be a great experience for people who have had little to no team-building interaction over the past year or so. If you have recently hired workers from another country in the EU, then this will be a great way to integrate them into the tea and again will help them understand that office life for a couple of days may not be the worst thing.
Host a Hack Day
A hack day is a great way to connect everyone in your workplace together. If you are a tech or engineering firm, this is a very popular method that you should be implementing. The idea behind it is that you will have everyone in the building drop whatever tasks they are working on and come together to spend the day completing a project that you have deemed as a high priority. For businesses that operate in multiple EU countries, this is a great way to work internationally. The project will normally have large benefits for the team and/or the company. This encourages people from different skill sets and backgrounds to think outside the box and be creative. The fact that they are all in the office together also allows them to bounce off one another’s ideas in order to create a fool proof plan over video meetings across EU operations.
Offer The Team Counselling
If you have employees that are particularly nervous about coming back to the office due to their anxieties about the COVID-19 pandemic or any other reason, you could offer them counselling so that they are able to discuss their worries with a professional. Counselling across the EU is regulated by the EAC, so you can get expert help no matter where you are based. This is a great way to ease your employees back to work as it shows that they are working for a business that does truly care about how they are getting on, both physically and mentally. It also allows them the chance to speak out, whereas before, they may not have been able to afford such luxuries.