My company wants to remove remote working next month, but none of my team members want to come to the office. What are our options?
Back in 2020, when remote work was a necessity and implemented throughout the majority of the workforce, there were some growing pains as we all adapted to working from home. But after over two years of working alongside pets, family, children and partners, people have settled into the comfort of working from home. Which can make it difficult when the decision comes down to recall employees back to the office.
So what are your options on how to approach this if and when it happens at your organization? We asked 10 business leaders to share their insights on how to best convince reluctant employees to come back from their remote workspaces.
- Send Out Anonymous Surveys
- Reduce Pay and Cut Perks for Remote Workers
- Ask Your Team What They Need to Succeed
- Offer Unlimited PTO as an Incentive
- Ease Into Change With Hybrid Work
- Transition With One WFH Day Per Week
- Give Workers the Choice of WFH Days
- Provide Exciting Non-Monetary Incentives
- Engage, Then Phase Out
- Foster a Culture of Transparency and Openness
Send Out Anonymous Surveys
An employee survey can provide HR with honest feedback on why team members are hesitant to return to the office. Some team members may fear losing their positions by speaking openly. But a survey can provide anonymity, helping employees freely share their concerns. Managers can then use this feedback to identify ways to ensure that being in-office works well for everyone. However, flexibility on everyone’s part is necessary for making it a win-win.
Chris Gadek, AdQuick
Reduce Pay and Cut Perks for Remote Workers
Inform your employees that their pay would be cut if they’re working from home, and the people who come to the office regularly would be receiving an extra amount and there would be services provided especially to the people who come in. If you inform them in this manner, then people would for sure come up to the office.
Timothy Woods, Carnivore Style
Ask Your Team What They Need to Succeed
If your company wants to remove remote work, you need to empower your team to decide if they will work from the office or not. This should be a collaborative decision between your team and management.
In order to get your team to come to the office, you need to focus on the company culture and work environment.
Work with your team to determine what factors make for a great work environment. Maybe your team wants to have more face-to-face communication, or maybe they want access to more amenities at the office. Once you have identified these needs, work with management to find ways to meet these needs.
Matthew Ramirez, Paraphrase Tool
Offer Unlimited PTO as an Incentive
Everyone will have their own reasons for not returning to the office. And whether a team member is a busy parent or caregiver, or finds that they’re more productive working from home, making unlimited PTO part of your benefits package may encourage more employees to return to the office. Now that the way we work has changed, it’s essential to build a flexible culture. Doing so lets team members manage their personal time and work obligations, leading to greater job satisfaction. And as happy employees are more engaged and productive, companies that put employee happiness first reap the rewards in their bottom line.
Maria Shriver, MOSH
Ease Into Change With Hybrid Work
When making the transition from hybrid work to on-site work, it’s always best to make the transition an easy one through hybrid work. Stay flexible for the first few months and only when they’re better acquainted with the work environment make the switch once and for all. This will give them enough time to adjust and be okay with coming back to work full-time.
Igal Rubinshtein, Home Essentials Direct
Transition With One WFH Day Per Week
If your company plans to remove the remote work, you’ll need to find a way to transition the team members. One option could be for each team member to work from home one day per week. This would allow them to connect with the office and ensure their work is progressing as planned.
In any case, it’s crucial not only to communicate this decision broadly, but also to provide regular updates so that all stakeholders are aware of what’s happening and know how they fit into its overall goals.
Ultimately, it’s important for companies to accommodate their employee’s preferences when it comes to working style. By doing so, they will likely retain more valuable employees who are passionate about their job and happy with how their company is running overall.
Johannes Larsson, JohannesLarsson.com
Give Workers the Choice of WFH Days
It is a great initiative to bring your workers back to the office, but then most of them won’t want to come back if there is no flexible hour system on the ground. A way to attract them is to give them the option to work from home on certain days. Eliminating remote working completely may not be the best choice if you want your workers to come back to the office.
Simon Bacher, Simya Solutions
Provide Exciting Non-Monetary Incentives
Offer a variety of non-monetary incentives to try and motivate employees, and make them feel good about returning to the office. Incentives such as work club activities, development training, and corporate retreats can all be intriguing benefits to help ingratiate your team members back to the office. Employees will naturally work with more enthusiasm and a greater sense of purpose if they have something to work towards. In many cases, non-monetary incentives can be just as important to an employee as their salary, so offer them exciting incentives to look forward to amid their return.
Natalia Morozova, Cohen, Tucker & Ades P.C.
Engage, Then Phase Out
If you must terminate remote working, then switch from working from anywhere to working at the office gradually. The goal here is to avoid shocking your team’s psyche—which, in severe cases, has led to resignations or a demoralized team, neither of which is good for your company. First, clearly communicate that you are phasing out remote working. Even better, share your reasoning for the decision if you want to win your people over—rather than imposing your decision on them.
As a starting point, consider allowing different team members to work from anywhere for three days a week. Afterward, they can swap places with colleagues who worked from the office. You can do this on rotation for a month or so, and gradually scale back the time your team spends working remotely.
Jon Torres, Jon Torres
Foster a Culture of Transparency and Openness
A number of employees, who were initially hesitant about the work-from-home policy, are now enjoying the freedom of working from home. However, there are organizations that are requiring their employees to go back to the office. Many employees are resistant to this and what we do at my job as another way to encourage employees to go back to the office is to have transparent communication.
An organization must explain in detail the current situation of the business and the reasons why it’s important to come back to the office. Employers should also make it easy for their staff to return to work.
They can do this by setting clear expectations and boundaries for work performance while maintaining a comfortable and safe space for employees to express their opinions regarding their jobs. Employees are more likely to come back if they are happier, more confident, and know that their concerns are being heard and acknowledged.
Rajesh Namase, TechRT
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