by Tina Lepan, Head of Marketing and Culture

💬“You’ve probably seen those TikToks about how depressing it is for some to return to the office. White walls, fluorescent lighting, zero privacy, sterile environments & gloomy atmospheres have been highlighted, as many of us go back to the grind from working remotely. But… it doesn’t have to be this way.

The positive outcome from working remotely, the pandemic & the ‘great resignation’ has taught us all the value of our time, environments, the dangers of toxic work cultures & the importance of physical spaces. This in turn has made employees prioritize their needs & values over a company’s – which is relatable & can be a good thing. 

How do businesses convince their teams to come back to the office?

By working on the culture and physical space like never before. Both of these aspects weren’t taken seriously previously as they didn’t increase revenue & of course, the costs associated meant many an FD did not bother to make an effort, as there was no need to change the norm.

The pre-pandemic school of thought needs to evolve or else we run the risk of becoming not relevant to the next generation of top talent. Resisting the necessary change will result in less revenue, higher staff turnover & bad PR. 

Your people are the voice of your business & word of mouth is one of the most powerful tools to influence perceptions. So, how do we evolve?

Pizza day once a month won’t attract your people back to work. But allowing them to walk into a calm, visually appealing, comfortable workspace where they feel heard, at ‘home’ & can be productive gives people a reason to wake up early, get dressed & face the traffic. No red tape, unnecessary bureaucracy & expecting them to work without the tools they need for the job at hand.

Removing frustrations that don’t serve a purpose means people can do what they’re paid to do without office politics and resentment of the workplace.

Other recommended changes include changing up the pecking order, empowering employees, opening those closed doors & moving past general discrimination between staff & management (us vs them). This also involves having sympathy for staff who are going through personal struggles, mental illness & burnout, & not treating all employees with a one size fits all approach

Culture & environment shouldn’t be dictated from the top but rather co-created with employees from all levels – from the helper to the intern, to the juniors, seniors & exec level. This is an open discussion, with surveys, insights & most importantly exit interviews – so that unhappy ex-employees can guide management on how to do better. We can’t learn or improve from praise alone, but rather constructive criticism & reality checks which help us bounce back from mistakes & poor judgment calls. 

Culture is not only the values of the business but the foundation of its people, what keeps their hearts beating & why their employees feel proud and happy to return to the office,” ✍️