The switch from an office-based role to a remote and even hybrid model has started to cause controversy in the business sector as home workers are becoming increasingly reluctant to start going back to the office.
With huge debates about whether remote working is a necessity or luxury for workers, and if employers should start paying more attention to the needs of their employees regarding childcare, pet-friendly offices and child-free facilities, it comes as no surprise organisations are considering out of the ordinary solutions to keep employees happy and willing to attend the office.
Recent research has found many parents are eager to return to the office as travel restrictions and COVID complications lift. Summer holidays and self-isolation have meant 2020 and 2021 school holidays have been tougher than most.
Parents of 6 to 18-year-olds were the most eager (82%) to return to the office, followed by those with children over 18 at home (76%) and those with children under five (80%).
Balancing childcare with running a successful business can feel like having two full-time jobs, add the additional stresses of running a home and taking care of the family it can often feel too much - having a dedicated workspace may be just the thing parents are looking for!
Parents of the furry kind are also looking for extra consideration with dog owners wanting to stop at home due to fear of leaving their companions at home on their own during the day. Allowing dogs in the office is among the solutions being explored by company bosses eager to encourage reluctant staff back to the workplace.
One global life sciences group allowed staff to bring their dogs to the office for the first time this week. While the company has operated a hybrid working policy for the past three years, staff are still required to spend part of the week at the office — an argument that could be difficult to support as the practice of working from home for the last 18 months is becoming engrained.
The general manager behind the dogs’ initiative, said “As a company, we are really keen to build a working environment where collaboration, creative thinking and idea generation can thrive”.
Table tennis and speed chess are among some of the events planned for staff at one company with another offering a new hybrid working policy that will involve mandatory Tuesdays, Thursdays and one other day of their choice in the office. They will be offered free breakfast for the first two weeks.
Bosses are noticing the benefits of prioritising the quality of space and staff wellbeing, particularly in sectors where there is a “war for talent” because of skills shortages. Recognising employees all have different requirements and if they want to get the best out of them, they need to start putting workers first. If or when workers do return, it is likely to be on more flexible terms and with creative incentives.