Over the past year, COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on businesses globally. One of the biggest changes for employees was the shift to remote working, diminishing social contact with their colleagues, and often changing workplace culture completely.
With the western world’s ‘slow but certain’ exit from lockdown incoming, employers are preparing to welcome their workers back to the office environment. Here we discuss how workplace culture might change post-COVID, why it’s so important, and how employers can seek to strengthen theirs.
Why is workplace culture so important?
Workplace culture is one of the most overlooked contributors to business success. Providing an environment in which your employees feel comfortable is crucial for promoting productivity, increasing staff retention, and strengthening your employer brand.
When recruiting, your employer brand may be the factor that influences candidates to choose your business over the competition. A crucial factor in this is your employee value proposition (EVP) – the benefits your employees receive in return for their hard work. The combination of your EVP and workplace culture are what makes your company an ‘employer of choice’ for top talent.
How will workplace culture change post-COVID?
Over the past 12 months, many of us have become used to the concept of working alone. While some have spoken of the benefits of home-working, many have struggled with a feeling of ‘disconnection’ from their colleagues, and wider workplace. A return to a more social office environment is bound to affect people in different ways, but the revival of the well-known ‘office culture’ is certainly great news for employee engagement.
What can my business do to prepare?
As employers begin welcoming workers back to the office, it’s important to take the correct approach in reviving your workplace culture. Doing so will help your employees to readjust to the social workplace, and help you to engage and inspire your team. Here are some of the ways companies can prepare for the post-COVID return to work:
#1 – Analyse and adapt to EVP changes
Like many aspects of business, your EVP will have seen dramatic changes over the past 12 months. Analysing these changes through EVP research software, and adapting your company benefits accordingly, is key to promoting a positive return to work post-COVID.
Poll your employees to see which workplace benefits matter most/least to them at this time. By finding out your employees’ likes, dislikes, wants, and needs, you can ensure they remain satisfied and engaged throughout the changing period.
#2 – Allow flexibility in the return to work
While many of us are excited for the revival of social contact, some are bound to find the change daunting. By allowing your employees flexibility during the post-COVID return to work, you can support their wellbeing, and reduce the risk of them feeling overwhelmed.
A staggered return to work may be best for some employees. Remote working has become the norm for many office workers; readapting could be a challenge after such a great period.
#3 – Make employee wellbeing your focus
Employee wellbeing is a crucial factor in maintaining worker productivity, and keeping spirits high. The return to work will affect every employee differently; focusing on supporting their wellbeing during the switch is key to ensuring a smooth, comfortable transition.
Ensure your wellbeing policy is up to date, and accessible to your employees. Allow flexibility where needed, and always be ready to listen to your colleagues’ concerns relating to their role.
With countries across the globe beginning to lift COVID-19 restrictions, employers are preparing to welcome their teams back to the office environment. During this transition, it is crucial that companies focus on strengthening their workplace culture – providing a positive, supportive atmosphere for employees to return to.
Workplace culture, along with employee value proposition (EVP) are big contributors to business success. The more engaged and satisfied your employees feel, the more inspired and driven they will be.
By analysing and adapting your EVP to your employees’ changing needs, allowing flexibility for workers when returning to the office, and making wellbeing your priority, you can ensure a smooth revival of the workplace environment for your employees. This will not only aid in promoting worker productivity, but will also help your company increase its employee retention for the future.