Founder & CEO of KNACKSHOPS.COMbuilding lasting relationships through exceptional business gifts.
While most people have figured out what level of interaction they feel comfortable with with friends after the pandemic, greeting business acquaintances after two years of isolation can still be quite uncomfortable. Shake hands? Awkward touch of the elbow? Smile and nod from a few feet away?
In reality, The Washington Post recently reported that therapists report a corresponding increase in clients talking about social anxiety as telecommuters are called back to the office.
Properly initiating a back-to-office (BTO) process is important to make the transition as smooth as possible and to support the well-being of your workforce, especially if you plan to build a hybrid structure. to create. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, if not done properly, it can “threaten culture, collaboration and innovation. Conversely, a well-executed hybrid workplace can be a magnet that brings people together and helps us work better than ever.”
Frame the transition in a positive light.
One strategy to ease the BTO transition is to reframe the transition as a celebration. After all, the return to normal – or for most companies, a “new normal” – is progress.
As a retailer of custom gifts, we see an uptick in HR departments, including a wellness gift as an integral part of their BTO plan. We see companies setting aside a budget of $50-$150 per employee.
It is also beneficial from a retention point of view. A PwC research indicates that as many as 65% of employees are looking for a new job, and 36% of executives say that the loss of corporate culture is the biggest challenge to hybrid work. Companies must be prepared to pull out all the stops to ensure that the transition runs smoothly.
Here’s how to make a BTO welfare gift strategy a success.
1. Treat all employees, regardless of where their primary workspace is located.
If you decide to leave gifts waiting at employees’ desks when they return to the office, it’s important to back that up with a strategy of sending the same gift to your permanently remote employees. Shared experiences facilitate the bonding between remote and hybrid workforces, which is essential for hybrid strategy to work. And that’s important.
The same PwC study above concluded that BTO plans should focus on “creating a culture of inclusion and belonging for all that helps reduce the risk of remote inequality.”
2. Gift items that create a sense of comfort.
Just as a child carries a stuffed animal down the hallway at night to make the journey less stressful, having items that ease the transition between home and office can help create a sense of normalcy for adults.
Many companies include items in their BTO packages that help employees create a sense of personal space in an unfamiliar — perhaps even new touchdown — workspace.
Desktop plants are also an excellent choice that provides both physical and psychological benefits. Last studies have found that exposure to plants in the office can help reduce stress and increase attention. Even a no-care dry plant or a low-maintenance succulent can make a difference.
A major tech client of ours recently greeted employees at their desks with a gift set that included a “Do one thing that makes you happy every day” journal and a desk-sized boxwood topiary.
Finally, consider a wellness subscription such as Caravan or Headspace. These help employees stay mentally and physically fit with access to meditations and exercises that last as little as 10 minutes, so they can easily fit into their workday.
As the saying goes, never waste a crisis. And then a well-chosen BTO gift can play a role in facilitating the transition to hybrid working while contributing to the mental well-being of your employees.