In the ever-changing hybrid business landscape, a key challenge is maintaining high onsite attendance. We put together a data-driven report on ‘return-to-office’ trends, providing insights and strategies to increase onsite days.
Evolving management strategies, encouraging strong work-life balance, maximizing company communications, and exchanging virtual engagement activity ideas were the main themes of the discussion.
Evolving Management Strategies
2021 has changed the way teams interact and how expectations are measured. Most organizations have shifted their focus to results and self-management, with the understanding that the workforce has matured and can be trusted to deliver under new circumstances.
Encouraging productivity that’s healthy and preventing burnout
Both webinar moderators noted an increase of productivity when work-from-home started and each stressed the importance of making sure employees were giving themselves adequate moments to pause, recharge, and take care of life. Strategies to address burnout and encourage self-care that were covered:
Closing business for occasional “mental health days”, recognizing that lines easily get blurred when home is also your office
Guidelines for all internal meetings to be 20 or 50 minures in order to provide for 10 minute breaks in between
Encouraging folks to get outside or at least away from their ‘desks’
Core business hours
To help its global workforce connect as a team, while still allowing for flexibility around personal schedules, Litera implemented core business hours – (8a-12p CST).
Brittani Shaw, Chief People officer at Litera explains “We try to work during these hours globally so there is some overlap, but outside of that, it could be all hours of the night.”
Encouraging a strong work – life balance
It is one thing to say work life balance is important, another to make sure it is a company priority. Leadership sets the tone and expectations on many comapny culture fronts, and this is no exception.
“As a leader I know I have to be mindful of my team’s personal time, so that they are comfortable to draw lines and boundaries to protect their time. At Fooda it’s rare to get emails on the weekend from our CEO. He values his own family time and does a great job being thoughtful about others.”
Emily Karottki, VP of People at Fooda
Wellness activities discussed during the webinar
Encourage walking meetings, if the agenda allows and the weather is nice
Provide the company with a free remote workout session following an all Hands meeting
Litera collaborated with local Chicago, Black Owned & Female Owned fitness studio, Free Movement, for theirs.
Implement a “Take 15” program where a 15 minute calendar invite is sent two to three times per week with links to yoga, meditation, exercise, and breathing techniques to help folks decompress
Introduce step challenges for the team
Provide company “mental health days” every couple of months
Guided two minute meditation sessions at the end of all-hands meetings
Maximizing Company Communications
Both Litera and Fooda pride themselves on being highly transparent organizations. The moderators agreed that sharing information has been a critical way to maintain trust and confidence during uncertain times.
All hands meetings engage and educate employees on where the company stands.
Moderators shared how their all-hands meetings are as important now as ever. The goal is to keep everyone informed about topics that impact the company, including:
How we are doing as a business
When to expect a return to the office
Any major business decisions
Address feedback received from employees
Answer all questions
Fooda has a weekly all hands with regular appearances by the CEO to present the full content of presentations he makes to the Board of Directors (including financials). Litera has a monthly all-hands meeting, and has added two additional fifteen minutes check-ins each week.
Virtual Engagement Activities
Engaging employees with non-work activities and replacing the chance conversations and encounters they would usually have in the office is also important to keeping a healthy company culture. Both Fooda and Litera have worked to include engaging activities for employees and their families. Fooda’s VP of People Emily Karottki has noted that “varying the medium in which we communicate — it doesn’t ALL have to be a video call — helps to keep things feeling fresh.”
Virtual Happy Hours or Mixers
Cocktail tutorials & Group toasts
Small team outings where possible and if people are socially distanced and comfortable
Fun contests Litera has done First Day of School photo contests, Litera Bake-off, Desk Decorating contest for halloween, etc.
Create a company recipe book Litera created one for World Food Day
Story time for Children
Kids costume/dance party
List of ideas for activities employees could do with their families, shared in a Newsletter
Fooda’s Community Tables
Community Tables were originally set up in Fooda’s large open lunch room as a way to encourage people across the company to sit together and open up over lunch. During the pandemic, we have taken the concept virtual.
Goal: Meet new coworkers and build rapport. Re-create the chance encounters we formally had in the kitchens, at the high top tables, and in the elevators.
How does it work?
The company is split into random groups of four people, across different departments and markets.
Each group meets for half an hour over teams video, three times over the course of a month to talk about anything. Table topics are provided as a guide.
By the end, each team member has gotten to know their table mates in a meaningful way, with a better understanding about who they are and what they do.
Watch the webinar
We hope these tips have been helpful and can give you some fresh ideas for your organization. The entire webinar can be viewed online. Feel free to check it out.
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