Planning for Getting Back to the Office

For over a year and a half, a large percentage of the American workforce has been working remotely. While many employees are happy to continue that model, employers in general are eager to have their staff return to the office. This can be a big adjustment for everyone involved.

“The Great Resignation” taking place in 2021 saw over 4 million people quit their jobs in August alone, breaking the prior single-month record. How can you bring staff back in a way that keeps them happy and less likely to seek out a new employer who’s continuing the remote-work model?

There are a number of things employers can do to create a welcoming environment and make the transition easier for their employees to go back to the office. Here are some that you might want to consider.

Address Health Concerns for Employees in the Office

For employees who have health concerns, it’s important to communicate the measures being taken to provide a clean office space. Make sure they have access to hand soaps, sanitizers, and disinfectant wipes. Plus, where required or at least desirable, have disposable face masks on hand for employees and visitors who may forget theirs.

Offer Hybrid Working Options for Office Time

Most companies have found that productivity is at the same level or even improved when employees work from home. However, there may be times when on-site work is the best option. In this case a hybrid work schedule could strike the perfect balance. By staggering who is in the office and when, social distancing is easier to achieve, which may make employees feel more comfortable being in the office. And, employees who are actually more productive when working from home will still have regular periods of remote working.

Provide Child Care and Pet Care Assistance

Employees required to go back to the office, even if for only part of the time, may face issues with obtaining care for their children or pets. Throughout much of the pandemic, affordable day care throughout the U.S. was hard to find, if not non-existent. Parents may need financial assistance to get their children back into an appropriate care facility. An easy way for employers to help is by offering a Dependent Care Assistance Plan, also known as a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account. Or, if an employer has enough parents on staff, providing on-site child care options could have a huge impact. For pet-parent employees, the employer might consider negotiating a company group rate at a nearby pet day care facility.

Consider Mental Health and Wellness Programs

Employers may also want to consider offering a greater variety of benefits to help with the mental and physical changes that come with such a dramatic change in lifestyle and routine. Being thrust back into the office may trigger anxiety in people who became comfortable in their home environment with little personal interaction. Employers who don’t already offer mental health benefits and/or wellness programs may want to begin doing so now. Employers can arrange for discounts on products and services, gym memberships and other types of incentives. These wellness programs can help employees to maintain or improve their mental and physical health.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the one thing we are all dealing with is change, and lots of it. Now more than ever, employers need the knowledge and advice of Third-Party Administrators (TPAs) to help them navigate the continually evolving work and benefits environment.

DataPath Administrative Services is a full-service third party administrator. Contact us today for more information.

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