Changes to hybrid working patterns and offering incentives to encourage staff back to the office carry risks, a workforce solutions specialist has warned.
According to the Hays ‘Ways of Working Survey’, around 10% of employers are offering, or considering offering, incentives to tempt workers out of their homes, with 26% saying staff working on a hybrid model will be asked to attend the office more frequently.
However, Mason believes a “careful balance” must be struck between incentives and productivity.
“Balancing time between working remotely and in the office is still seen as the best of both worlds by a large majority of professionals,” he said. “While flexible working is still popular, we’ve recently seen very assertive moves to get staff back to the workplace more, and we believe this will increase in the next 12 months.
“Employers need to balance incentives with their need to drive productivity,” he added. “For example, some managers are creating a purpose for their teams to attend the workplace through networking and learning sessions.”
Hays’ research found the most popular incentives among professionals to encourage a move back to the office are paid or subsidised travel (42%), lunches (42%) and gym facilities (39%).
Mason commented: “While everyone has different preferences and lifestyles, the most popular enticements seem to be subsidised travel and lunches. However, while some companies offer interest-free travel, to offer paid incentives like these can become extremely costly over time, and a major financial hit for employers.”
Other popular incentives revealed by the research included an onsite café with a free drinks machine (58%), bicycle storage/showers (53%) and access to better hardware/software in the workplace such as additional screens and faster internet connections (42%).
On-site childcare and subsidised childcare were popular incentives among 20% and 12% of respondents respectively.
“Employers should also consider what makes an office an appealing place to be in order to encourage workers to return to this way of life,” said Mason.