Regardless of where companies stand, going to the office in some form can provide meaningful interaction for employers and employees. Studies show that offices remain essential for optimal collaboration, creativity, mentoring, culture-building, and other factors that contribute to successful businesses.

KBS Regional President, Western U.S., Giovanni Cordoves recently pointed out, “As companies have discovered some of the inefficiencies of working remotely, they’re increasingly calling their workforce back to the office and providing their teams with incentives to do so, including flexible work schedules, attractive compensation packages, and amenities they can’t access when working from home.”

Businesses that signal “we’re here for you” can draw employees to the office by actively putting employees first — something that’s long been said but not necessarily done. And by pivoting to “purpose-led” workplaces, companies will not only inspire employees to feel part of something bigger, it’ll help them thrive, improve performance, be more successful, and want to stay with their employer.

To put a finer point on the matter, here are just seven of the latest workplace trends for attracting employees back — and keeping them in the office.

1. Flexibility

Flexibility, or the lack therof, impacts employee satisfaction and, therefore, performance and productivity. People want greater work-life balance, and work flexibility helps them get there. Asynchronous work, which allows people to manage their own work time and location, became a necessity for many during COVID. Now, some call it “the future.” Examples include flex time, reduced hours, a compressed work week, job sharing, vacation-time flexibility, and some combination of working onsite and remotely.

2. Perks

Companies that approach their office space as a destination, not an obligation, provide perks that help make employees less stressed and more productive. In other words, they make the workplace worth traveling for: an environment that allows for solitude, quiet time, and privacy. Adding wellness or meditation rooms, tech-free spaces and outdoor areas to access fresh air are ways companies are helping employees Zen out. Perks like free lunches, coffee stations, cool snack bars, pop-up events and concierge services, or even allowing dogs to come to work, all fit the bill.

3. A Great Employee Value Proposition

The Employee Value Proposition, or EVP, sums up all the benefits and rewards a company offers its employees. What this means is creating workplaces that feel purpose-led and prioritize employee wellbeing. Making people feel cared about as individuals and ensuring their work helps them thrive, not burn out. In general, EVP is a combination of financial rewards, employment benefits, career development, work environment and company culture.

4. Strong Pay/Compensation

When it comes to encouraging job loyalty and appreciation — and a true willingness to be in the office — good pay ranks high. Additionally, today’s workers view income as a huge factor when considering leaving current employment. Qualified jobseekers also know that companies are competing for their attention in this post-pandemic, “great resignation” becomes the “great reshuffle,” job market for talent. Being in the driver’s seat has emboldened workers to seek higher pay and more perks. Employee-centered companies research their offerings in order to pay well.

5. Stability and Security

Workers are seeking jobs that provide greater stability and security. People want to feel safe — in their industry, profession, and organization. This can be a gray area, as people struggle to define what the future looks like and how their profession fits within it. Workplaces that are a stabilizing force for the health of their people and the economy will appeal to both employees and jobseekers.

6. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

DEI is a priority of many of today’s workers. Coming off the pandemic, McKinsey & Company learned that, in a hybrid world, more women and people of color prefer working from home. Workplaces can show commitment to DEI by ensuring that underrepresented talent is encouraged to work on- or off-site in line with other groups of employees and are included in conversations that promote career growth. Also, managers should strive to surface and elevate fairness concerns and work with employees to arrive at solutions before they escalate.

7. A “Best-Fit” Work Environment

There are important differences when it comes to various industries, locations, jobs, and demographics. Companies that understand their unique recruiting environment and personalize their workplace to satisfy the desires of their job market, and candidates will create mutual attraction with employees. By identifying high performers and what makes them unique, companies can target people who really resonate with their offerings — and drive a win-win for employer and employee.

Attracting and retaining employees of today centers on collaboration, reflective of a desire to come together professionally and socially.

Workplace evolution is about making people feel more connected, appreciated, and special. It’s like being in a family — a healthy one that strives to get things done together in smarter, more efficient ways that allow people to optimize performance and achieve work-life balance.

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