With businesses opening back up, restrictions being pulled back, and things returning to a new normal, many companies are now calling employees back to the office. For some employees, this will be the first time they have returned in-person in months, possibly a year or more. Employees have gotten quite comfortable working remotely, which is also making the return to the workplace more challenging than many have been anticipating.

If you’re a business owner who is having a hard time getting employees to return to the office, these seven tips can prove to be quite beneficial.

Employees Need to Feel Safe
One thing that is being said over and over is that employees need to feel safe. They need to know that the office environment will be safe to return to and that their health and well-being is a priority. This can be done by following any health and safety guidelines in your area and then implementing additional measures that can help ensure everyone feels comfortable. You can even speak to employees and ask them what sort of environment would make them feel safe. Ask them what you could do to ease any fears or doubts they have.

Upgrade Their Hardware and Software
It may also be time to consider the hardware and software your employees are using and upgrade everything. Having a brand-new computer that runs smoothly can be a huge bonus for employees. It will make their job easier and therefore more enjoyable. It will also help the business to be more productive.

Transform the Break Room into a Games Room
Most workplaces offer a breakroom where employees can go for a snack, their lunch or just step away from their desk for a little bit. So, rather than create a standard break room with the usual items such as the water cooler, coffee machine and fridge, why not think outside the box and make it a more engaging space?

Transforming the break room into a games room will provide excitement to the office and can act as a huge incentive. It shows that you value your employees, you want them to be able to have a mental break, and that you care about making the workplace an enjoyable space to be.

You can look into coffee table arcade machines from Bitcade to inject excitement and competitive fun into the space. These arcade machines from Bitcade take up very little space, are easy to play and understand and are sure to be a hit in the breakroom. They feature 60 games that are already loaded on the machine so all you need to do is turn it on and let the fun begin.

Other In-Person Incentives
There are other in-person incentives you can use besides transforming the breakroom. They can be simple things such as:

• Free breakfast daily
• Free snacks and beverages daily
• Exercise classes during lunch
• Increased mental-health resources
• More comfortable office space (upgrade office furniture)
• Getting rid of the dress code and allowing for business casual
• Providing movies and streaming services in the breakroom

You can get as creative as you like with these in-office perks. You want them to be unique and exciting.

Allow for Continued Flexibility
Employees are making it clear that although they will return to the office, they don’t necessarily want to do that on a full-time basis. After working remotely for so long, they have discovered that being productive at home is not only possible, but often more efficient.

So, what’s the solution? Offer flexibility. You can speak to individual employees about what their schedule will look like, allowing for some days in the office and some at home. Even if you only allow for 1-2 days of remote work, this will be seen as a huge incentive and bonus in the eyes of employees. It’s a fair compromise where both sides win.

Provide Employees with the Opportunity to Learn and Grow
Working up the career ladder is something many people want to be able to do, but that requires specific steps to be put in place. Why not allow employees to learn and grow when returning to the office? You can offer training classes/courses, help them to expand their skillset and discuss their plans within the company.

Cash Incentives May Be Necessary
If all else fails, you may need to consider cash incentives. Some companies are giving out raises or one-time bonuses as a way to entice employees to return to the office. Think of it as an investment in your business.
Assuming that it will be easy to get employees back to the workplace after working remotely for a length of time is a big mistake. Chances are employees have gotten comfortable with their remote set-up and it’s up to you to convince them that coming back to the office makes sense and will benefit them.