The social way to attract employees back to the office

4 min read ·

Struggling to bring back employees to the office?

You’re not alone. It’s hard to convince people to waste their time for travel after long months of full-time home office. It makes no sense to spend time and money to get to the workplace just to sit elsewhere.

 
Fortunately, personal connections are a common interest of the employer and the employees.
 

What do people miss from the HO environment?

According to a study (from Q3 2020), 94% of the employees forced to work from home miss at least 1 aspect of the office work.

 
The #1 thing employees miss about the office is the social connections.
 

According to another survey (from Q3 2021), 73% of the responders miss socializing in person. This is a huge jump compared to the 45% of the earlier study. This tells us that this need is an urgent problem we need to solve.

What former office workers miss about the office? Socializing in person. 45% of responders included in 2020 Q3 and 73% of responders included this in 2021 Q3.

Humans crave social connections. We even evolved “social pain” to ensure collaboration for survival. During the pandemic, we had to fight loneliness or even depression due to the lack of social interactions.

Why help people to resocialize at the office?

The Maslow Pyramid prioritizes social needs importance straight after basic needs for survival. Due to the effects of the pandemic, many of us experience a deficit in social interactions. This gives employers the opportunity to emotionally bind employees to the workspace.

Employees happily working together as the are resocialized at the office
 
Provide the opportunity to your people to socialize and your company will flourish.
 

You’ll be the hero who helps them fight their loneliness and depression whilst entertaining them. They will become happier, motivated, and engaged. It’ll also improve communication, thus productivity and innovation can skyrocket.

Furthermore, emotional bindings can dramatically reduce turnover rates. This can save money on recruitment and onboarding while keeping valuable expertise.

How to resocialize your people?

I see you thinking about a large team building but forget about it. It’s costly, doesn’t scale well, and may pose risk during the pandemic.

In the current situation, small, but regular gatherings are the way to go. It’s even better if you achieve a self-sustaining habit of these gatherings.

For the first few occasions, you may try to offer free food, drinks, or other benefits to ensure success. This will help involve more people and get them interested.

Scale-up for real success

Hosting a few initial gatherings is a great start. You’ll see big results, but it won’t make it a habit. The initial effort is essential, but it’s not enough to reach self-sustainability.

You need to achieve that people want to host their own gatherings. This needs motivation, positive feedback, and optionally rewarding.

First of all, you should involve those, who had already organized a previous event. Ask them to do something like before. You should ask them to involve those, who attend their events. Everybody could show their hobby and invite others to do it together. For those who have no idea what to organize, we collected 5 entertaining activity ideas.

Colleagues enjoying an outdoor gathering and taking a selfie

Personal motivation may be still missing from the mix. In a normal situation, involving using a personal favor, giving rewards or free items could do the job. Currently, due to the effects of the pandemic, people are missing social interactions. This positively affects your chances, but you still have to put the effort into it to shake up people.

Sustain activity

Long-term motivation relies on people’s success and experiences. To ensure this, you can provide financial support or other resources to help them. This requires a new policy where you define what kind of tools and resources can be requested. Eg.: covering 30-80% of the expenses for activities with high team-building potential.

In the long run, you can invest in entertaining tools. It’s definitely a good strategy to introduce something new each month to the community. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, it’s purpose is to keep people interested and attending. Eg.: a new console game, board game, or a movie.

Use the right tools

Organizing a gathering without the right tools may be complex, frustrating, and exhausting. The lack of the right tool may prevent habit formation as it requires too large investments from people.

Some tools may be usable like chat rooms, email lists, and Facebook groups. Unfortunately, neither is designed for this and does not truly simplify organization.

Meestory's main features showcased: Easy join; Ideas; Date voting; Organizations suggestion includes ideas, previous events and potential participants; Subscriptions, and personalized suggestions

Meestory is an ad-hoc, small gathering organization platform. We optimized it for usage within the workspace. It helps automatically find companions for the announced event, based on personal interests. It is constantly providing event ideas and tries to motivate users to organize or attend. It also helps to get positive feedback from participants to ensure sustained activity.