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Major bid by 54% of businesses to encourage employees back to the office

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In a significant study1 of businesses of all sizes and industries across the UK, Towergate Health & Protection has revealed the current state of play when it comes to hybrid working. There is a big push by employers currently to encourage employees back to the office.

The figures show that hybrid working is still very much in place, with 30% of companies saying that the majority of their staff split their working time between home and their usual place of work. The average company has 39% of its employees working on a hybrid basis, and this rises to nearly half (47%) of employees among large companies. Just 14% of companies said they had no employees hybrid working.

However, over half (54%) of employers said they are actively trying to encourage employees back to the office. In a bid to do this, employers are utilising a variety of tactics:

  • Mandatory office days, 29%
  • Free meals and/or drinks, 29%
  • Access to the gym 28%
  • Onsite wellbeing days 27%
  • More onsite socials 24%
  • Subsidised transport/commuting costs 24%
  • Access to in-person counselling 22%

Encouraging employees back to the office

While the majority of employers do offer, or have had little choice but to offer, hybrid working, it is clear that many would now prefer staff to be back in their usual workplace.

Debra Clark, head of wellbeing at Towergate Health & Protection, comments: “Encouraging employees back to the office will take a careful mix of incentives, and health and wellbeing support will be fundamental.”

Indeed, as the research shows, many companies have already started to offer wider health and wellbeing support based at the workplace, but with hybrid working now being the norm, these benefits will have to work hard to encourage people back.

Support will need to be appropriate to the different demographics of the workforce and to employees’ differing needs. This means offering a wide range of options, covering all four pillars of health and wellbeing – physical, mental, social, and financial – to help the transition back to the workplace to be healthy, positive, and productive.

Supporting those who choose to stay home

Motivating employees to return to the office needs to include good health and wellbeing support. This will be vital for those employees who still choose to work from home.

Working from home can potentially bring with it a whole host of health and wellbeing issues. These can include musculoskeletal issues from not having a good work desk setup, to the mental pressures of isolation and lack of social contact. Employees may even be hit financially by the current high costs of heating their home while they work. So support may be as diverse as virtual physio appointments, online counselling, and financial education; and this will need to be coupled with access to face-to-face support too.

Debra Clark concludes: “As working styles widen, employers will have to widen their health and wellbeing offering to match. This will be in terms of what they offer, and where. Information gathering will be key and varied methods of communication will be vital. Support will need to include a mix of remote and in-person, and we’re going to see an increase in the use of wellbeing platforms to make support easier to access too.”

Most exec support staff want hybrid working.