16 Return to the Office Perks and Incentives

Home » Resources » Office Perks and IncentivesUpdated: September 30, 2022

You found our list of return to the office perks and incentives.

Return to the office perks and incentives are ideas that will attract workers to move from a remote work to a work-from-office arrangement. Examples include childcare benefits, pet stipends, and a hybrid work schedule. The purpose of these activities is to help workers transition easily from a work-from-home to a physical office work setting. Return to the office motivators will also ensure that workers remain productive.

These activities are a type of employee benefit and are similar to return to the office ideas, return to work programs, and returnship programs. These initiatives can also be examples of employee engagement strategies, company culture campaigns, and employee retention strategies.

This list includes:

  • return to the office perks
  • return to the office incentives
  • ways to get employees back to the office
  • back to office incentives

Here we go!

List of return to the office perks and incentives

Companies are now offering employees the flexibility to work from home. However, some businesses operate more smoothly and increase productivity with an in-office employee setup. Rather than forcing your team back to the office, you could find ways to entice team players to resume to a physical workplace setting. From free meals to casual dress code and commuter benefits, here is a list of the best ideas you can use to incentivize your team back to the office.

1. Workspace Revamp

Remote work settings often lack the connectivity that employees get from on-site work arrangements. Hence, one of the best ways to get employees back to the office is a workspace revamp that will encourage collaboration. For instance, you could add an open seating area or an outdoor space that can work as a casual meeting or collaboration space. Workers can use these spaces to hold meetings in a non-formal setup or catch up with other employees during breaks. You can also furnish the office with enticing colors, replace furniture with new and more comfortable options, and put up office artwork.

2. Childcare Benefits

A return to the office work arrangement may strain parents and guardians, especially in the search for childcare. You could encourage parents and guardians to return to the office by offering on-site or off-site childcare incentives. One great way to offer childcare perks is through an on-site daycare. Workers can bring their children to work and pick them up when heading home. Another great choice of childcare perk is offering workers free access to nearby daycare centers. Childcare perks will relieve workers of the pressure of childcare, increase work productivity, and decrease absenteeism.

3. Commuter Benefits

Working from home relieves workers who have to bear a long commute. One of the best back-to-work incentives is offering commuter benefits that will reduce the cost of getting to the office or the time spent on the road. With commuting expenses and logistics being a major contributor to work stress, commuter benefits are a clever way that companies can use to retain and attract top talent. Workers will also be more productive when businesses sort major commute issues.

Commuter benefit ideas:

  • Enroll workers in fuel discount programs or provide fuel gift cards
  • Offer paid parking for your employees
  • Offer public transit passes. Beyond giving your workforce transit passes to work, you could consider offering unlimited vouchers on public transport
  • Have pick-up and drop-off services for all team members
  • Offer workers toll cards

Some of the factors that companies can consider when offering commuter perks include geographic location, employee preferences, and cost. Companies should also factor in the environmental impact of commuting options. To reduce additional administrative responsibilities for workers, you could offer benefits like pick-ups and drop-offs through third-party providers.

4. Professional Development Opportunities

Employee professional development opportunities are fantastic return to the office incentives that will also contribute to the growth of your organization. For instance, you could pay partial or full student loans for your team. Student loan repayments can help workers who want to further their studies access to education without the worry of double financing. Another perk you can offer your team is a tuition assistance policy where you reimburse workers partial or full college education costs. If you are working with a tight budget and still want to offer access to professional development programs, then you can offer paid study time. Consider also hosting in-office workshops and giving employees time off to attend offsite trainings and conferences. Professional development programs are vital for companies that want to absorb top talent within the entity to senior management.

Check out this list of workers’ professional development ideas.

5. Pet Stipends

With remote work arrangements, your team may have gotten themselves a furry companion. A return to the office setting means that the pets stay at home alone. Workers’ separation from their pets for long periods can be a difficult transition and also negatively affect productivity.

Here are some pet stipend ideas:

  • Stipends to use for pet daycare and walkers
  • Pawternity leave, which allows workers to take paid time off and care for pets and offspring.
  • Gift cards to purchase a wide range of pet food
  • Bring your pet to work days, where workers can bring their pets to work on a select day, or every day if possible.
  • Pet insurance
  • Webcams to check on pets from the office

Pet stipends are great incentives to assure team members that companies also care for their furry companions as workers resume a physical office setting.

You can also consider getting an office pet.

6. Free Meals

With remote work, employees do not have to worry about the high cost of takeout lunches. While free food may seem like a simple incentive, the perk can effectively motivate your team to return to a physical office setup. Sharing meals is also a clever way that companies can use to encourage conversation among workers, especially after a remote working arrangement.

Free meals ideas:

  • Offer catered breakfast and lunch
  • Offer weekly meal deliveries to all workers from their favorite restaurant
  • Upgrade the office coffee machine and provide an assortment of drinks and snacks
  • Have food truck days
  • Set up a creative snack bar that features a mix of both sweet treats and healthy bites

Regular catch-ups with co-workers amid food and drinks are a clever way to foster team bonding and increase employee engagement. Free meals will also alleviate the costs that employees incur to buy food and drinks when at work.

7. Casual Dress Code

If you are looking for free incentives to enchant your team back to the office, then you could try a casual dress code. A relaxed dress code will also help workers transition easily into their physical office since workers will not feel too constrained. If your company has a strict dress code, then you could opt for casual dressing every few days of the week. You can also let your team report to work in casual clothing on days when they do not have engagements that require professional attire.

8. Pop-Up Events

Celebrating the return of workers to the office with pop-up events is a sure way to encourage team members to back to their physical work settings. Rather than hold one event, you could have fun activities at the end of every week. For instance, you can invite a renowned musician for an exclusive performance for your workers. Fun events excite workers, foster team bonding, and help employees build their talent. A fantastic approach to company-wide pop-up events is having a mix of both fun and educational activities.

Fun event ideas for workers:

  • Scavenger hunts
  • Escape rooms
  • Picnics
  • Birthday parties
  • Wine tasting
  • Cookoffs
  • Office Olympics
  • Comedy workshops
  • Talent shows

You could start by inviting all team members to a major fun event at the office grounds. Regular pop-up events will foster a spirit of camaraderie and improve the company culture.

Check out this list of fun team building events.

9. Hybrid Work Schedule

If you want your team to have an easier transition back to the office, then you could consider offering a hybrid work schedule. In the hybrid work arrangement, employees can work from the office on some days and from the office on others.

Here are the types of hybrid work styles you can consider:

  • Cohort model- The cohort model is ideal for companies that want a more structured work arrangement. With the schedule, every employee will follow the work format as given by their seniors. For instance, you could request your team to report to the office Monday to Wednesday.
  • Flexible model- Employees can choose to work from home or the office as they wish. The flexible model is one of the best ways to get employees back to the office after a lengthy remote work arrangement.

A hybrid work schedule gives team players the benefits of the flexibility of remote work and the camaraderie of physical offices. Hybrid work models can also help companies to reduce office operating costs.

10. Wellness Perks

With the health and wellness of workers directly affecting profitability in a business, you cannot go wrong with employee wellness perks. Well-thought-out wellness incentives will reduce work absenteeism, improve the retention of top talent, and increase employee morale. Fun employee wellness activities such as sports will also foster teamwork among workers.

Wellness ideas:

  • Host regular wellness classes such as dancing, body strength training, or yoga. These classes will offer workers vital tips that they can implement at home and also keep your team mentally and physically fit.
  • Set up a gym at work. Workers can choose to use the gym before office duties or after work.
  • Offer workers membership discounts to gyms of choice
  • Prioritize wellness by offering workers access to therapy
  • Host regular fitness challenges for all workers
  • Motivate workers to become advocates of their health by offering coaching services
  • Provide regular specialty services such as massage therapy, reflexology, and acupuncture
  • Have de-stress zones in the office
  • Supply wellness gadgets such as fitness trackers
  • Launch assistance programs for workers struggling with depression, stress, or anxiety

Employee wellness perks ensure that workers maintain excellent physical and mental health and set your team up for better performance.

Check out this list of employee wellness ideas.

11. Daily Errands

Remote work arrangements allow workers to carry on their daily errands with ease. However, with a return-to-work policy, your team may not have the luxury of cleaning the dishes or doing laundry during lunch breaks. Your team may appreciate sponsored daily errands from the company. For instance, you could offer your workforce pick-up and drop-off laundry services. Other team players may appreciate dropping off car keys and getting back a clean car. Catered daily errands will ease the transition from remote to physical office work plans since workers will not have to stress about everyday tasks.

12. Personalized Employee Rewards

As one of the best avenues that you can use to appreciate your team, personalized employee rewards can be a great incentive to encourage workers to return to the office. If you have a large team, knowing their likes and dislikes can be a challenge. A clever way to go about rewards is by letting attendees mention three products and experiences that they would like within a given budget range. Then, you can select one activity or product within your budget that is in line with company policy. We recommend that you lean more towards experiences such as vacations with family, spa days, or kayaking trips.

13. Grocery Stipends

With the constant rise in the cost of living, grocery stipends are back to office incentives that your employees will appreciate. The grocery stipends could be a great option for companies that do not offer workers free meals. You can either opt to offer the stipend in cash or gift cards. Employees can use gift cards for groceries, beverages, and even take-out meals. Grocery stipends are flexible ways that companies can support their workers’ needs.

14. Care Packages

If you are looking for affordable ways to incentivize your team back to a physical work arrangement, then you could consider care packages. You can get creative and offer each employee a monthly care package themed around company initiatives or holidays. Another great way to go about care packages is by personalizing the items. For instance, if you have workers who are struggling to quit smoking, then you can offer free access to paid meditation apps, encouraging magic mugs, or spa gift cards. Care packages are also beneficial in strengthening the connection between workers and their employers.

Here is an extensive list of employee care package ideas.

15. Paid Time Off

Paid time off remains one of the main motivators for employee productivity and the best burnout prevention strategy. Companies could encourage workers to return to the office by improving their paid time off policy. For instance, you could have an open vacation policy if workers meet their deadlines and targets. Employees will get extra time to spend with their family, run errands, and recharge. Paid time off will also improve your team’s productivity and your worker’s quality of life.

16. New Technology

At-home work setups may not have vital technology workers need to be productive. You could entice your team to resume a physical working schedule by investing in office technology that streamlines workflow and simplifies employees’ tasks. Once your team experiences increased efficiency with the new technology, then your team may opt to work from the office without any push. A great start is researching the technological challenges that your workers experience when working from home.

Conclusion

After remote working arrangements, companies often face multiple challenges when trying to compel workers to return to their physical office. Back to office incentives will boost workers’ morale and increase productivity. Return to office perks will also help retain top talent as you transition to a different working arrangement. While not every idea will work for any company, you can browse our list of incentives and choose perks within your budget that will also appeal to your workers.

Next, check out these remote work statistics, this list of employee incentive ideas, and office moving tips

FAQ: Return to the office perks and incentives

Here are answers to common questions about return to the office perks and incentives.

What are return to the office perks and incentives?

Return to the office perks and incentives are ideas that companies can use to motivate remote workers to return to a physical office work arrangement. These incentives will motivate workers to return to the office without strife. Back-to-office perks such as wellness incentives can also help to shape workers’ lives and improve the company culture.

What are some good incentives to get employees back to the office?

While remote work settings may be favorable to some companies, other entities may struggle with employee management and the lack of productivity. Rather than forcing workers back to the office, companies are now devising ways to ease the transition of team players from remote settings to physical working arrangements. Some good incentives to get employees back to the office include personalized employee rewards, wellness perks, and paid time off.

What are tips for offering return to the office incentives?

While remote work may be preferable to many workers, an office work arrangement offers companies and employees countless benefits. For instance, physical offices create an environment for workers to focus without distractions. Physical offices also provide an ideal environment where workers can collaborate with other team players. Employees are also unlikely to face the loneliness of working from home.
However, moving workers from their remote to in-office arrangements can be a challenge. Here are some tips that you can use to ease the transition to the back to office setup.

  • For a smooth transition, you can start with the hybrid work schedule that requires employees to work from home on some days and from the office on others.
  • Make time for in-person employee collaboration- After being away from each other, you may notice a disconnect between your team, especially on projects that require the input of all players. You could opt for in-person collaboration activities like meetings and brainstorming sessions.
  • Have specific time for in-person bonding. For instance, you could plan regular coffee chats, team lunches, and happy hours.
  • Avoid micromanaging- Remote working schedules allow workers to work without supervision. Micromanagement may rub off workers the wrong way and discourage back-to-office work setups.
  • Avoid bombarding workers with unnecessary in-person meetings – You can even designate no-meeting days in all departments or opt for informal meetings.

Be sure to give workers time to adjust from the work-from-home arrangement to a physical office setting.

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Author: Grace He

Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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