There’s no place like...the office???
Ideally, that’s the sentiment our customers would like to hear expressed by their employees. We get it.
After becoming quite comfy working from home for the last 14 months, luring workers back to the office has become somewhat of a challenge. But the future belongs to those who adapt. And if there’s anything the pandemic has clearly demonstrated to us all, it’s been our ability to do just that: Adapt to change.
At the pandemic’s onset, businesses went virtual. Schools scooted over to online learning. At Miller’s, with an ear to our customers’ needs, we immediately shifted into high gear, providing the PPE that would help them continue operating as seamlessly as possible.
As the cloud of COVID-19 dissipates, new challenges arise.
How can you now adapt your business to meet the new concerns of your employees and make returning to the office actually irresistible? No longer is it “business as usual.” Out-of-the-box thinking is what will get them out of the house. So say many employers who are meeting the back-to-work challenges head on.
To elaborate, we’d like to share 5 questions we posed to Craig Church, Miller’s Vice President of Sales. He divulges some of the strategies he’s seen businesses enact that have proven successful, and discusses ways in which Miller’s is positioned to help you achieve the same.
Q: What challenges are companies seeing with regard to returning to work?
Apparently, expecting 100% of your employees to resume work in the office is a bit of a stretch. The current catchphrase among employers is: “70% is the new 100%.”
In other words, don’t even try to mandate full, pre-pandemic attendance at this time. Some are looking forward to getting back into the office, but many aren’t. The challenge is to offer amenities that make employees enjoy coming back.
Employees have high expectations. Yes, they still want to socialize and work together, but safely and enjoyably. What tends to entice them back are amenities and a safe environment that’s conducive to a culture of collaboration. In response, many businesses are focusing on breakroom upgrades and even going so far as to reconfigure the workplace.
Q: What surprises have you seen?
The high demand for furniture. Miller’s furniture division has grown significantly this year. Companies are investing in reconfigured spaces to address new ways of working that allow for more space, more flexibility and space for hybrid use that facilitates collaborating with colleagues off site.
Q: What concerns are employees sharing?
Even though the science points to COVID as being an airborne virus, many people are still concerned about viruses on high-touch surfaces: coffee machines, water coolers, ice makers — items most often found in the breakroom. Employees don’t want to use products that are stored in an open environment.
They are also looking for more frequent cleaning of these high touch areas. No longer is it ok to just wipe down the office after everyone has left. If employers don’t have staff to clean throughout the day, then employees want the right products to do their own spot sanitizing in their work areas.
Q: What can companies do to bring employees back and alleviate concerns?
Over the last nine months, perceptions of the breakroom and other amenities have changed dramatically. At the beginning of the pandemic, breakrooms were hot spots for catching COVID-19 and had to be closed off or eliminated altogether.
Today, the more progressive companies are using an upgraded breakroom as part of their amenity package to tempt employees to return to the office. Take, for instance, the fact that employees love the comfort of a great cup of coffee or tea to sip while they work.
As a “perk,” companies are upgrading their coffee and other hot drink options to outdo the home coffee and tea experience. At the same time, they're converting coffee, tea, and water dispensers into a more touch-free experience for safety and peace of mind.
Q: What solutions are Miller’s implementing?
Just as we adapted at the start of the pandemic with supplying over $7M of PPE, we’ve ramped up to meet post-pandemic demands. We’re making it easier for companies to promote a more touch-free environment in their breakrooms by offering touchless hot-drink dispensers, as well as touchless ice-machines and dispensers for paper towels, napkins, and utensils.
However, employees are always attracted to little luxuries. (Who isn’t?) On that front, we have a variety of coffee brewers from single-cup to bean-to-cup, that brew high-end coffees, sending aromatic waves across the workplace.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
To raise the FOMO factor (Fear of Missing Out) among employees, some companies are pulling out all the stops. One is constructing a replica of a Scottish pub! Check out what GoodRx® is doing to entice employees back in this video. (To be sure, Miller’s has the products to fill that tall order.)
But of course the changes don’t have to be that big or budget-busting. The most important thing is to project that you want your employees to come back, and that you care enough about them to create a safe, positive, convivial workplace that’s really “nice to come home to.”
Order “welcome back” kits for each employee’s desk. Consider items like branded t-shirts, balloons, and even custom-branded M&M® candies to celebrate your reconnection in a fun and festive way.
Let’s discuss all the ways we can help get you there.
We invite you to get in touch with your Miller’s representative today.