Incentives to Bring Employees Back to the Office

Top employee incentive programs you can put in place to make the transition to the office smoother for your team. 
by
Jelena Leung
March 11, 2022

Nationwide office closures and the sweeping introduction of work-from-home routines have kept many teams physically separated from one another. But as the pandemic wanes and public health responses strengthen, many companies now want to reunite and resume a level of pre-pandemic normalcy. 

Today, businesses are once again setting their sights on office reopenings. Whether returning on a full-time or hybrid basis, companies such as Microsoft and Goldman Sachs are all ditching the home office in favor of a more traditional workplace setting. 

However, not everyone’s so easily sold on returning to the office. The good news is that employee incentives can be put in place to provide a little extra motivation. In this article, we’ll share some of the top employee incentive programs you can put in place to make the transition to the office smoother for your team. 

Subsidized Daycare and Childcare

If you want to incentivize parents to come back to the office after two years of working from home, you need to demonstrate your commitment to supporting their family life. The ongoing pandemic has put in focus the importance of family time, and the aftereffects of years’ worth of work-from-home aren't going to go away any time soon.

Tomorrow's most competitive businesses will be those that offer subsidized childcare for employees. In fact, the onset of the pandemic led 700,000 parents in America to decide to indefinitely stop working in order to raise their children full-time. To bring these workers back on board, you can't ignore their familial needs. 

Offering childcare subsidies, or even in-home care, to your employees with children will always go appreciated, even if the program isn't redeemed. Gestures such as these truly set apart companies that claim to have a family-like bond and others that have no interest in their employee’s personal well-being and family life. 

Hybrid Flexibility

A flexible hybrid work schedule could serve as an excellent (and relatively low-cost) incentive bonus for coming back to the office. Rather than rigid nine-to-five work schedules, forward-thinking enterprises can offer their employees the ability to work their eight or nine hours each day on their own terms—whether that means showing up at 8 a.m. or 11 a.m. 

Part-time remote work is another distinct possibility that should be considered by business owners. Allowing one or two days per week to work from home could provide enough of an incentive for your employees to return to the office. This way, both your company’s and your employee's needs can be met without over-imposing on either.

Financial Bonuses

Who doesn't like cold, hard cash? To truly make a strong positive impression on your team members, consider enticing them with a “return to the office” cash bonus. A check valued at two or three percent of your employees’ gross salary could be enough to adequately entice them to come back to the office. 

As a part of their compensation package, bonuses can be spent however your employees please. However, they can be justified on the grounds that your employees will need to spend more on office supplies, equipment, travel expenses, and perhaps childcare. 

Free Office Meals

It can be difficult to make large-scale changes in one's lifestyle. Heading back to the office after years of WFH is certainly no exception. To get your team back at their old desks without complaint, let it be known that you aren't going back to business as usual. Instead, spice things up by announcing free weekly office meals or snacks. 

Whether you're giving out office meal stipends to employees, or bringing in made-to-order food for your team to enjoy together, the options are nearly endless when it comes to office food incentives. With the Ritual for Teams app, you can seamlessly order local snacks, beverages, and meals so that they’re ready for pickup when you arrive. This allows you to skip the line, build loyalty credits, and score a free meal every now and then. 

Welcome Back Kits Curated from Local Businesses

Who doesn’t like supporting local small businesses? When your employees return to the office, why not surprise them with personalized "welcome back" gift bags from local shops that suit their style or personality. This way, you can not only support your local business community but also show your appreciation for your team and the unique individuals that comprise them. 

Although it's not among the most persuasive employee incentives, gift bags are a fun surprise that helps show your team members that you care. Plus, it's not a bad way to boost employee engagement during this critical transition period. 

Bring in “Practical Perks”

Today more than ever, employees want their job to accommodate their lifestyles. Installing indoor or sheltered bicycle racks, private showers, and open, quiet spaces for meditation, prayer, or contemplation can give your office the spark it needs to be more appealing to a greater number of people. Plus, renovations that allow for more natural light and fresh air can breathe new life into an office environment. 

Employee incentive programs don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes all you need is the will to listen to what your employees want, and make reasonable accommodations to your office to make it better suit their lifestyle. 

Putting Together a Winning Incentive Strategy

Formulating an employee incentive plan is no easy feat in today’s professional environment. Now more than ever, employees are accustomed to the conveniences of at-home work. Still, not every workplace is well-suited for the home office environment, and some professions require real physical collaboration. 

The realities of today’s labor environment underscore the importance of offering attractive employee incentives to facilitate the return to the office. In this article, we shared a handful of our favorite incentives to help bring your top talent back to an in-person work setting.

However, our favorite employee incentive is made possible thanks to Ritual for Teams.

To find out how you can bring your team together with delicious, local food

Book a Demo Today
Jelena Leung
Jelena is the Senior Director of Marketing at Ritual. Her expertise in marketing strategy and execution has spurred the growth of the many businesses and teams that she has worked with. As a marketing leader with more than 14 years of experience, she has obtained valuable knowledge and insights about marketing in the restaurant industry. She occasionally writes about the topics of human resources, restaurant marketing, employee retention, team building, and more.
Jelena Leung
Jelena is the Senior Director of Marketing at Ritual. Her expertise in marketing strategy and execution has spurred the growth of the many businesses and teams that she has worked with. As a marketing leader with more than 14 years of experience, she has obtained valuable knowledge and insights about marketing in the restaurant industry. She occasionally writes about the topics of human resources, restaurant marketing, employee retention, team building, and more.