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The Effects of Inflation on Workers’ Post-Pandemic Return to the Office, Part Two

In part one of this blog, we talked about the cost to employees of returning to the office after working remotely during the pandemic. In part two, we are going to tell you how to get them back.

Enticing employees to return to the office

Having now transitioned back to working in the office, there are quite a few employees who are not thrilled about it. Some will even take a decrease in salary to be able to work from home. What tactics can organizations use to ease this transition, show they’re listening to their employees’ needs, and change their views on returning to work?

Commuting Stipends: Commuting expenses paid by workers can include train, subway, bus, ferry, or gas. Media company Bloomberg is offering its U.S. staff a $75 daily commuting stipend—which they can spend however they want.

Child Care Allowance: Employers can help the economy bounce back from the pandemic by offering childcare benefits. A Care.com study found that 67 percent of working parents would be more loyal to their current job if they were offered employer-subsidized child care and 60 percent believe their job performance would improve if child-care benefits were available. HR professionals are listening, and 50 percent of companies plan to offer or expand their child-care benefits.

Pet Perks: 70 percent of workers are willing to accept a pay cut to join a company that allows pets at work. To retain employees, organizations are offering pet-friendly offices and pet stipends—a monthly reimbursement for dog-walking and cat-sitting.

Return to Office Extravaganzas: Microsoft recently held a lawn party to welcome employees back to the office with tacos, gyros, fried chicken, a beer garden, and a life-size chessboard. Qualcomm did something similar in which several thousand workers attended a happy hour with food, drinks, and free t-shirts.

Free Food: Until recently, Wall Street firms like investment bank Goldman Sachs provided free breakfast and lunch to employees working in the office. They have now moved to “new experiences and offerings,” including snack pop-ups and “Support a Local Restaurant” days.   

Summary

As workers slowly return to the office during post-pandemic recovery, the cost increases can be overwhelming. Organizations can help ease their workers’ stress by offering perks and allowances to help offset costs. Workers should take an inventory of all of the expenses required for in-person work— that may have dropped off their radar while working remotely over the past two years—and budget accordingly.

This blog was authored by Broadleaf’s Client Delivery Manager Briggs Bruni.