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Make it fun rather than forcing it

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Coercive measures will fail if the goal is to encourage workers back to offices and re-establish a creative and collaborative working environment, writes Dr Nahla Khaddage Bou-Diab. Instead, a workplace culture must be created that motivates people to return.

Working from home has led company culture into the doldrums. Offices are empty, meeting rooms are barren, and cafes are half empty at lunch time. Clearly, organisations need to encourage people back to the office – after all, the culture, the lifeblood of the firm, collaboration and innovation rely on it.

Heritage, logos, beanbags, potted plants and merchandise are no way to create culture”

But EY’s recent office attendance monitoring is no way to do that.

In January, it was revealed that EY – a member of accountancy’s Big Four – had begun to monitor their employees’ swipe card entry data. Of course, while this may persuade their employees to comply with hybrid working guidelines, its true purpose is to usher staff back to the office.

Unfortunately, EY is not the only giant issuing this return-to-office mandate. Bank of America has taken a more direct approach, sending “letters of education” to staff who have not been attending the office.

Working from home is not great for culture – I’ll be the first to say that. It hinders cross-department collaboration, hampering productivity, the execution of deliverables and, as a result, innovation.

But these return-to-office initiatives are no…

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