An Office Value Proposition (OVP) can encourage staff to spend more time in the office, but a survey by recruitment and workforce solutions specialists Hays reveals it’s an underutilised tool.

Hays conducted a LinkedIn poll to gauge the use and effectiveness of OVPs. Over 1,000 people responded, sharing whether their employer had clearly and meaningfully communicated the benefits of working in the office and, if so, whether it encouraged them to spend more time doing so.

Over half (52 per cent) said their employer had not communicated the benefits of spending more time in the office. A further 25 per cent said their employer had communicated the benefits, but it had not encouraged them to increase their in-office days. Just 20 per cent said their employer had communicated the benefits effectively and, as a result, they now work more from the office. (The final 3 per cent voted ‘other’.)

“The return to office struggle is real, with employers and employees rarely aligned on their preferred number of in-office and remote days,” says Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand.

“We know that professionals are hungry for continued flexibility. When they job search, candidates tell us they want a role offering hybrid working on their own terms.

“But the employers we work with are asking, ‘How do I get my employees to come back to the office more?’ Some have tried to mandate a return, but a heavy-handed approach negatively impacts an employer brand, staff attraction and employee turnover.”

Hays’s solution is to invest in an OVP. “Rather than mandating a return to the office, an OVP helps organisations communicate a genuine, meaningful and attractive case for spending more time in the office,” says Nick.

According to Hays, an OVP is a statement that outlines to employees the tangible and intangible benefits of working in the office, as opposed to working from home.

“Much like an Employee Value Proposition (EVP), which communicates the unique benefits of working for an organisation, an OVP communicates the benefits of working in the office that can’t be replicated remotely,” explains Nick.

“In turn, employers hope to encourage staff to return more frequently to the office. It’s not designed to discourage hybrid working, but rather better balance time spent working remotely with time in the office.”

According to Hays, organisations should craft their OVP around the benefits of coming into the office, such as:

• Social connection: Employees are more likely to work from the office if they know their colleagues will be there. Team rituals, such as a coffee order before a weekly meeting, monthly lunches, quarterly social activities or birthday and anniversary celebrations, encourage people to come in on the same days and create a sense of belonging.

• One-on-ones: Intangible factors, such as one-on-one check-ins with a direct manager or mentor, also motivate people to work from the office. People will come in to strengthen professional relationships, receive feedback and review progress.

• Upskilling: Employers can support their employees’ need for regular learning by providing in-office training sessions, lunch and learns or coaching. With a clear purpose and value, learning is a strong OVP benefit to encourage office returns.

• Collaboration: Workshop or strategic planning days provide additional motivation for staff to come together to share and create.

• Inclusion: An inclusive office culture also encourages people back to the workplace. For example, invite staff in to celebrate multi-faith religious holidays and days of cultural importance.
“Hybrid working is here to stay and ensures employers adapt to the changing needs and preferences of their workforce,” says Nick.

“Offering remote work improves staff attraction, retention, morale and engagement. But time in the office has benefits too, such as improved collaboration, purpose and connection.

“With an OVP, an organisation can strike a better balance between the two and simultaneously enjoy the benefits of both.”

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