How can I encourage employees back to the office?

When Airbnb announced that their employees could live and work anywhere, their careers page was viewed over 800,000 times.

In February of 2021, Spotify announced its ‘Work from Anywhere’ model. Fast forward to today and attrition is down 15% compared to the same quarter in 2019. 

In August of 2020, Atlassian announced that its 8000 employees can work where they want. Now, approx. 50% of their hires worldwide live or work more than two hours away from its closest office and are happier than ever.

Comparatively, when Apple announced its return-to-work scheme, approx. 56% of its employees stated they were planning on leaving as a result. Whether they did or not is unclear, but the noise speaks for itself.

While it is great that flexibility and hybrid working models are clearly having a positive impact, how do employers promote employees coming into the office on a part-time basis? We say ‘part-time’ because it is clear, based off the Apple example, that forcing employees back full-time to the office just isn’t effective for the working world of today. 

So how can you encourage your employees back to the office?  

We have put together our top tips to help get your employees to WANT to come into the office. We hope you find them useful.  

If you feed them, they will come in 

People love food. End of. The way to an employees’ heart is through food. With inflation rising, food shops are becoming even more costly. If your employer is offering you at least one free meal a day, you’re likely going to see an increase in people attending the office. 

Look at LinkedIn for example. They provide breakfast, lunch and dinner to their employees. Not only does this encourage their employees to come into work, it encourages them to spread the word of how great their company is, and it also encourages them to stay in the office. Sure, why would you need to leave the office when you have fresh food, coffee and a nail technician in your office.  

In-person learning development workshops 

Organise a ‘Lunch & Learn’ workshop in the office. By combining food, which we know employees love, with an exciting speaker who is going to share relevant knowledge and expertise, you’re bound to get a solid turn out in the office.  

It is harder than ever to motivate employees to upskill and set aside learning time when they’re stuck at home. By offering people an exciting workshop with different speakers, you’re making it fun and easy for them to feel like they’re improving and growing. It’s a win win. 

Organise Social Events in the office 

It’s no secret that the best way to get to know someone is a good old fashioned hooly. But there are more options these days than just an honest round of pints. Employers these days are getting creative, organising incentive trips away to glamorous destinations, Michelin-starred meals, and tickets to local events and festivals.  

When employees are coming to work not just to do their job, but to see their work friends – their days in the office will go much faster, and they will look forward to them a lot more. From hikes with their dogs to outdoor yoga, there are plenty of wholesome ways to ensure your employees form fast friendships with their colleagues.  

Create a calendar 

There’s simply no point in attending the office if there isn’t the opportunity for collaboration. Many employees are frustrated to be pushed into attending the office, only to find that their only company for the day is the water cooler and an unused ping pong table. Make it feel worthwhile by rostering teams on together, rather than just looking to fill seats. This way, employees can benefit from teamwork and open discussions, rather than avoiding going in as they think it won’t make a difference.  

Companies like Deloitte have brought in automated calendar software to remove the headache and ensure everyone knows when they are in. Sure, who doesn’t love a digital personal assistant organising their week? 

Get flexible 

Ever since the global pandemic came and changed everything, employees are looking for more flexibility than ever before. Entice them out of their comfy home office with a late start, so they still get that all-important hour of sleep in the morning and can skip the commuter traffic.  

If parents have the freedom to do the school run or spend a few extra minutes at breakfast with the kids, the office is going to seem a lot more enticing. After all, a mid-morning start is better than none at all! Or better yet, introduce an early finish on a Friday – to encourage staff to head for an after-work bite to eat or sociable drink.  

There is no better way to ensure a work-life balance than remote working- so give some freedom back to your employees, rewarding them for working from the office.  


In today’s working world, forcing employees back to the office just isn’t going to work. Unless you’re happy to see your turnover go through the roof- work away!  

The sweet spot is allowing your employees to have an element of flexibility and autonomy but to also find ways to encourage them to WANT to come into the office. Social events, learning workshops, food, a late start, the list goes on.  

Be innovative and don’t be shy to ask your employees what would make them want to come in more. We are in a candidate-driven market where it’s essential to understand their wants if we want to retain and nurture our working relationships with them. 

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