It’s no secret that the majority of employees are fans of remote work. And when companies first started bringing workers back to the office, more than half said they’d consider quitting if they were forced back.
With the current talent shortage, many employers are offering remote or hybrid work options in order to attract and retain employees. It almost seems like a necessity in this post-pandemic landscape.
But what if your company’s business needs to be done in person? What if you can’t offer the perk that everyone seems to want?
Make the office appealing
If you’re in this position, it can be frustrating. How are you supposed to compete with the companies that can offer remote work?
The first step is not to panic. It may seem like everyone is offering remote work, but there are plenty other companies out there like you who can’t, according to HR expert and author of Evil HR Lady blog, Suzanne Lucas.
So how can these companies attract and retain talent in today’s professional landscape? Lucas has a few ideas.
Flexibility is an enticing perk, and the next best thing to remote work. Ask yourself if employees can come in later or leave earlier when necessary. Could two colleagues swap shifts? This type of flexibility can allow people to attend doctor’s appointments or pick up their kids from school — two big benefits of remote work as well. Anything that helps employees achieve a work/life balance is a huge plus.
Are flexible hours not an option for your company either? Try offering on-site perks to make coming into the office as appealing as possible. Catered lunches and free premium snacks can go a long way. Can you offer more generous vacation policies? Employee appreciation programs can boost engagement and morale, too.
If you’re unsure of which of these perks would work best for your people, go ahead and ask them!
Hiring can be tough
Joseph DeSimone, founder and CEO of Lacrosse Unlimited, experienced this dilemma firsthand.
“Hiring has been a little tough because we’re not remote at all,” DeSimone said. “So we want to make it as much fun as possible to be here.”
And one of those ways DeSimone is making it fun to come into the offices of Lacrosse Unlimited? By allowing employees to bring their dogs to work.
This perk that is available to all employees began quite organically back in 2013, when DeSimone had a new puppy. Not wanting to leave the dog alone all day, he brought it to work.
“Suddenly, everyone was popping in to see the puppy,” DeSimone said. “It was a great way to engage with people I don’t see normally.”
When DeSimone saw how much conversation and bonding occurred by bringing his dog in, he decided to make it a companywide policy.
Adds levity, boosts morale
As time went by, more employees started bringing their dogs to work. Everyone loved having them in the office, DeSimone said. The dogs would run around and play with each other, and stop into people’s cubes and visit.
“It brought a lot of levity to the workplace. Morale went up,” DeSimone said.
When dogs are in the office, everyone pitches in to take care of them, which creates a strong sense of community and teamwork. Some modifications were made to the office to make it more dog-friendly, such as choosing wood floors over carpet, and having a fenced-in side yard to easily let the dogs outside.
Employees love being able to bring their dogs in, and they love seeing each other’s pets, too. It provides flexibility and fosters a great work environment.
Things to consider
DeSimone understands why some companies would be hesitant to allow dogs in the office.
“They can definitely be a distraction,” he said. “It’s important to have a plan in place. Maybe keep a limit on the number of dogs allowed in the office at one time. You could have a designated area to put the dogs during important meetings.”
DeSimone has some more advice for those considering implementing a pet perk.
- Make sure employees are comfortable with the idea. Poll your workers before inviting dogs into the office. Someone could be afraid of dogs, or deathly allergic. It’s important to know that before people start bringing pets to work.
- Set some ground rules. Employees need to understand they’re responsible if their dog destroys property or harms someone. Also, there needs to be a procedure for how to handle misbehaving dogs.
- Have a schedule. Do you have a lot of employees who’d be interested in bringing their dogs to work? You’ll likely want to create a schedule to avoid having a ton of dogs all in the office on one day. Lacrosse Unlimited tends to have two dogs on site on any given day. The most they’ve had at once is four, and that was a bit hectic. Think about how many dogs would be considered “too many” for the size of your company.
DeSimone is all about making the work environment at Lacrosse Unlimited as comfortable and flexible as possible. He wants employees to want to come to work — and allowing pets in the office is a perk so many employees appreciate.