Back to the office: how to work on team spirit and togetherness again?


Back to the office: how to work on team spirit and togetherness again?

It still seems so far away before we can all go back to the office. Although some people just can’t wait, the office as we knew it before Covid-19 won’t be as it used to be – it’s going to be different. Not only in terms of the time we spend there, but also the goals we pursue there. It’ll be a place where companies work on team spirit, on togetherness, on their corporate culture. And I’m really looking forward to contributing to the new role of the office through catering.  Read in this blog how food and drinks will help prepare for a smooth return to the office as well as help build the corporate culture.

Back to the office: how to arrange for a smooth return?

On the KVK site you’ll find a clear overview of what kind of measures will make returning to the office go as smoothly as possible.  Because the time is nearing for us to be able to go back to the office, albeit in small groups, so it’s smart to make preparations. Not only practically such as: How do you make sure everyone maintains social distancing? What about hand hygiene? Do you need to organize something with regards to masks? But also mentally such as: How will returning to the office affect the team spirit, your company culture, or the solidarity between your employees?

Because let’s be honest, working from home doesn’t do your company culture any good. With weekly/monthly digital get-togethers, you’ll still have some of the team spirit, show your commitment and work on the togetherness within your company, even in these difficult times. But it’s by no means a replacement for human contact.

Groups that eat together perform better together
People need each other, they feel a need for real contact, i.e. being able to look someone in the eye, having a conversation over lunch with a colleague, or uninterrupted chat over drinks. Did you know a lot of research has been conducted on the effect of having lunch together at work? After all, eating together is a more intimate act than looking at an excel spreadsheet together. And that “shared intimacy” flows back into work. Kniffin, for example, researched this: ‘Given the findings, organizations would do better to consider their expenditures on weekly lunches as investments in employee performance. Kniffin explains well in his research the effect of having lunch together has on your company culture. Want to know more about this? Read about in in this blog

How do you encourage employees to come back to the office?

As offices continue to “open” more and more, I notice that companies are eager in welcoming their employees back to the office for a couple of days in the week. But employees are hesitant. Many have also experienced working from home as something positive, because it created a certain degree of flexibility and freedom, which we have become accustomed to after an entire year. So how do you encourage your team to come back to the office for a few days as soon as they can? One of my clients was wondering the same thing. Together we are working on a concept that will stimulate employees to come to the office and at the same time strengthen the corporate culture.

Food Truck Tuesday and Barista Thursday
Together with a client we came up with a concept for having lunch together and enjoying good coffee. The company can surprise its employees with a Covid-19-proof food truck in the parking lot as well as make something truly special from the oh-so-missed coffee breaks at the office.

– Food truck and regular team lunch: At a set time during the week/month, schedule in a team lunch. Surprise your employees with a food truck in the parking lot, cooking delicious food with authentic flavors and a great caterer, who will provide a tasty and fun lunch. Worried about the costs? The WKR (Work-related Costs Regulation) provides a budget that allows you, as an employer, to provide meals all the same. You don’t have to pay any wage taxes or a final levy on this. In 2019, the margin was still 1.2% of the taxable salary; this was initially increased to 1.7% over the first € 400,000 for 2020. But because of the corona crisis, this was increased one time to 3.0%. This increased percentage only applies to the first € 400 of the wage bill; for everything above this a lower percentage of 1.2% is applied. Want to know more? Check out Benify’s blog

– Coffee Thursday – Barista on Thursdays: Have a barista come to the office at a set time during the week/month. My poll on LinkedIn showed that coffee breaks was what everyone missed the most from working at the office. If employees have one thing in common, it’s their craving for good coffee or tea. It sure makes a difference whether you have coffee at the office – or not! Did you know that taking coffee/tea breaks creates a better working atmosphere? That’s because coffee breaks bring colleagues together; besides keeping you focused, drinking coffee together improves the team spirit and company culture.

Want to be prepared to go back to the office?

Want to have the mental side of ‘going back to the office’ besides the practical aspects arranged well? Do you have an idea how you can use your shared office to work on your corporate culture or would you like me to brainstorm with you (without any obligations attached)? Together we can look at what’s possible with the budget available. You always get a proposal tailored to your situation and goals. With that little extra support from the government, you have more leeway to focus on the team spirit. So, make the most of it.

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