Overcoming Return To Office Fatigue Using Kaizen

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The landscape of work has fundamentally changed. Three years after the global pandemic, hybrid work models have become the norm, leaving many companies struggling to define the “why” behind returning to the office. Simply mandating in-office days without a clear purpose is a recipe for disengaged and frustrated employees, especially millennials who value flexibility and work-life balance.

The Frustration of Disjointed Collaboration

Many employees face the scenario where they’re required to come into the office 2-3 days a week, only to find meetings dominated by virtual attendees. This disjointed experience negates any perceived benefits of in-person interaction. Research from Forbes and CNBC highlights a crucial point: employees are more motivated to return to the office when it facilitates collaborative activities that are difficult to replicate virtually.

Remote and hybrid work has also created a sense of disconnect for some employees. They may feel detached from their colleagues, company culture, and the overall mission. This lack of connection can hinder productivity and morale, which in many cases is what has promoted a return-to-office mandate. So how do you get employees to return to the office and create purpose and connection for them all while overcoming their frustration and resistance?

Kaizen: The Secret Weapon for a Purposeful Return

Kaizen, a Japanese philosophy meaning “change for the good,” offers a powerful tool to help employees embrace the return to the office. It’s a structured process designed to streamline workflows across various departments, from engineering to customer service. By focusing on eliminating waste and rework, Kaizen empowers employees to be more efficient and productive, leading to higher engagement.

Kaizen events are most effective when conducted in person over 4-5 days. This format fosters highly interpersonal interactions, encouraging collaboration around a shared goal of improving work processes. Asking your teams to return to the office while encouraging active participation in transforming their work style provides a clear and valuable purpose for in-office days.

Building Camaraderie and Fostering Learning

Regular Kaizen events address the need for both camaraderie and a sense of purpose that many remote and hybrid employees crave. In addition, the inherent learning aspect of Kaizen allows experienced team members to mentor and train junior colleagues. This knowledge transfer strengthens team dynamics and promotes professional development.

By embracing Kaizen, companies can transform the return-to-office experience for employees. It creates a space for purposeful collaboration, fostering a sense of connection and shared vision.  This intentional approach addresses the critical need for a clear “why” behind in-office work, ultimately leading to a more engaged, productive, and motivated workforce in the hybrid era. If your team is disengaged or you’re navigating a difficult return-to-office and you’re interested in learning more about Kaizen events, please contact us and a member of our leadership team will get back to you.

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