British companies use free beer and popcorn to tempt staff back to offices

British companies use free beer and popcorn to tempt staff back to offices

Free breakfast, candyfloss on demand, or a branded gift — these are just some of the benefits and incentives offered by office-based employers to lure their workers back to their desks after a year and a half at home.

The City of London Corporation, the governing body of the capital’s Square Mile, welcomed workers back by jointly hosting a free-to-enter “beer party” last Thursday, where colleagues could get together over a pint and street food.

Investment firm Fidelity International is one of those offering treats to its nearly 2,900 workers. Those entering the workplace can enjoy a free breakfast for a week from Monday as well as free fruit. Candy floss and popcorn carts will also be available on certain days.

Free breakfast is also offered until the end of October for 1,300 employees of the City Council Law Firm Slaughter and May as well as recyclable stainless steel water bottles in the company’s colors. The company also embraces a flexible work model, under which employees will spend 60% of their time in the office and 40% at home.

One of the most lucrative incentives is with professional service firm PwC, whose 22,000 employees in the UK will receive an extra £ 1,000 in September when the company switches to a hybrid work model, including two or three days a week in the office. Although the receipt of the payment does not depend on the staff stopping working from home, it was suggested in an internal memo that they could use the extra money to cover commuting expenses.

The Croydon-based company onenine5.com, which makes travel goods, said it had been contacted by several technology companies eager to buy the company’s laptop sleeve filled with coconut fiber. They seek to have the product marked with their company logos to bring staff back to the workplace.

“It’s having the latest ‘swag’, as they call it,” said onenine5.com founder Alex Stewart. “We hear from office managers who have been allocated a budget for the purpose of ‘welcome back’ or facilitating people to hybrid work.”

Gifts or team gatherings are a way to “make employees feel valued and valued” after a period of isolated work, according to workplace psychologist Lee Chambers, who runs Preston-based training firm Essentialise.

“Obviously some people are really excited to go back to the office and some are a little more hesitant, but there is no doubt that if they know something fun is coming that they can attend or something is waiting for their desk, it gives employees a sense of stability when they return and feel like they are part of something bigger. ”

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