Back to the office with new hybrid way of working

The compulsory home working during Covid has caused ING to take a fresh look at the way they work. New experiences were gained in the areas of well-being, engagement, collaboration, technology, efficiency, and productivity… After 1.5 years of working from home, the government indicated in October 2021 that it was possible to ‘go back to the office’. ING wanted to do this with attention, by organizing a warm welcome for all colleagues who saw each other again for the first time in a long time. Perfect moment for the kick-off of the Happy Hybrid Mode.

The challenge

ING’s question to SowiesoHelder was timely, relevant, and twofold: 1) The main goal: how do we introduce the new hybrid way of working with a moment of togetherness? How do we transfer knowledge about hybrid working to all employees? And 2) How do we get all our colleagues excited to go back to the office when the 1.5-meter restriction no longer applies and how do we “celebrate” the moment when they can finally meet again? How do we give our employees that extra bit of appreciation for their hard work on such a day/in such a week, especially in these difficult times? 

The solution

Because the cooperation between ING and our communications agency goes back many years, we know very well what answers/solutions the bank is looking for, and what is paramount within the communication with all employees. Job satisfaction is important. It always has been, and it certainly is now, in and after such an anomalous period of working from home and mutual contact via screens. 

As an umbrella concept, we therefore came up with the idea of creating a customer journey in which employees first meet the new way of working, partly in the office and partly from home.

This led to the concept of ‘Happy Together in Hybrid Mode’. An internal communication campaign that was rolled out during an entire week in October , at 7 head offices and 5 regional offices throughout the Netherlands, using 5 communication tools.

  • At each main entrance, an eye-catching banner reading ‘Happy Together, Welcome back in Hybrid Mode’ welcomed every employee back to the office for the first time. 
  • To start the conversation among themselves and give everyone a warm welcome, in-house employees handed out flyers with information about Happy Hybrid Mode.
  • The flyer also included a coupon for a free welcome-back smoothie at the hired smoothie bar. Smoothie bars were placed at each main entrance to enjoy a healthy smoothie or shot with colleagues.
  • A photobooth served as a fun element to engage all employees. The feeling of being a team again and a fun, lasting memory.
  • To reinforce the campaign, we used the internal narrow casting screens to get the message across even better.

The result

Obviously, all ING employees were happy to meet and talk to their colleagues live again. Positive reactions to the initiative came from all over the organization. And the smoothies too were eagerly ‘heard’: a total of 18,000 (!) smoothies were consumed at the 12 different locations.

Or as ING says:

Annemiek Barneveld, Communication Professional: “We had a clear goal: to put the emphasis on our colleagues when they returned to the office, to welcome them personally at the door in a striking way and to use this moment to introduce the new hybrid working to everyone. It was nice to see exactly what we hoped for beforehand. The flyer – which could be used both as a voucher for a joint healthy smoothie and as an item at the photobooth to capture the momentum – did its job. Happy colleagues sought each other out at the smoothie bar and the photobooth, deliberately taking time to engage in conversation that first week. In addition, the flyer gave everyone the most important information about the new hybrid working that we were launching at ING at that time.”

And you?

After the government’s ‘back to the office’ easings, we have again been faced with restrictions and the advice to work from home as much as possible. Corona, in new variations, will probably keep us busy for a while. Do you also want to run a welcome-back-to-office campaign, or make another gesture towards all employees to show your appreciation? Or perhaps you have an entirely different question where it comes to internal communications  and / or internal branding? Our door is open.

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