After a year of working from home, CoStar is attempting to lure workers away from the comforts of working in pajamas, lunchtime Doordash deliveries and the occasional mid-afternoon nap with several hard-to-resist prizes — namely a brand-new Tesla.
First reported by The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, CoStar has rolled out a red carpet of incentives for vaccinated employees who are willing to resume in-person work. The incentives available to employees at all 50 U.S. offices include $10,000 in cash, an electric Model S Tesla and an all-expenses-paid trip to Barbados. There are also smaller prizes up for grabs, such as store gift cards.
“Yes, this is a lot of money, but in the context of a multibillion-dollar company with thousands of staff and hundreds of offices, it’s a drop in the bucket,” CoStar Group CEO Chief Executive Andrew Florance told WSJ. “So you can have some fun, you can incentivize people to do the right thing.”
CoStar launched the rewards program in April, alongside a vaccine rollout for its 4,000 U.S. employees. Florance said employees were excited about the vaccine but hesitant to come back to the office, so his team decided to get creative. “We thought, OK, we’re making it easy, how can we create a little bit of fun and excitement about it,” he explained.
Since offering the vaccines and back-to-office incentives, Florance said office occupancy has surged from 4 percent to 20 percent, with certain locations experiencing higher return rates than others. However, data from swipe-card access company Kastle Systems shows the average occupancy rate is closer to 30 percent, according to The Real Deal.
“We are going to do interesting and creative things until the workplace is settled down and until we’ve adjusted to our new reality,” the CEO said. “And I think that will be months and months and months.”
CoStar isn’t the only company pushing workers to return to the office. Some of the nation’s top companies plan to reopen corporate offices by the end of summer, with hybrid work schedules for certain employees.
“In the midst of numerous and difficult circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve made important observations about the future of work, and how and where our employees know they work best,” Microsoft said of its new hybrid work schedule rolled out in March. “What we’re learning and understanding has led us to use this period in time to grow and evolve our hybrid workplace, building additional capabilities to help our employees, customers and businesses continue to thrive.”
While no one else is offering Teslas, other companies are stocking lunch rooms with free snacks and meals, offering childcare stipends for working parents, giving bonuses for those who agree to work in-office part-time and hosting in-office leisure activities.
“We’re basically trying to bribe everyone by organizing a lot of really fun activities and events in the office—maybe people will bite,” PEO Companies manager Nelson Sherwin told Tech Republic. “We’re taking all the necessary precautions of course, it’s not like we’re gambling with people’s lives, here. But I do think people have gotten too comfortable at home.”
“We’re alluring them back into the office with exclusive benefits, like Mario Kart Monday and Waffle Wednesday. You snooze, you lose! Gotta be here to enjoy it,” he added.