How To Sustain Company Culture In A Hybrid Work Model
How To Sustain Company Culture In A Hybrid Work Model
Gallup recently published some illuminating statistics: nearly a third of hybrid workers say they would be ‘extremely likely’ to start looking for a new job if they had to stop working flexibly. And, for remote workers, 6 in 10 would start applying elsewhere if their employer stopped allowing them to work remotely.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic forced many organisations to move to a digital-first work model, the popularity of hybrid work among employees has become clear. At the same time, many employers have valid concerns about the impact of hybrid and remote work on company culture. The question on everyone’s lips is: can organisations maintain a good company culture when people work remotely and asynchronously, only meeting in the office a few days a week?
In our view, it’s absolutely possible to sustain company culture with a hybrid model, but it takes some work. The good news is that with the right strategies in place, it is possible to sustain and even strengthen company culture in this new hybrid-first landscape.
In this article, we will explore practical tips and approaches for ensuring that your company culture thrives in a hybrid work model, so your employees can stay connected and aligned with your organisation's values and mission and feel satisfied in their roles. Here’s everything employers need to know about company culture for hybrid working organisations.
Create A Mission Your Employees Find Purpose In
Combining in-office days with time spent working remotely, the hybrid work model makes a meaningful mission more important than ever. If you’re not careful, having your workplace so spread out can cause some employees to lose sight of the company's mission. This takes us to the first method of maintaining company culture – always have your company mission in plain sight. This means ensuring that every employee is aware of the mission and how their role contributes to it.
Start by asking employees anonymously or in one-to-ones about the organisational mission; do they know it? To what extent do they feel like they are aligned with it? With this information, you can build a strategy to improve how well the mission is communicated and embedded in the organisation.
Let The Purpose Be Known
In addition to identifying a shared goal for the whole company, you also need to identify a purpose for each employee. In doing so, you are making each employee aware of the difference they are making to the company. This helps with employee engagement and levels, keeping each team member motivated even when they are working outside the office and away from their coworkers.
To create a positive culture, workers need assurance in the work they do. This can easily be given by directing praise to specific areas of the business that an employee has helped progress. Celebrate success as much as possible, ensuring that you provide recognition publicly to employees when they do a good job.
Transparency and communication are essential components of a strong company culture, especially during the hybrid work model. With open and consistent communication, business owners can keep employees informed and engaged with the company's goals and values, regardless of whether they are working in the office or remotely.
Transparency is all about building trust between the company and its employees, as well as among team members themselves. A focus on transparency can include regularly updating employees on company decisions and changes, sharing company news and updates, and being open about challenges and opportunities. By being transparent, employees feel valued and included in the company's success.
Regular check-ins and virtual meetings can help employees stay connected, while team-building activities and virtual or in-person events can foster a sense of community and belonging. Communication should also be a two-way street, with opportunities for employees to share their feedback, ideas, and concerns. By creating a culture of open and transparent communication, business owners can ensure that their employees feel heard and supported, strengthening the company culture and promoting a positive work environment even outside of the physical office.
Focus on Accountability
A focus on accountability is also crucial for company culture in a hybrid work model as it promotes a sense of responsibility and ownership among employees. When employees are working remotely, it can be challenging to monitor their progress and ensure they are meeting expectations. However, by setting clear expectations and holding employees accountable, business owners can ensure that work is being completed on time and to a high standard, no matter where team members are.
Accountability also helps to maintain a sense of structure and routine in a hybrid work model, as employees have a clear understanding of their responsibilities and the expectations for their work. For example, this includes clear communication of expectations around how many days a week employees should be in the office or at home. This also helps to keep employees motivated and focused, as they are able to see the impact of their efforts on the company's success.
Finally, by building a culture of accountability you can foster trust among employees as they know they can rely on each other. This boosts collaboration and communication between team members, helping build a stronger team.
Have Weekly Catch-Up Meetings
Regularly touching base on the work front is vital. But more casual virtual meetings can be a huge morale booster. For some, the biggest downside of a hybrid environment is the lack of office chat. Some employees get a lot out of telling others what they got up to at the weekend, where they're going on holiday this year, what show they're watching, and more.
By scheduling weekly catch-up meetings, or just making sure that everyone is in the office at the same time on one day each week, this level of workplace culture can be retained. It’s important to ensure that this social aspect of office life continues, helping combat the loneliness that has become more common since remote work’s rise.
During these meetings, you should also allow employees to voice any concerns they may have. This way, they can be resolved through open and relaxed conversation.
Use Tools To Help Keep In Contact
As more business leaders opt for hybrid model workplaces, many tools have been created to help employees work from home. For example, we love the idea of a ‘Digital HQ’, a single virtual space that has everything team members need to communicate and do their work effectively. This effectively connects everyone even while they are working outside the office. Other quality tools like Slack, Trello, and Zoom are all useful for ensuring great communication no matter where people are.
Tools for communication are essential for everyone to do their jobs effectively, but their importance goes beyond that. By facilitating good communication, it’s easier to maintain a thriving company culture where people feel supported by and actively contributing to the culture of their workplace.
Visibility And Accessibility
Hybrid teams need a leader that is both visible and accessible. While interactions between employees are important in establishing a hybrid culture, communication between employees and their leadership is of equal importance. As the boss, you need to be visible and easy to access no matter whether you’re in the office or outside of it. By this, we mean interacting with all members of staff and ensuring there are open lines of communication for anyone to raise an issue or give feedback..
Team Building Events
Occasional team-building activities can help maintain a hybrid workplace culture. This can be anything from general knowledge quizzes to work-based competitions – the key point is to motivate teams to work better together and build their interpersonal relationships in the process.
Another good idea for team building would be to organise regular workshops held by different members of staff. Each week, a different member of staff could prepare a workshop aimed at providing information on an aspect of the job. This will improve your employees' understanding of their job roles. It will also encourage positive interactions to occur and will help your employees feel more connected to each other.
Find An Office That Reflects Your Values
You need to ensure that the physical office is worth making the effort to come in for. If it's not, why even rent out an office space if your employees prefer to work from home?
Ensure employees' face-to-face time provides as much value as possible. Do this by choosing a workplace that fits your organisation. Make sure that it can support collaboration, socialisation, and a positive hybrid work culture.
Use Employee Surveys To Improve Their Experience
Surveys are essential for keeping a finger on the pulse of the team’s feelings. If you keep surveys anonymous, your employees will likely be franker when it comes to things like their morale or mental health. With these questionnaires, you can also effectively assess whether or not your hybrid model is working and adapt policies and approaches in line with employees’ candid feedback.
Schedule Company-Wide Meetings Every Quarter
The weekly meetings will deal with boosting your hybrid work culture and discussing minor work issues. Company-wide meetings, on the other hand, will give your workforce a better sense of the direction the company is taking. These quarterly meetings will be much longer and more in-depth than any of your regular catch-ups.
These large-scale meetings help to improve your hybrid work culture as it keeps your workforce in the know and engaged. It helps embolden each employee's sense of purpose and allows you to provide maximum transparency.
Create A Plan For Dealing With Conflicts
Conflict can be productive and isn't necessarily a bad thing. It allows your employees to engage in healthy debate to find a resolution to the issue at hand. Conflict keeps your workforce engaged with one another, ultimately helping to maintain a positive culture in the workplace.
In a hybrid workplace, conflict can escalate easily, especially because tone is hard to convey in online communication. So, you need to create a clear plan for dealing with workplace conflicts while hybrid working. The details of this plan will vary from organisation to organisation, but the key point is that it must be clear and easy to follow to ensure that conflicts do not spiral out of control.
Creating Culture In A Hybrid World
Creating a culture in a hybrid workplace is tricky but not impossible. As the boss, you need to maintain employee morale through culture-boosting activity and engagement. You need to clearly identify goals and touch base with your employees regularly. You also need to ensure that employees are interacting with one another. This can be done through cross-functional learning opportunities, such as team-led workshops.
At the end of the day, it can take a lot of work to get the hybrid model right. It’s no easy task and businesses all over the world are still getting to grips with this new and increasingly digital-first work model. But with the suggestions above you should be ready to sustain and transform your company culture to make it even better than before.
Looking for the perfect flexible office for your hybrid working team? We’re here to help. With a range of different flexible office solutions all over the UK, Future Squared can match you with the perfect space and negotiate the best contract for you. Take a look at our office search tool to find your ideal new workspace today.