There are so many ways you can build culture, including in a hybrid workplace, but you have to prioritize it and cultivate it, as well as maintaining it.
When you have a strong, unified, and connected corporate culture in your business, you can control your corporate identity.
You’re also likely to have a more positive employer brand, which will help you with recruitment and retention.
Related Post: Tips on How to Manage a Team Remotely
A positive culture tends to foster more productive, engaged, and innovative employees.
In 2022, the importance of culture can’t be overlooked.
However, if you do have remote employees in a hybrid environment, you may be navigating new challenges.
The following are the things to know about culture within a hybrid work environment.
What is the Hybrid Work Model?
It seems, based on the preferences of employees and often employers, the hybrid workplace model might be one of the most enduring business concepts to emerge from the pandemic.
The following are some of the features of a hybrid work model:
- Hybrid offices are an arrangement where managers and employees may work together physically in a traditional office setting, and they also spend some of their time working remotely. The idea is for everyone to get the benefits of both.
- A hybrid workplace can have any number of specific schedules. Some people may always work remotely, while some spend some of their time in the office, or people could switch where they work. There are also hybrid offices where employees come into the office for collaborative work, and they stay remote the rest of the time.
- There are numerous benefits to the hybrid model, including its flexibility. There are opportunities to get face-to-face interaction, but employees can also maintain that sense of work-life balance they crave.
- Employers can save money because they may be able to find smaller office spaces that are optimized for a smaller number of on-site workers.
- A big challenge with this overall effective model is that employers have to make sure they aren’t creating a two-tiered workplace, where in-person workers are more valued or recognized than their remote counterparts.
- It’s up to employers to think about how much office space they need and how they’ll schedule time in the office and allocate desk space to ensure everyone has a place to work whenever they are in person.
- For managers and business leaders, it can be essential to learn how to manage on-site and remote employees effectively and build relationships no matter where employees are working at any given time.
- Managers and employers will have to think that maybe not every employee likes the idea of working remotely some or all of the time, though, and they may need to build that into their plans.
Why Company Culture Matters
Before you can start to specially strategize on your company culture in a hybrid environment, you need to know why culture is so important and pertinent, even as the business world is in the midst of many transformations.
A strong, positive corporate or company culture is one element that tends to be shared across the most successful and innovative organizations.
Corporate culture can encompass values, vision, work environment, inclusion, diversity, ethics, and other factors. Your company culture makes you unique and ultimately gives you a competitive edge not just in the eyes of your customers but also when you hire and look for new talent.
When employees have a shared vision and feel connected to their employer through a distinctive and positive culture, it will positively affect the business in every way, including regarding revenue and profitability.
Signs of a good company culture include engaged employees, successful hiring, and a low turnover rate.
Having a connected and positive company culture is difficult when some or all employees are working remotely simply because there is a physical disconnect. It can be those more informal interactions that happen during in-person work that really makes a culture what it is. You have to find new and creative ways to make sure you’re prioritizing culture when employees work remotely some or all of the time.
Otherwise, there isn’t that sense of connection that will keep employees around and productive.
Hybrid and remote employees can often feel like they’re lost or floating when they don’t have as much time in the office.
It’s a big challenge for modern employers that needs to be addressed now.
So, what can be done?
It tends to hold true that the happiest and most productive employees feel a sense of purpose in what they do. Meaning starts at the top. You want to have a sense of purpose guiding your company, and then it’s up to you as a leader to make sure that each employee understands how they factor into that purpose.
Having a purpose will make you more financially successful as a business in nearly all cases, but that’s not the only reason to prioritize your purpose.
As a leader, you can encourage people to step outside the confines of their comfort zone and explore how they’re living up to their purpose at work.
Purpose happening at both the individual and organizational levels can help with motivation, satisfaction, retention, productivity, and engagement.
If your employees start to feel bored or like they aren’t being challenged at work, then these are going to be things that end up guiding your culture. You want a challenging culture where employees are encouraged to take on something that pushes them. You want employees who feel empowered to make decisions and perhaps find new, better ways of doing things because then innovation becomes a cornerstone of your culture.
You can challenge employees in their roles regardless of the location where they’re working.
Part of challenging employees involves being willing to give them autonomy to achieve goals in the ways they think are best and letting go of some of the control. You can’t micromanage your employees and expect them to thrive. Let them rise to the occasion.
There could be failure along the way when you challenge your employees, and that’s okay. Failure is part of a culture that thrives on finding the best ways to do anything. When a failure does occur, have a plan to provide feedback and deal with it efficiently.
Show Concern for Well-Being of Employees (Including Mentally and Emotionally)
If you don’t care about the well-being of your employees, your culture will suffer, and your business isn’t going to thrive. Your human capital is your greatest asset and should be treated as such.
No matter where your employees are working, take the time to check-in. When your employees are struggling physically or mentally, it breeds negativity and toxicity throughout the entire organization.
When employees work remotely, they may be dealing with isolation that can compound other issues and worsen mental health symptoms.
When you’re checking in, let your employees know that you genuinely care.
You can also consider creating a wellness program or mental and physical health toolkit geared specifically toward remote work.
Your employees need access to virtual resources to help them manage stress and other issues affecting their job performance.
Listening and recognizing the importance of health and wellness are a big part of a positive culture.
Ask for Feedback
Employees want to feel like they can share concerns or come to their employer if they have questions.
Create a way for employees to provide you with feedback, anonymously if possible.
Use this feedback as well. Integrate it into your policies and how you do things to show employees their opinions matter.
Make Time for Informality
When your employees work in the office, there are opportunities for informal conversation. Employees might talk in the breakroom or over lunch. When people work remotely, those casual elements of conversation and connecting to one another are something you can’t replicate, at least not exactly.
What you can do is find opportunities for informality in other ways.
For example, maybe you create a Slack channel dedicated to fun or less work-related conversations.
Be Mindful of Recognition
It could be time to formalize a recognition program for all employees, including those people who are working offsite some or all of the time.
It would help if you recognized your employees for their achievements and encouraged them to do the same for each other. Standardize how you recognize employees, andensure that the same visibility is given to everyone when they succeed.
Finally, give opportunities for development, advancement, and mentorship. You might have to tweak these opportunities if your employees work remotely or you have a hybrid office, but just ensure that everyone feels like you see them, you’re investing in them, and you believe they have a future within your organization.
These are the things that are going to create connections to a unified corporate culture that transcend geographical boundaries.