Just being in the office isn’t enough to create culture. Culture takes intention and I am hearing from many executives, “What about our culture? With a hybrid workforce, I can’t maintain our culture.” My question back is, “why can’t you?” Their answer, “It is too hard.” They are not wrong. It is new and anything new takes more effort and that includes maintaining your culture with a hybrid workforce. The bigger issue is being intentional about what and how you build your culture.
Below is a Gallup chart showing that 5 in 10 remote capable workers are working hybrid part of their week at home and part on-site. 3 in 10 are exclusively working remotely, while 2 in 10 are entirely on-site. That is a lot of difference in how your employees want to work. This provides an opportunity, especially around building and maintaining culture. Ask yourself what is your company culture? Do you know? When was the last time you asked your employees what they think the company culture is?
There are many ways to approach hybrid work culture. Below are a few ideas on how to create, maintain, and in some cases enhance your culture.
Shorten meeting times. Instead of an hour, schedule it for 50 minutes to allow folks the opportunity to step away from their screen, or just stand and take a deep breath before their next meeting. In addition, in the first 5 – 10 minutes of your meeting, build in time for them to interact in a casual atmosphere before getting down to business.
When bringing everyone together, don’t do business as usual work. Be intentional about having this be an environment to collaborate, connecting with colleagues, and connecting with managers for recognition, feedback, and development
Provide regular offsites. Make them social interactions for employees to get to know each other outside of work. It isn’t about discussing the latest project, it is about building relationships with their peers, managers, and teammates.
Bring humanity into the workplace. Employees want to be treated with respect, feel valued, and there is meaning in the work they do. Humanity increases engagement and slows churn, which impacts the bottom line. It allows for greater connections between peers, teams, and departments across the whole organization by seeing each other, learning about what each other does, and feeling that they are a part of something that has meaning and value.
I believe that hybrid work is here to stay. It is a great opportunity for your company and leadership to reevaluate what will work for you and your employees while including the most important component, your culture. Always remember it is not a one-and-done, it is an organic, living thing, which requires supporting your employees at all levels to have the tools they need to embrace and live your organization’s culture.
Please reach out if you would like help in designing your hybrid culture.