5 keys to boosting hybrid work culture

Empowering the Anywhere Team: 5 Keys to a Strong Hybrid Culture

Employees overwhelmingly prefer hybrid work, a model that supports a mix of in-office, remote, and on-the-go setups. About 68% of full-time workers are in favor of a hybrid work schedule, working at least one day a week remotely and the other days from the office, a Bankrate 2023 survey of over 2,000 employees found.

Globally, the average attendance in offices is around 26%, with the Tech industry standing on the lowest end of the spectrum at only 15% office attendance and banking at the highest end with 47% of employees working from the office, according to a study by the Advance Workplace Association of 77,410 employees across 13 countries.

There have been fears of potential damage to company culture, team cohesiveness, and innovation due to a lack of face-to-face interaction. With many workplace experts believing that the five-day workweek is dead, business leaders must tackle new challenges and maximize the benefits of hybrid work arrangements.  

Pros and Cons 

Some employers look at the hybrid model with suspicion, thinking that if employees could pick the hours they worked, they would simply choose to do less work. But, the opposite could be true.

Many employees find that they are more productive when they have the flexibility to work either from home or at the office. According to a survey by PWC on the impact of COVID-19 on the performance of businesses, 57% of respondents said their organization performed better against productivity targets in 2020, compared to a mere 4% saying their company performed significantly worse in that time.

This seems logical. Flexible workers can do better at time management. They can choose to avoid commuting at heavy traffic times or steer away from distractions that can occur in a traditional office setup. They can also choose to work when they’re feeling most productive, either that’s in the late night or the early morning.

A hybrid setting also has a positive impact on employee satisfaction for lots of reasons, including the psychological benefits of taking full control of their schedules, dressing comfortably, and having more time to spend with loved ones. In a 2020 SurveyMonkey study, those who worked remotely said they felt happier than their colleagues who were working in the office. 

With a hybrid workforce, businesses can save money on office space and other costs of amenities onsite. According to the McKinsey study, organizations can save as much as 30% on their real estate costs by switching to a flexible workplace model.

However, hybrid work can be challenging for those who already have it and daunting for some businesses about to implement it.

Some employees may feel isolated as they may not have the same opportunities to socialize with others as they would in an office setting. This can negatively affect the team’s spirit and company culture.

Flexible employees may be more likely to have burnout as it gets more difficult to disconnect from work when one is working from home. They may work longer hours and take shorter breaks than their in-office counterparts. 

Further, lower face-to-face interaction can result in communication challenges. It can be difficult to collaborate effectively in some activities when not being in the same office physically, such as sharing information or brainstorming ideas. Meanwhile, businesses that don’t utilize technologies and software to communicate with the team can also struggle to build team cohesion. 

5 Keys to Building a Stronger Hybrid Culture

Hybrid shouldn’t be about a choice between the office or remote working, it should be about creating seamless relationships and harmony between the two, enabled by technology and visionary leadership.

Investing in technology that facilitates communication and collaboration is one way. Having IT infrastructure at the heart of your business can help remote workers feel included in office discussions and create a better experience for all employees. This can help with boosting more frequent communication between in-office and remote employees through video conferencing and project management platforms.

Businesses adopting hybrid work need also to develop clear expectations and guidelines for that setup. This is to ensure that employees have a shared purpose in reaching their personal goals and their company’s objectives. This can be done by providing consistent feedback and tracking their progress. 

Promoting inclusivity and team building through cross-departmental interactions can keep the staff more connected. Employers have to create virtual team-building activities to foster engagement among employees while creating opportunities for people to spend time online and offline at company events. It’s also important to encourage employees to share their knowledge and expertise through virtual workshops and presentations.

Recognizing the achievements of both in-office and remote employees can also prevent hybrid work from breaking your company culture. This can be done through implementing a system of recognition and rewards that is inclusive and equitable to acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of employees from all locations.

Last but not least, developing a hybrid transformation process is crucial. Businesses need to garner a deeper understanding of their team’s needs and preferences by answering questions such as: How do employees want to work? What do they need to better work? What must be done to improve employees’ mental and physical health? What technology is needed to facilitate communication among team members? Answering those questions will help, for example, inform decisions about redesigning of KPI tracking, or the repurposing and reduction of office space. Furthermore, it will help shape cultural changes and address potential issues.

Learn how to build a stronger office culture today, book your consultation session today.

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