One of the most significant impacts of COVID-19 is the more rapid transformation from a traditional workplace to a hybrid work environment for many businesses. The hybrid model typically consists of a core team or group that works from the business location, with other employees working full or part-time from home. Those working at home part-time cycle in and out of the office or workplace, often using two days in-office and a three-day remote work cycle.
Different organizations have developed their own version of the hybrid work environment. Whatever this may look like, managers and leaders have a challenge in creating a cohesive workplace culture. There may never be a time when all employees are available in the workplace for meetings and events, and those attending via Zoom or another online platform may feel left out or not part of the event, training, or meeting.
Tips to Get Started
There are some highly effective ways to create a strong workplace culture in a hybrid work model. The first step is to acknowledge the old strategies of building workplace culture are not enough. Leaders within the organization need to be open and engaged in getting feedback and making changes that create an inclusive and supportive workplace for core and remote/hybrid positions.
- Build on Understanding What Employees See as Important
Mangers and leaders need to reach employees in a way that resonates and opens the door to two-way interactions and conversations. This is not just sending out emails and having a live stream of an in-person business meeting. It is about authentic and meaningful conversations that get feedback from the core and remote workers and teams about how to engage and create a meaningful connection.
- Make the Hybrid Experience and Culture a Priority
Too often, employees see leadership as starting initiatives that seem to drift off into oblivion as other issues rise to the surface. Just as the development of in-house workplace culture takes time, focus, and prioritization, so does developing a culture in a hybrid environment. Creating a committee that is employee-led with management support is an effective option, particularly when combining remote and in-house representation.
- Foster Empathy, Caring, and Support from the Top Down
One of the most important factors of a healthy workplace culture is a true sense of compassion, empathy, and caring for everyone in the workplace. Companies that combine remote and in-person employment opportunities need to make sure all employees have equal access to support and services. Building in opportunities for physical and mental health and wellbeing programs, recognition for excellence or personal achievements, and having the resources all employees need to do their job sends a clear message of their value to the company.
Simple steps, including increasing DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) in remote and on-site teams, are another way to build a workplace culture by creating workplace options for people who may not fit into traditional nine-to-five jobs.