Office culture affects the workplace and can directly impact employees’ performance and overall mood. Hybrid work culture is creating a workplace culture that is positive, inclusive, diverse and accessible to all employees, whether they work in-office or virtually. Understanding how to manage a hybrid workforce effectively is a key element to creating a positive workplace culture that ensures all employees are provided access to the same materials, technology and lines of communication.
Benefits of Having an Intentional Workplace Culture
Creating an intentional workplace culture can help achieve a healthy working environment that can improve employee performance and retention. While many businesses are adjusting to having employees both in-office and remote, workplace culture remains an important aspect of a productive working environment. With more employees working from home or operating under a hybrid schedule, the definition of workplace culture is evolving. Some of the most common benefits of an intentional workplace culture include:
1. Opening Lines of Communication
One of the main benefits of having an intentional workplace culture is open communication between team members and leaders. While in-office team members may have more direct contact with one another, you can build a strong culture with a remote team by ensuring ample communication opportunities. Striking a balance of communication is important to avoid under- or over-communicating. You can create constructive lines of communication by clearly defining how often you communicate with team members.
2. Ensuring a Healthy Work-Life Balance
A proper work-life balance is an essential aspect of maintaining a happy and healthy staff. Workplace culture can promote empathy and help employees feel their personal lives are respected and taken into account. Establishing a work-life balance can help employees remain productive and prevent stress, fatigue and burnout. Research has shown 46% of human resource leaders report that employee burnout is responsible for up to 50% of annual workplace turnover.
3. Making Traditions Accessible
Workplace traditions can be engaging, non-work-related activities that help team members feel like part of a unified team. All traditions, formal events and even informal aspects of the office culture that exist in a physical setting must be reformatted and applied to a virtual environment. Workplace traditions, including team-building activities, milestone celebrations, wellness sessions and more, can help build a sense of connectedness and shared experience.
Common Challenges of Creating Culture
Creating a positive office culture takes time, and with hybrid work becoming more common, many business leaders may be facing similar challenges. For example, many business leaders now have several types of employees, including fully remote employees, fully in-person employees and employees who work both remotely and in-office. Additionally, business leaders will have to adjust to different employee behaviors resulting from each employee type.
Remote workers might also feel like they miss out on certain traditions or celebrations that in-person employees can access. Fortunately, you can easily overcome these challenges with proper planning and effective communication. While the format of traditions may change, they are still a vital aspect of a business and can help create a positive, inclusive company culture.
How to Effectively Create a Culture With a Hybrid Workforce
Approaching hybrid working challenges constructively and effectively can promote a positive office environment and culture. As many businesses adapt to a hybrid workforce, certain business practices may no longer be as easy or practical as when all employees worked in the physical office setting. Companies with a handle on their culture and that hire employees who fit in well often improve employee retention. When determining how to build a strong culture with a remote team, you may want to consider these four tips:
1. Lead by Example
Leading by example can help set the tone for proper work etiquette and what is expected for team members, both in-person and virtual. A hybrid office may present unique challenges, but these can be overcome through proper communication and support. Managers can help bridge communication gaps and overcome obstacles by showing other team members how to work effectively.
When working remotely, recognize that while the circumstances may be less familiar, you can still communicate effectively and overcome issues as a team. Acknowledge the new reality and landscape that a hybrid workplace might bring and learn how to work with it. Often, hybrid offices benefit from a more flexible approach where leaders know how to support employees from a distance.
2. Ensure Effective Communication
Communication is vital to any business, and it’s essential to working efficiently and effectively. In many cases, in-office workers may have more direct and open lines of communication with managers and other team members. Remote workers will not have the luxury of stopping by a team member’s office or asking a quick question in the break room.
A business should address communication and expected behaviors in a way that supports both virtual and in-office employees. Communication should be clear, direct and transparent so all employees can remain on the same page and work more efficiently together. To make up for the gaps in communication that remote workers could face, you might consider scheduling more frequent, informal chats with remote team members. Reiterating that managers and team members can always be reached by email or a phone call can also enable remote workers to communicate more effectively.
3. Create New Traditions
While your workplace may have existing traditions, some of them are likely to change as your company integrates a hybrid working style. Some existing annual or monthly affairs may have worked well when all employees were present in the office and could easily come together for a team-building activity, lunch or celebration. Team events, milestones and other traditions will need to be adjusted to promote inclusivity for all employees.
Bridging the connection between in-person and virtual workforces is essential to team bonding and maintaining a positive workplace culture. Instead of only holding an event for in-office employees or canceling the event altogether, consider fun, engaging ways to hold an exciting event for all employees.
For example, suppose you typically cater a meal every month as a celebration for employees. In that case, you can incorporate virtual employees by sending a gift card to a meal order service so they can also take part in the tradition. Alongside existing events, you can encourage employees and leaders to create new initiatives and activities that support your office culture while ensuring each employee can participate.
4. Promote Inclusivity
A positive hybrid work culture promotes diversity and inclusivity and ensures virtual team members have equal access to all aspects of the workplace that in-office employees do. When holding events, ensure all team members get invites.
It’s also important to promote diversity in your hybrid work environment. Research has found that diverse firms’ productivity is 1.32 times higher than firms lacking diversity. Understand the unique challenges team members might face in the virtual setting. Acknowledge and celebrate the differences in employees at all levels. Business leaders should also attempt to encourage conversation, connection and personal interaction with colleagues and share stories that can humanize team members and leaders.
Hone Workplace Culture With Executive Coaching, Training and Support
At Dame Leadership, we are committed to helping you maximize your potential with executive coaching, training and support. We offer various programs and leadership services in the Harrisburg and central Pennsylvania area, as well as virtual service options. Our team of experts specializes in helping leaders understand their purposes and align their companies to leave a lasting legacy. We are proud to uphold our unparalleled reputation, built on excellence and integrity.