With a staggering 77% of companies going hybrid in 2022, it’s clear that hybrid is working for employees. Companies have had successful re-openings. They’ve helped employees establish a new work routine. The next challenge for companies is how to build a great work culture for their hybrid workforce.
A toxic corporate culture is a strong predictor of employee attrition. It can be frustrating for employees who want to return to work but are not thrilled about the culture. So workplace leaders have to make sure their company has a comprehensive, sustainable culture that can support and empower a hybrid workforce.
But what exactly is hybrid work culture? In this blog post, we’ll take a deeper look into the foundations that help sustain company culture in a hybrid work model. But first, let’s define a hybrid workforce.
What is a hybrid workforce?
A hybrid workforce is a group of employees that can work out of their company’s physical workplace as well as remote. These employees work under a hybrid work model.
But managing a hybrid workforce isn’t an easy task. Companies must think through the costs, benefits, and outcomes of having a hybrid workforce. They need to understand their people’s needs and preferences under a flexible working model. They also need to ensure employees have the tools they need to be productive. With careful planning, a hybrid workforce can boost a company’s productivity, profitability, and culture.
Why is hybrid work culture important to the hybrid workforce?
Company culture is crucial for a hybrid workforce because it helps employees develop stronger and more meaningful connections to their work. A hybrid work culture is the shared attitudes, behaviors, and values of an organization who are in the hybrid model. It’s expressed through cultural norms and aligned with employees’ values. These cultural norms are the explicit and underwritten guidelines that determine “right” and “wrong” in an organization. Shared experiences, performance expectations, and corporate culture reflect these norms.
So, what makes company culture so important for the hybrid workforce? Hybrid employees expect a lot from their workplaces and have a lot of choices when it comes to where they work. They want to feel comfortable at their workplace, supported in their projects, and connected to their coworkers. They won’t choose to work at a company if they’re not excited about the culture.
A strong hybrid work culture with a built-in attitude on flexibility and support can help hybrid employees thrive. Plus, a strong work culture lowers attrition rates and improves employee performance. It can also boost revenue as much as four times over.
How to sustain company culture for a hybrid workforce?
It takes significant attention and effort to develop and sustain a company culture. And it takes even more attention and effort to adapt your current company culture for a hybrid workforce. To help you create a thriving hybrid work culture for success, we’ve identified four foundational elements to start with.
Synchronous communication works best when everyone is in the office at the same time. But, hybrid companies must use asynchronous communication to engage employees spread between remote and in-office. Asynchronous communication could look like messaging technology like Slack or Microsoft Teams, recordings of Zoom meetings, or many time slots for company town halls.
Knowing where colleagues are on any given day can help make your communication practices stronger. For example, if you know your teammate is going to be remote for a week, you can schedule quick 15 min Zoom calls to go over project status. With hybrid scheduling technology and communication tools, your employees can communicate with each other when onsite and remote.
2. Engaging hybrid events
A positive company culture is one that allows employees to share laughs and experiences with each other. Companies used to be able to set up happy hours and call it a day. With a hybrid workforce, you’ll need to put in a little more effort to make sure your onsite and remote employees can take part.
Movie nights, for example, are a great way to include remote folks, since they can Zoom in and watch the movie on their own screen. Setting up a movie night in your office shouldn’t take more than an hour. You’ll have to clear out a movie viewing space, set up chairs based on the number of registered employees, sync up your video and audio equipment, and pop a ton of popcorn.
You could also consider trivia nights, stand-up comedy, or cooking classes. You just want to be mindful of replicating the experience for both on-site and remote teams by providing them all the necessary materials and the meeting information.
3. Work-life integration
Unlike work-life balance, work-life integration considers how an employee’s work and life may occur within the same space. This is important for employers as the data shows that employees have a lot of challenges navigating work-life balance. 54% of global employees feel overworked, and 20% report feeling that their employer doesn’t care about that fact. So, what’s an employer to do? Be flexible.
By providing different types of hybrid work schedules for your employees and empowering them with tools to help them schedule their work and lives, you can ensure you support your hybrid workforce.
Also, be flexible with your meeting standards. If an employee’s child needs support during a call, allow them 5 to 10 minutes to sort things out. If a dog or cat needs to go out, no problem! Offer reassurance to your employee and let them know you understand their situation.
When working with a hybrid workforce, it’s impossible to set in-office standards for an at-home (or at-coffee-shop) environment. Allow your employees to integrate their work and home life to maximize comfort and familiarity between work, home, and the places in-between.
4. Equal opportunity and growth
Hybrid culture requires management to establish and promote equal opportunities for all hybrid employees. Remote employees may feel left out of work events and promotional opportunities because of their location. Employees who feel disengaged from their work will struggle to contribute to team efforts and achieve personal goals.
To curb this issue, companies should provide remote employees with the same opportunities for career development, and personal growth that in-person employees enjoy. This task is not an easy one, but skilled managers can offer regular career development conversations, virtual networking opportunities, and frequent check-ins.
To develop a sustainable hybrid culture, you’ll need the right tools in place that can manage a dynamic office and employees. A healthy hybrid workplace can only thrive when there is equal parts investment from leadership, passion from employees, and support from workplace tools.
For more tips on how to create a thriving hybrid workplace, check out our eBook, The Workplace Manager’s Guide to Planning for Hybrid Work.