Over the last year and a half, the impacts of COVID-19 and the global pandemic that ensued have been felt through all aspects of society. Our working lives have been dramatically impacted, with most businesses moving to a remote form of working. However, as life attempts to return to normality, many businesses consider the hybrid workplace as the optimal future solution. Here we look at how to maintain your company culture with this new way of working.
The hybrid workplace model looks to be a future way of working for many businesses, but what does it mean? The hybrid workplace — or hybrid office — is a space that supports a workforce working in different locations, whether that be from home, abroad or in the office space. This highly flexible design appeals to most modern workers and is being adopted by many businesses around the world.
One of the concerns regarding the hybrid workplace is the impact on company culture. Workplace culture is a shared set of values and attitudes to working that has major importance on employee wellbeing and productivity, with 88% of employees believing that company culture is important to success. So what can these new hybrid workplaces do to ensure that their culture is clear and driving success?
Encourage and develop a sense of community and collaboration, whether working in the office or remotely. People from different departments can be encouraged to work together and share their ideas.
Organise work activities where it is necessary to interact with and be supported by colleagues. Sometimes successful teams can be broken up and re-shuffled to make room for others and so encourage collaboration across the entire workforce. An employee can keep in touch with other team members either in person or online so that they do not feel alone and uninspired.
Communication is an essential factor in fostering a positive office culture. Although this can be a challenge with an agile workforce, there are ways to ensure that clear communication continues wherever your workers are based.
Holding frequent meetings that include all staff members, whether by Zoom or in the office, is important in establishing or maintaining a workplace culture. Each worker should be involved and given a chance to express their ideas.
Transparency is one of the keys to a positive work culture. Information needs to be shared, and any new plans need to be discussed. Keep in mind that workers feel undervalued if decisions that may affect their daily work life are made without them being involved.
Give Rewards and Recognition
Establishing a positive and, therefore, successful office culture is a process that should not just develop on its own. It should be a set of values and behaviours rather like a workplace personality which should filter down through the office hierarchy, from the leadership, via the management, to the workforce.
Just as we educate a child with praise, encouragement, rewards and recognition, these same motivators — when instigated by leaders and managers — will help to embed the chosen workplace culture. A reward for the timely completion of a project, such as a bonus or time off, should certainly act as an encouragement and help to create a happier workforce.
Your workplace culture makes your business unique, and naturally, you want it to be shared and appreciated by the whole workforce, whether they are in the office or working remotely.
People respond well when empowered by work, trusted and given the freedom to self-motivate and work in the way that best suits their work-life balance. The elements of office culture which are transferable — such as support, appreciation and the other positive qualities that you wish to encourage — are what makes a happy, engaged employee.
Hire the Right People
It is important that during the hiring process, you explain the important features of your office culture, your policies and your business philosophy so that your employees will know what to expect and will fit in happily.
Take time to develop a more considered hiring process. This will ensure that you can pinpoint the right people not only to do the job but also to fit into the desired culture. Employees can benefit from being given time to complete training regularly and the encouragement to advance within the company.
Employ the Right Tools
Managing your employees, making sure that everyone is at the right place at the right time and arranging calls and online or in-office meetings involves a lot of organisation. It is, however, necessary to ensure that your workplace culture survives the new style of working.
It can be difficult to support workers, look after their wellbeing and keep them on track with their remote work. A workplace management system can help organise desk and meeting room bookings along with managing your visitors. This type of technology can help make the transition to an agile workforce far easier.