If you’ve been working throughout the global pandemic, you’ve likely had to go from working in-office fulltime, to working fully remote, to now potentially working in a hybrid environment.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many organizations have opted to go (and stay) fully remote, where others have decided to adopt a more hybrid approach now that it is becoming safer to integrate people back into the office. But what exactly is a hybrid workforce?

What is a Hybrid Workforce?

The hybrid workforce approach mixed in-office and remote work. What this could look like differs across organizations. What we tend to see the most is giving people the freedom to decide if they want to come in or not. Often, employees will choose a few days a week to work from home and will come to the office the remaining days.

Employees typically favor the hybrid workforce model because it gives them more flexibility and a better work-life balance (think: no commuting). And for employers, the hybrid approach can decrease office expenses and provide access to a larger pool of talent (beyond the city in which offices are located). Overall, the hybrid workforce seems like a win-win for both employees and employers alike. However, there is one disadvantage that continues to come up: company culture.

Due to the nature of the hybrid workforce, organizations are struggling to keep their company culture intact. But this doesn’t have to be a drawback.

Company Culture and the Hybrid Workforce

It’s easy to bond and connect with fellow employees when you’re working in the same office on a day-to-day basis. Collaboration flows easily when you can turn to the person next to you and ask a question. But when you’re working remotely (and often on your own), you can begin to feel isolated. Gone are the impromptu coffee runs with colleagues or water cooler chats.

While these things don’t necessarily define your company culture, it can cause remote and hybrid workers to feel disconnected from your company, which in turn can cause your culture to take a hit.

The challenge lies in how you can bridge the disconnect and ensure that your employees feel like they’re part of one, cohesive team while also keeping your company’s personality alive. In this blog, we’ll explain how to do this

1. Communicate your company’s goals effectively
One of the first things you should do when you have a remote or hybrid workforce is re- communicating your company’s mission, value and goals. This helps align everyone in the company and can create a sense of teamwork as everyone is working together to achieve the same thing. The feeling of isolation eases as employees know they are contributing and making an impact in some way.
It also allows employees to be able to effectively collaborate with each other when there is a common goal to work towards or a sense or shared responsibility, even if it is virtually.

2. Don’t stop the fun, even if it isn’t in person
There seems to be a common misconception that fun company events can only be done in person. That just isn’t the case. With more company’s moving towards a hybrid workforce, it just means organizations will need to get a little more creative to come up with company events that can be done virtually. This includes team building exercises, games, happy hours and team lunches. Thanks to the many virtual meeting tools, it’s easier than ever to facilitate these events.

Virtual happy hour with coworker

Some ideas of virtual events you can try that we’ve seen done:

  • Virtual happy hour – send employee’s a drink mixing kit and have a mixologist join the call to teach everyone how to make different cocktails.
  • Virtual lunch – send meal delivery gift cards to employees so they can order the lunch of their choice and then eat together on a call. This could also be a great opportunity for a lunch and learn.
  • Game nights – select an online game (such as poker) and have everyone join a Zoom where the games are broadcasted and people can play together
  • Virtual book club – choose a book and then meet virtually to discuss the book a few weeks later.

The options are of what you can do virtually are endless, you just have to get creative!

3. Host weekly, monthly and quarterly meetings
While meetings tend to get a bad rep, they are one of the most effective ways to ensure employees are on the same page. At the departmental level, a weekly sync to align priorities is a great way to boost collaboration among team members and facilitate engagement. At the company level, a monthly or quarterly meeting to check-in on where the company is at in achieving its goals is a good way to remind employees that they’re all a part of the bigger picture.

4. Invest in good tech
The move to a hybrid workforce saw an increased need for more bandwidth, enhanced audio and video quality and cloud-based software. Employers should make it easy for their employees to fully immerse themselves in meetings and have access to company resources from wherever they decide to work. This will not only ensure that hybrid employees are productive, but it will also ensure that there is no disruption to their day-to-day and that working remotely is as seamless as if they were in the office.
However, going beyond the basics is the key to ensuring the hybrid workforce still feels like part of the company culture even from home. Many organizations are budgeting for a monthly office equipment fund that remote and hybrid employees can utilize on things like desks, monitors, computer chairs, audio equipment, printers etc.

Hybrid Workforces: The New Normal

The hybrid workforce is here to stay which means you will be tasked with continually keeping your company culture intact. Company culture will continue to evolve as organizations adjust to remote and hybrid working and you’ll quickly learn what works and what doesn’t. Maintaining your company culture during this shift may take more effort at first, but you’ll be rewarded with happier, healthier employees in the long run as flexibility and work-life balance becomes more and more important to them.

Want to Support Strong Company Culture? The Digital Workplace Experts at Klarinet Solutions are Here To Help!

Modernizing your digital workplace and your intranet can go a long way to supporting company culture with a hybrid workforce, and Klarinet Solutions can help! We invest in customer relationships to understand and solve the digital workplace problems you face every day. Get in touch with our team of intranet experts today!

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