Maintaining Culture in a WFH-Hybrid World
The new normal of hybrid work is here, and for some companies, it has arrived hand-in-hand with a new challenge: maintaining the culture many built on in-office camaraderie and interactions.
And while it’s challenging, the good news is it’s nowhere near impossible. Research shows72% of employees prefer a hybrid work model and want to maintain a level of WFH flexibility post-pandemic. And, because this is the work model a majority of the workforce has grown to prefer, leaders must be prepared to adjust and embrace the necessary changes to maintain a successful culture in this new work environment. It requires new levels of creativity, intentionality and communication, so here are a few guideposts our clients are following to inspire strategies that keep your culture flourishing.
Find meeting margin– Encourage team interaction between meetings, at the end of the day or even consider a “no meeting zone” of time when a catch-up session can happen. Arm managers and team leads with ideas to encourage regular connection outside of workflow tasks to reinforce relationships, maintain a pulse on how your employees are feeling, and identify opportunities to make improvements along the way.
Live your values – Get inventive with how you can still walk the walk on your values, even with remote employees or hybrid days. For example, if one of your values is “giving back” like ours is, your team could adopt-a-teacher at a local elementary school during this back-to-school timeframe, do a supply drive for the teacher’s classroom and even consider making this effort an annual effort for them to look forward to. A service project like this can get your team rallied around a giving back activity that employees can participate in from any location by ordering on Amazon from their home offices.
Get real – Showing employees you care about their real life is one way to strengthen a sense of connection and belonging. One way to do this: if you offer some WFH days, set up a Zoom that focuses on each person showing one thing that they love about their home office. Some will bring their canine companions, some will show off their patio and others will brag on their perfectly organized home office set up, but whatever it is, participants will bring a part of themselves to the conversation and will likely find some things they have in common with other colleagues in the process.
While the hybrid schedules present some uncharted territory, they simultaneously allow fresh opportunity for companies to reinvent processes and try new things that better align with a remote work. Culture can survive and thrive when leaders are willing to rethink and reinforce the priority of culture no matter where employees choose to call their “office” on a given day.