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The Future of the Hybrid Workplace and Company Culture

It likely will come as no surprise to anyone that one of the current hottest workplace topics is…the workplace itself.  The pandemic forced many organizations to abruptly transition to a 100% remote work environment. This had more than a few employees sighing in thanks as there has been clamoring for years regarding the need for better work-life balance. As we begin to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel (Thanks Pfizer. Bless you Moderna.), we wonder at the future of work. To Office or not to Office? That is the question. Or rather, that was the question.

As a recent Harvard Business Review article states, “a hybrid working model awaits many workers and companies on the other side of this crisis.” And rightly so. There’s been no shortage of studies that show the majority of knowledge workers would prefer some sort of hybrid work situation. A relatively small percentage would prefer to work exclusively from an office. And not many more than that prefer 100% remote work.

In any case, what does this remote work do to an organization’s culture? And more importantly, how does an organization create and direct a culture when the majority of employees are no longer physically together every Monday-Friday from 8-5?

Communication, as they say, is KEY. Communicate your culture. Document it. Highlight it on your company page. (This is especially helpful in the recruitment process as potential candidates will know from the get-go what type of organization they may be joining.) And then maybe, just maybe, have some fun with it!

See below for a few ideas we’ve come across recently:

▪ Welcome new team members with an introduction to the team. Ways to accomplish this remotely while still making an impact: circulate a short video or a new-employee questionnaire.

▪ Encourage one on one meetings with peers in the organization; not for business purposes, but to get to know others on a personal level, particularly those that may be in different departments. As social interaction will be more limited, take the opportunity to create that familiarity that is so necessary for a strong, cohesive team.

▪ Simple, fun activities are a great way of fostering camaraderie and positive energy. Consider staff wide surveys on favorite books, movies, or food. Pop culture trivia perhaps. Or creating an informal “water-cooler chat” channel through the organization’s chosen text chat tool.

▪ Keep the dialogue open. Consider sending out a quarterly, or even monthly, survey by which an organization can measure employee satisfaction and sentiment. This again, does not have to be from a purely work standpoint. This survey can include questions on general feelings and mood to encourage openness.

So Leaders, rather than fearing the potential loss of culture, put that creative thinking cap on and consider this your next fun challenge.

This article was first published on MRA Global

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