As we emerge out of the worst of the pandemic, and life begins to return to normal, we’re finding that the way we work has fundamentally changed. Eager to adapt to a changing world, many employers are developing hybrid working models – where employers split their time working between a physical office and their homes. This obviously presents challenges when it comes to encouraging the development of a strong company culture.
Don’t worry, though. Here are 5 of the best ways that you can build a strong company culture through hybrid working.
Building a strong company culture through hybrid work
1. Get decision-makers to lead by example
Hybrid work will not be universally popular in your workplace. Some employees might love it, some might hate it. Some might prefer the quiet of working from home, whilst others might be yearning for the energy of the office. Whatever the unique views in your own workplace, you can be sure that not everyone will whole-heartedly get behind hybrid working. That has serious implications for building, and maintaining company culture.
To build a strong company culture that can bridge these differences means convincing your employees that everyone is in the same situation together. It means that whatever your position in the office hierarchy, the expectations, rules and responsibilities of hybrid working are the same.
For that to work, you’ll need to get key decision-makers in your company to set an example by following the advice that you tell your employees to implement. After all, as Tracey Brower argues in this article in Forbes, cultivating a sense of fairness is integral to supporting a healthy company culture.
2. Make your employees feel valued
Employee morale is one of the major contributors to a healthy company culture.
There are many factors that can influence employee morale (too many to go into massive detail about here) but one of the most important is how much your employees feel their effort is appreciated. In other words, how much they feel valued for their contribution.
After all, work can be a stressful environment that can sap our energy and test our patience sometimes. Feeling like our work is valued can be great for motivation, helping us steer a way through the most challenging times.
When you’re trying to build a resilient, engaged and, ultimately, sustainable company culture, this approach can really help.
This practical blog from Glassdoor offers some useful tips that you can use to help your employees feel valued. To summarise the findings, they include:
- Showing gratitude and thanking your employees
- Rewarding your employees for a job well done
- Creating opportunities for growth
3. Be transparent about your expectations of hybrid working
People expect, and respect, honesty. Especially when it comes to things that directly affect them. Cultivating a sense of openness and transparency at your company will help you to build a really strong company culture. This can help you manage the challenges that hybrid working can óften create.
By being transparent from the very beginning about what you expect from your employees in the context of hybrid learning, you’ll be able to build trust, empathy and a sense of goodwill. These traits are absolutely essential for creating a strong company culture when working between the home and office.
Be honest about how you expect hybrid working to look. Explain what you expect from your employees, what your employees can expect from you and how you think hybrid working will play out. These efforts will contribute to creating a healthy company culture that enhances your workplace.
4. Remain flexible to employee requests for change
The pandemic has fundamentally changed our lives. Taking advantage of the freedom and autonomy that came with remote working, many employees took major decisions about their lives, thinking that this new-found freedom would be the new normal.
Some people had families. Some people got pets. Some people may have even moved towns or cities. As a result, now we’re starting to get back to work in the office with hybrid working, it’s likely that employees will want some degree of flexibility. This is so that they can integrate their lives with a new way of working.
After all, huge numbers of people have been working from home for the last 2 years. It’s only natural that they might request particular changes to their proposed hybrid working style.
Maintaining flexibility to these requests, and not dismissing them out of hand, is one of the ways that you can develop a really strong company culture.
5.Trust your employees to do their jobs when working remotely
Trusting that your team will actually do their jobs whilst working from home and not just end up watching Netflix or painting the bathroom is a key thing that many managers struggle with when managing home-working teams for the first time.
To manage employees who are working from home, you’ll need to resist the urge to micro-manage. Direct supervision of remote employees is impossible — unless you were to install CCTV cameras in every team member’s home (top tip: don’t do this).
So, you need to build trust with your employees and let go of the reins a bit. You can do that quite well through setting clear expectations, being transparent about what you expect and when, and communicating regularly.
If you can’t trust your employees to do their jobs, why did you hire them to begin with?
We hope you’ve found this article thought-provoking, and that it’s given you some ideas to explore in your own HR practice. A strong company culture is built on trust – the trust that you have in your employees to do their job to the best of their abilities, and the trust they place in you as an employer to keep to your word. If you remember that, you’ll find that these 5 tips to build a stronger company culture through hybrid working are relatively easy to implement. Good luck!