30 Nov 3 Step to a Positive Hybrid Work Culture
The flexibility that a hybrid workplace affords is one of the primary motivations for organizations implementing the popular work model; however, the agency to adopt different working styles can prove to work in opposition to company culture. With teams dispersed between WFH, in office and a flip-flopping between the two, teams are more physically distant than ever before. It can be easy for individuals to feel divided, however physical distancing shouldn’t mean social distancing. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you avoid division within your work family and maintain or even improve your company culture.
Be remote first
A hybrid workplace will only work if you structure it correctly. To do this you must be perpetually conscious of your communications with your remote workers. This way, you do not risk alienating any of your team or creating a hierarchical structure, with a division between the remote and the in-office.
Being remote first means that all team meetings should be conducted using video conferencing tools in order to include everyone in communication and collaboration. Those working from home are at a natural disadvantage, with less physical access to resources and face to face interaction. Therefore, putting them at the heart of everything that you do evens the playing field a little. That is not to say that the two working styles are factions at odds, but you want to ensure that you do everything in your power to create a feeling of togetherness and ultimately maintain or improve upon your company culture.
When you’re communicating with remote workers, overcommunication shouldn’t be a concern. Again, using video conferencing tools does put you at an immediate disadvantage in regard to communication. When you’re one of a number of faces on a screen, it is not as simple for others to accurately read your body language, facial expressions or humor. Things can appear black and white and with people often less willing to be as vocal or animated as they may be in person, there’s no sounding board for your interactions, leaving comments open to interpretation and rumination after a call has ended.
Therefore, it’s essential that you keep you make your intentions very clear and instead of aiming for nuance or concision, use your leadership qualities to give your team the support and feedback that they need, whether that’s constructive or congratulatory. You should also prioritize tone in your text-based interactions using Slack, WhatsApp or email. Each platform of course requires a different tone depending on the formality of the tool you’re using. However, the same approach applies. Be clear, be informative and be present.
Keep your company rituals going. If you would usually all go for a coffee on a Monday, have a virtual coffee meeting. Send your WFH staff the money for a luxury hot drink of their choice, whilst those in the office buy in an order. Everyone then meets over Microsoft Team or Zoom to have casual chit chat. This helps you to keep that ‘water-cooler’ conversation that breaks the day up and gives our brain a break from constant work. As human beings, we need these seemingly mundane interactions for our mental wellbeing and to maintain personal relationships and within the workplace.
The most natural way of working for the post-COVID world is almost here!
Laduma is coming to a room near you in February 2021.