Between 2020 and 2021, the shift to a telecommuting or remote working model caught many companies off guard and today, with many employees having returned to the office and others remaining out of the office, employers face a new challenge: maintaining the company culture in the hybrid work environment.
Recent surveys from different international HR departments, such as SHRM, have shown that 65% of the organisations surveyed have difficulties in maintaining the company spirit of the employees. The conclusion is that the shift to a hybrid model of working has caused unforeseen challenges for many businesses on a global scale.
Both companies and employees are now better able to handle the technical challenges of a hybrid workplace, which means rethinking how to meet the challenges of maintaining a functional company culture in this new environment.
Achieving this is vital to your business performance and, according to McKinsey, companies with an effective culture generate 3 times more profit. At Gran Via Business & Meeting Center, as a centre with flexible workspace options of reference in Barcelona, they have found it appropriate to transmit a series of tips to maintain the company culture in a hybrid work environment.
1. Reinforce a shared objective
Purpose is a vital ingredient of company culture. With the blurring of the lines between personal and professional as a result of the new workplace conditions, employees are more attentive to questions about their purpose and impact and why they should keep doing what they are doing.
Emphasising the importance of individual team members’ work and its effect on overall results helps people see how they fit into the totality of the organisation’s work. As a result, this can help reinforce their sense of belonging to the team and of participation in whatever project they are engaged in.
2. Be inclusive
One potential source of friction within a hybrid team is the question of whether everyone’s preferences, needs and work boundaries are accepted equally.
A common fear among remote workers is that their input is not valued in the same way as that of the workers present in the office. Therefore, being inclusive of employees’ contributions and focusing on their impact and outcomes, rather than where the employee is located, is very important for a healthy culture.
Companies should also consider the remote space as an extension of the company and provide the necessary technology to support optimal working conditions.
3. Provide a structure with room for manoeuvre
One of the arguments against the flexible hybrid model is that it can end up creating a chaotic situation without the necessary control. This is where managers and teams must learn to work in balance with the structure in place.
To ensure that the necessary cohesion is maintained in the team, consider introducing a structure that is predictable and established in advance, to facilitate the organisation of meetings and interactions between different members of the company. This structure holds together the cultural network of the company and at the same time allows for the autonomy of the employee during the rest of the time.
4. Emphasising accountability and allowing for conflict
Lack of accountability erodes trust and connection, so hybrid teams must maintain a high degree of accountability at all times. Their work and challenges must be observed and meaningful solutions sought at all times.
At the same time, a healthy business culture should not exclude conflict. On the contrary, leaders must find ways to support healthy disagreements that help clarify what might otherwise be buried or unnecessarily exaggerated. Establishing procedures for disagreements and a range of opinions is one way to address this issue.
5. Being present and accessible
Finally, managerial accessibility correlates with team members’ performance and confidence. It also creates a greater sense of security and therefore reduces uncertainty and disengagement.
While this may be more difficult to achieve in a hybrid model, it is even more important. Regularly checking in with team members, answering their questions and communicating that you are consistently present are important ways to help strengthen the company culture.