Organisations are balancing hybrid and flexible working practices, something that’s increasingly popular since the pandemic, against maintaining a strong sense of community and company culture, which many leaders fear cannot be maintained with a dispersed workforce.
News headlines are focusing on hybrid and flexible working, from Lord Sugar’s comments on ‘lazy’ homeworkers through to the Apple employee backlash on their back to work policy. What’s more, plans to give staff a ‘default’ right to flexible work seem to be in question with the long-awaited Employment Bill’s notable absence from the Queen’s Speech this month.
With so many factors to consider, how do organisations balance the flexibility that comes from hybrid working with creating a strong company culture that makes employees feel connected and appreciated?
Creating a Strong company culture in a hybrid world
What is Company Culture?
Company culture is the shared values, attributes and characteristics of your organisation. Your company culture guides employees in the way they act, appear, their values and the decisions they make. Your organisation’s culture can cover a range of aspects from how employees dress to the shared ideals of your staff. It’s important to consider your organisation’s culture and how this can be adapted for a hybrid working style.
Focus on Connection
One of the main challenges of hybrid working is the risk of employees feeling isolated and less connected with colleagues. A survey of 700 remote workers, who had previously worked in offices, found that social connection was the thing people missed most. Building a sense of community and social fabric without the use of an office may be challenging.
Consider how you can make use of online coaching, mentoring and company-wide social events to reinforce culture and the advantages of being socially proactive.
Celebrate Behavioural Success
While reinforcing company values supports employees to understand the wider picture of your organisation’s culture, it’s valuable to share how this is demonstrated on the day-to-day. Share success stories of where in a remote environment, colleagues successfully collaborated in a way that underpinned the core values of your organisation. Doing this gives practical, real-world examples of how hybrid and flexible working works to positively drive culture and employee experience.
Close the Culture Gap
It’s important to consider your current culture against the culture your organisation strives to have. What do you reward and what do you recognise? Acknowledging positive behaviour, and identifying those that create the right culture, means the approach could be adopted formally across the business. For example, are teams reducing email volumes by collaborating via online tools – does this create efficiencies and better teamwork? If yes, this working practice could be formally rolled out to the wider business. Similarly, what ways of working are detrimental to your culture? When spotted, these could be discouraged with different working methods encouraged.
For more information on how we can help you to create a strong company culture in a hybrid, world please do get in touch with our expert team.