5 Tips for Building a Strong Company Culture in a Hybrid Work Environment
How businesses can effectively look after both in-office and work from home employees to create optimal balance between life and work.
As businesses continue to transition to hybrid working environments, maintaining a strong company culture amongst both remote and office-based employees will be a critical component in achieving long-term success.
Throughout the pandemic, our company learned so much about what it means to be an engaged and efficient workforce. We started having virtual weekly huddles, communicating on Slack, doing Zoom calls from one room to another, and hosting virtual happy hours and trivia. But all those things are material. What allowed us to grow and maintain a strong work culture even though we all haven’t been in-person every single-day was a shared company purpose, teamwork, measurement, respect for each other and trust. Here are five tips for building a consistent and engaging company culture in a hybrid work environment.
Establish Core Values
A company culture should be defined by its people, and not tied to a physical workplace. Developing core values with your employees that are easy to embrace will drive success and fulfilment in life, regardless of your working model. Determine what drives them, what drives you, and what needs to be done in order to succeed. For us, “Together, We Win” seems to be everyone’s favorite core value. It embodies all of our other values, as well as our purpose, and keeps everyone engaged.
Measure Productivity not Office Hours
Gone are the days when direct reports include notifying or asking permission to leave early or for a doctor’s appointment. Instead of counting office hours, measure productivity. Let employees determine when and how they want to do their work, as long as the work is getting done well and according to the company’s overall strategy.
Measure everything that you do as a company, versus office hours. Establish and measure annual and quarterly goals, and both internal and client-facing metrics. Create an accountability chart that distills down job descriptions to very simple boxes, such as with an employee’s name, title, and three-to-seven bullet points outlining their role and responsibilities. The accountability chart allows people to know where to go for what and keeps the ownership of specific tasks with one person.
Make the Office a Great Place to Work
We’ve learned by now that many businesses can work remotely; so it’s up to the employer to make the office a great place to work, socialize, and collaborate to encourage employees to come back when it’s safe to do so. The onus is on the company and is no longer on the employee. Create a flexible, creative, and fun office space.
Instead of putting a policy in place that outlines how many days an employee must be in the office and the number of hours, allow each department to determine what works best for them. Mirror the work from home experience as much as possible toward the physical office space, and it will help entice employees to return.
Encourage True Vacation Time
The work from home and hybrid work culture may lead to less (true) vacation time, so finding ways to encourage and perhaps require time off is going to be the next hurdle for employers. A burnt-out team is never a good thing, and more work doesn’t produce more results. It will be important for employers to encourage staff to take personal time, vacation time, and time for self-therapy.
Employees usually don’t come up with an “a-ha” moment or big work idea while staring at their email in front of their computer. Great ideas normally come on a bike ride, while climbing a mountain, taking a walk on the beach, through meditation, or activities outside the office. In general, employers need to be more compassionate, understanding, supportive, and facilitate and encourage productivity through celebration of great achievements.
Respect the Work Force
Respect both your permanent and remote employees and their work/life setup. We learned that we need to involve our remote teammates even more than we thought now that we’ve worked in their shoes. There is no such thing as office-based and remote employees anymore. All employees need to be equally engaged, encouraged, and included. Everyone can work in a hybrid environment and feel connected, but it requires opening up remote options to engage employees, whether it’s a Zoom meeting to see people on screen more often or a virtual event. And regardless of where your employees are located, it’s vital more now than ever for company leaders to be accessible, approachable, and visible to all employees.
Kori Covrigaru is the Co-Founder and CEO of PlanOmatic, the biggest and fastest provider of Property Insights and marketing services for the single-family rental industry nationwide.