The working world is undergoing a tremendous sea change. As some companies are beginning their tentative returns to the office, many others are realizing that working remotely has its own advantages. As a result, a hybrid model of working that includes both remote and on-site work is becoming increasingly popular. Hybrid work is convenient, cost-effective, and makes jobs more accessible to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to do them. But it also comes with its share of challenges, the most significant of which is the struggle to build or maintain a vibrant company culture. Have you ever wondered how to build a culture of wellbeing in the new hybrid model?
When working from home, it’s easy to become isolated, especially when working with people in conflicting time zones. WeWork conducted a study last year that found that 80 percent of young adult workers feel less connected to their peers and leaders now that they work from home. When employees don’t have that sense of belonging, their performance suffers. It also increases their risk of burnout.
Culture develops organically when everyone is in the same physical space. It’s easier to turn around in your chair to ask a neighbor a quick question or have impromptu brainstorming sessions over lunch. But how can you replicate that same togetherness in the virtual realm?
Create Space For Informal Interactions
With no water cooler to gather around, ad hoc conversations between employees have decreased drastically or disappeared altogether. Even informal check-ins online feel stilted and over-edited and things can go unsaid or be lost in translation. All this leads to deteriorating co-working relationships, assuming those relationships have the space to develop at all.
That’s why it’s vital to create space for employees to mingle, especially with people outside their department. There are plenty of ways to do this, such as virtual co-working groups (Slack’s new “huddle” feature is great for this), on-site events that draw people to the office, and non-working activities like virtual happy hours or game nights. The key is to make sure that everyone has access to these social spaces.
Make Office Time More Intentional
It can’t be denied that magic happens when people gather in a physical space together to achieve a common goal in a way that’s nearly impossible to replicate online. When working in an office is no longer a requirement, it can benefit creativity and teamwork to incentivize coming to the office. Instead of just being a place you go to because you have to, add intentionality to on-site work. Use the office as a deliberate space to gather instead of just a building where people independently work in the same space.
But don’t forget your workers who, for whatever reason, can’t make it to the office. Fully remote employees are most likely to slip through the cracks.
Lead By Example By Modeling Best Practices
Now more than ever, those in leadership need to be the change they wish to see in the workplace. Show that boundaries are to be respected by setting and maintaining your own. Utilize time in the office and remote workdays to encourage employees to do the same. Remind employees of their shared purpose in internal communications. Make a point to check in with your employees, too, particularly the ones you don’t see as often. You never know who is suffering in silence.
Meet Employees Where They Are
The abrupt change to remote work, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, has left a lot of workers psychologically adrift. The collective trauma has had a noticeable effect on productivity and some people are struggling more than others. That’s why it’s vital to be open, transparent, and flexible with employees as the adjustment to hybrid work is happening. Evaluate needs on a case-by-case basis and be prepared to offer support and resources to whoever needs them.
Focus On Wellness
Something magical happens when you shift your company’s priorities toward taking care of your employees. By emphasizing employee wellness, workers feel a stronger bond to their company and colleagues. It also reassures employees that it’s okay to not always be okay, which is a common reality in our current climate.
A company-wide wellness program encourages employees to take care of themselves while also providing them the resources to do so. And when employees are healthy and happy, they’re more present, more creative, and more productive.
If you’re interested in bringing a workplace wellness program to your company, why not try Fabulous for Work? Schedule a demo with us here and be one step closer to boosting your hybrid company culture.