How to Establish a Great Company Culture in a Hybrid Work Environment

Work Culture

By Richard Conn – Senior Director, Demand Generation, 8×8

Every organization has a set of practices and beliefs on which it runs. This culture is what informs the longevity, identity, and success of the company.

However, with the popularity of hybrid work environments, the employee perspective on workplaces and company culture has changed.

A mixture of in-person and remote workers has challenged the traditional work environment and posed questions regarding how to establish a great company culture in a hybrid workplace.

Here, we’ll go through what a hybrid workplace is and how to craft a company culture that benefits you, your workers, and your customers.

 

What is a hybrid workplace?

A hybrid workplace exists when employees don’t work entirely out of an office or entirely remotely. Instead, it has a mixture of in-person and remote employees. 

Companies adopting this type of setup give their employees power over when, where, and how they work, allowing them to improve their work-life balance and be more productive.

 

The importance of company culture

Whether it’s in everyday life or at work, culture is what brings us together. It gives us a sense of belonging and community. Without it, we can feel like mindless drones, without direction or purpose.

Company culture isn’t just about business values or aims but identity. It’s how employees treat each other and how a company treats its employees. It’s as important as creating a customer-centric organizational culture.

Company culture is reflected in the employee experience, both personal and professional, such as interactions with coworkers, growth opportunities, recognition, and work environments, among others.

Establishing a great company culture positively impacts employee happiness and engagement. And, just like hiring a business efficiency consultant solves bottlenecks and issues holding workers back, boosting company growth and success. 

A strong company culture is vital for any business. Benefits include:

  • Better employee productivity
  • Boosted morale
  • Improved staff retention
  • Reduction in employees stress
  • Increased staff wellbeing
  • Advantages in recruitment
  • Better company reputation

 

But a hybrid workplace reduces everyday interactions between employees and changes the traditional makeup of companies. 

Below, we go through several ways to establish and maintain a positive company culture even in a hybrid environment.

 

How to establish a company culture in hybrid workplaces

1. Let employees choose their work environments

Letting employees decide how they want to work is vital to establishing a great company culture, and with technology like small business virtual phone systems, it’s easy to direct work calls anywhere.

Some employees prefer in-person working environments for the social interaction and easy collaboration they provide. Others favor remote working for shorter commute times and increased productivity due to fewer external distractions.

Allowing employees to decide lets them be where they work best, even if this is a combination of in the office and at home. This increases performance and boosts morale, leading to increased staff retention and a positive work culture.

Allow some flexibility around their choices and let them settle into an environment where you can get the best out of them.

 

2. Reorganize offices

Allowing employees to choose where they want to work is only part of the challenge of hybrid environments. Another is what to do with all that free space. You could downsize but, like a toll free number, footing the bill has its benefits. 

With part of the workforce at home, a sparsely populated office means larger open areas. Take advantage of this to provide collaborative working spaces. These can be essential for in-person and remote employees. 

Occasionally, employees will need to collaborate or learn new skills from one another. These spaces provide an excellent multipurpose area for hot-desking, group meetings, or working together on projects. For remote employees, this provides an inclusive office workspace that they can use when they need to.

It also fosters a culture of collaboration and learning and redesigns the office to cater to the new flexible working culture.

 

3. Set boundaries

With your workforce split over different locations, it’s critical you set boundaries to ensure productivity and parity between employees. While remote working does improve the work-life balance, the lines can get blurred for some. They might feel pressured to work extra hours because they have free time.

For example, if an employee was tasked with increasing your eCommerce conversion rate, they might work extra hours after finishing to achieve this. This puts pressure on them to work for longer and not to stop until the job is done.

Talk to employees and identify issues they may be having. Use their feedback to define responsibilities and develop guidelines to ensure both in-person and remote employees have the same working expectations.

Part of establishing a great work culture is having happy and fulfilled employees. Creating a comprehensive set of guidelines and setting boundaries will relieve pressure, reduce stress, and improve wellbeing.

 

4. Increase internal communication

Trust is the hallmark of a good company culture, and communication is one of the driving forces for building it. However, communication can be a challenge for hybrid workplaces. 

While in-person catch-up meetings are effective for quick updates, it can be trickier to set up a video conference and wait for everyone to log in. Remote employees can feel like they’re out of the loop and receiving information second-hand, which won’t foster a great company culture. 

Therefore, increasing internal communication is essential. You can accomplish this by transitioning to remote communication apps and investing in UK VoIP numbers.

Instant messaging, emails, and video-conferencing solutions all aid communication. While in-person catch-up meetings are still likely to happen, ensure managers and supervisors schedule regular remote catch-ups as well. Make sure to check phone number portability for all team members working remotely so they always stay connected.

Be proactive in your approach. Weekly newsletters or monthly updates will make remote workers feel included, boosting morale. Additionally, this is an opportunity to evaluate your cybersecurity practices, to ensure business visibility and continuity if remote applications stop working.

Encourage employees to give feedback about company processes and communication methods to see where you can improve. 

 

5. Recognize your employees

All employees want their hard work and effort to be recognized. When fostering a work culture where employees feel valued, it’s crucial to look at the small things.

This could be in the form of thank you emails, an extra hour off following a busy week, or company awards. Include both remote and in-person employees equally when recognizing contributions. For example, if you’re holding a costume competition, invite remote workers to partake in the fun as well.

Your culture should represent your company’s values and identity. The work employees put in every day should be regularly appreciated, especially in a hybrid environment where it’s easier to overlook it.

By supporting your employees and making them feel valued, you increase employee retention and build a more rewarding business culture.

 

6. Provide opportunities for growth

People want progression. When someone joins a company, one consideration they have is where the job can take them. 

It could be becoming a team leader or moving into upper management. Whatever your employee’s aims are, supporting their growth is fundamental to building a strong and positive company culture.

When a workforce is in one place, it’s easier to mentor employees and help them move up the ladder, but in a hybrid environment, this becomes trickier. Remote employees can be especially disadvantaged as they spend the majority of their time working alone. This can be isolating and may make them feel like they’re missing out on valuable experiences or promotions.

Instead of encouraging them back into the workplace, use mentorship and regular training sessions, such as teaching them how to use any hybrid integration platforms you choose to invest in. Provide opportunities for employees to connect with coworkers to develop the skills to grow and progress in their careers. Look to provide in-house promotion opportunities for all employees.

This will improve employee retention, increase satisfaction, and positively contribute to your company culture.

 

7. Resolve conflicts

The workplace experience is different when employees aren’t entirely in the office. Staff may feel out of the loop or like they’re being ignored. With new guidelines and changing working practices, it’s essential to resolve conflicts before they impact business processes. 

Additionally, remote and in-person employees can inadvertently create two isolated groups, leading to increased tensions.

Be proactive and look for issues within teams or between employees before they blow up. Resolve them quickly to ensure your company culture doesn’t take a turn for the worse. 

 

8. Get together regularly

Social interaction is a vital part of working culture, even if it’s a brief chat with a colleague. It promotes wellbeing, collaboration, and boosts morale, but with hybrid workforces, employees can feel lonely and face interaction challenges.

Informal events, such as company socials, are a great opportunity to bring everyone together under one roof. You could also try virtual events to retain crucial social interaction. This will foster better relationships, strengthen networks, increase collaboration, and make employees feel like they belong.

 

Culture is in the details

While hybrid workplaces are relatively new, setting them up is simpler than ever. With technology now available to manage employees and provide productive working environments,  there’s every reason to consider whether they could work for your business.

The challenge lies in fostering a great company culture and providing in-person and remote employees with a positive working experience. Allowing them to choose where they work, providing them with growth opportunities, and fostering an atmosphere of learning and collaboration are all effective ways to boost morale and improve productivity. Showing employees they’re valued promotes better wellbeing and increases retention too. 

Ultimately, establishing a great company culture builds solid foundations for business growth and success. Workplaces have evolved past being just an office, and today represent community, purpose, and belonging. 

Follow the tips above and look for ways to improve the hybrid experience of your employees to reap the benefits for your business.