How To Build a Great Culture in a Hybrid Workplace

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By Dzhingarov

What Is a Hybrid Workplace?

A hybrid workplace is an arrangement where employees work part-time remotely and part-time in an office. This setup has been gaining popularity for years, and the global pandemic of 2020 gave it a jump start.

New technology makes it easier for people to telecommute, and employers are gradually becoming more open to the idea of remote workplaces.

Companies are starting to realize the advantages of doing business from any location, which can promote providing flexibility and improved work-life balance for employees.

How Does a Hybrid Workplace Benefit Employees?

Employees can save money and time by avoiding a commute, and they may get more work done working from home because they’re not distracted by office noise and other interruptions. It is no longer necessary to consider traffic or weather conditions when deciding whether or not to go into the office, which is a consideration for areas where both can hamper productivity.

Employees don’t have to worry as much about socializing with coworkers at the office with a hybrid workplace; their work location is no longer limited to an assigned place. They can also be more productive since distractions such as meetings and wayward conversations will be avoided.

Having time in the office to collaborate is still essential. Employees get to meet each other, have more intense collaboration, and efficiently organize projects. But workers will have different ideas regarding the optimal amount of time to spend at the office, so good management will be essential as hybrid work expands.

Employees who want the same opportunities for advancement no matter where they are based will likely need time in an office. It may not be fair, but getting face time with management may be an essential factor for career growth in many office cultures.

It is up to everyone to strive for equity in the workplace regardless of physical location. Sliding back into sneaky office politics (including creating a divide between those who work remotely and those who work in the office) can severely harm morale and productivity.

How Does a Hybrid Workplace Benefit Employers?

Employers may like hybrid arrangements because they get workers’ undivided attention and lower overhead costs by reducing the amount of rented office space.

Employees may be more committed to their company because of the location-independent job, and employers may attract higher-quality employees from different areas of the world as a result of offering location-independent work.

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A hybrid work model indeed shows who is actually working and simply trying to look busy by utilizing different monitoring tools such as time trackers, productivity reports, and web or app usage reports.  Without employees to micromanage and hover over, some managers may realize that they don’t do much day-to-day without in-person management. Multiple layers of management may be deemed unnecessary. Employees who spend their days using in-person politics in the office to advance will also be at risk if they are not producing deliverables while working remotely.

So in some ways, a hybrid model levels the playing field by prioritizing productivity. But in other ways, it makes it more difficult for some people to get noticed and credited for accomplishments.

What Are Employees’ Responsibilities in a Hybrid Workplace?

Employees must embrace technology and make the usual adjustments associated with working from home, such as creating a quiet place to work and being self-disciplined about getting work done.

Employees will also need to communicate more frequently, ideally using technologies that promote interaction without compromising security.  A successful remote worker must be able to handle their workload without constant supervision. They also must be unafraid to call out digital micromanaging if they see it occurring. This behavior can be just as damaging in a remote environment as in a real-life scenario.

What Are Employers’ Responsibilities in a Hybrid Workplace?

Employers must supply all required technology and supplies necessary to assist in a transition to remote work. Employers must have a positive attitude about the new arrangement from the top down. Are executives seen to be working some days remotely? Is everyone on the same page in terms of exercising remote options?

Employers need to be very clear about expectations and policies for remote work, such as hours of availability and acceptable methods of communication.

Employers should have a plan ready if they insist that employees resume commuting into the office again, at least occasionally. Workers will get frustrated if they arrive at the office to spend hours alone at their desks while meetings are still being held online.

What Challenges Are Presented by a Hybrid Workplace?

For a hybrid workplace to function well, employers need to cultivate a healthy culture that’s not dependent on physical proximity.

Open office designs can be challenging for hybrid workplaces because of privacy. If employees are used to working from home, they may need to adjust to coming into the office.

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Introverted employees may love working from home and may be reluctant to return to the office. Extroverted employees working from home might experience isolation and depression without the office’s stimulation.

Some employees may have moved far away from the office during the COVID-19 quarantines. Some of these employees will likely want a 100% remote work schedule, and companies will need to decide if this is feasible.

Many parents found working from home allowed them to save money on daycare. Some of these employees may demand a 100% remote schedule to avoid having to arrange for a new child care solution. But other parents may want to return to the office because their home does not naturally feature a private office space away from their children.

Other employees may report that time away from work made them realize that the office is a toxic environment and they don’t want to return at all. Whether it’s the competitive environment, politics, or just the way people act around each other in a business format, the office can be a breeding ground for negativity.

Employers need to decide if they will tolerate employees who refuse to accept a hybrid work model. Many companies struggle to find qualified employees, so creating balanced workplace options will be vital for retention as remote work options become more commonplace. This decision is one of several issues that makes managing a hybrid workforce difficult.

Some managers attempt to micromanage remote workers’ workflow. with tracking software. But employees generally dislike this, and it’s not become the new normal across all remote work industries yet. Employees whose bosses allow them to manage their own workflows will be more likely to tolerate differences in work schedules and meeting times.

Employees who find themselves burnt out after working remotely for an extended period will be more likely to quit or just not enjoy the company’s culture.

It should also be noted that employees who are not permitted to work remotely may feel that their employer does not trust them. Employees who prefer an office setting may sometimes think that those who work remotely are lazy and will not put in the effort to work in the same room as their colleagues. All of these dynamics are worthy of consideration.

What Is the Best Way To Create Balance in a Hybrid Workplace?

To ensure a successful hybrid workplace, managers should make both remote and office workers feel included. Employees working in the same office together will need to work independently, however, employees working in offices need to see that their remote coworkers are dependable. Employees need to be communicative, organized, and proactive in seeking help when needed.

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Both remote and in-person employees can benefit from remote work tools such as video conferencing, chat programs, and file-sharing platforms to stay connected. The most successful hybrid workplaces have a culture that embraces remote work and values employees’ productivity regardless of their location.

Instead of assuming how employees will act, find out what they think about remote work and hybrid workplaces in general. Employees may not know how they feel about these new methods of communication, so employers need to find out by asking them before they are implemented.

Employees are empowered in their roles when given a voice. When employees feel heard, not only will they be happier but they’ll also be more productive.

If a company wants to attract the best talent post-2020, it must embrace hybrid workplaces. Employees want more time with their families and more personal freedom.

How Is Company Culture Created in a Hybrid Workplace?

Creating a culture requires input from all employees and requires every single member of the company to actively choose to be a part of it. Employees must feel as if they are valued members of an organization, and those feelings should extend beyond those who work in the same building.

Employees need to feel like their opinions matter and that what they do matters to the whole company. Employees must also feel like they can trust their coworkers.

Creating a workplace culture in a hybrid environment can be difficult because it requires employees to be more connected than ever before, even when they are not in the same physical space. Employees need to learn how to trust and rely on one another, regardless of their location. They can do this through regular communication, both in-person and online.

Creating a great culture in a hybrid workplace can be difficult, but it’s not impossible.  A single location no longer binds employees, and they must have the tools available to communicate with others involved in their projects. With the proper tools and perspective, you can make your employees feel happy and engaged in their work no matter where they’re working from.