Building a Flexible Workplace Culture in a Hybrid Work Setting
9/5/2022 | By Marella Gimenez
Hybrid work has become the new normal as companies all over the world start to return to business as usual. As we come out of the worldwide pandemic, this blended, flexible model of on-site and remote work has become more accepted and is embraced by many of the biggest names in business.
But more crucially, how will these new work arrangements affect your organisation's culture, the lifeblood that runs your day-to-day operations?
Transition To Hybrid
Many businesses have become aware of the many advantages of occasional or permanent remote work arrangements during the pandemic. It became apparent with the hybrid work setting that productivity does not require an in-person presence in the workplace.
Indisputably, working remotely can boost productivity by as much as 13%, and 3 out of 4 workers favor this flexible work arrangement.
However, the ability to concentrate on work, face-to-face collaboration with coworkers, and visual cooperation rank highly among the advantages of going into the office. Many business owners are worried about how to change their culture to accommodate the hybrid workplace, as many of them anticipate that at least half of their workforce will be back in the office very soon.
Hybrid Work Demands The Cultivation of Hybrid Culture
In a hybrid workplace, employers should promote behaviour and actions that support both on-site and remote workers in the fields of good health, contentment, productivity, and alignment with the company's objectives. Tools and rules alone are not enough to foster a hybrid culture.
This means that when people work in different places, business executives will need to build, foster, and nurture culture. People working from all over the world will complicate the delicate and arduous task of fostering positive cultures.
With the right approach and emphasis on strategies, individuals are flexible, businesses are resilient, and cultures will survive.
Developing Workplace Flexibility
What does it mean to be flexible?
Flexibility in the workplace means the capability to adjust to shifting demands and conditions at work. Both business owners and employees must be open-minded and willing to adapt to changes in work schedules and workload. This is essential for hybrid work to be successful. Understanding and applying flexibility in the office can improve your working environment and increase productivity. Let us go through the fundamentals of business flexibility, why it's crucial in the workplace, and how using flexible arrangements can benefit everyone.
1. Develop a clear company policy about hybrid setup
- What is a hybrid setup policy?
A hybrid work policy specifies where, how, and when staff members should work in the physical office or remotely. It may appear to be a pretty simple and easy policy at first glance. However, as you dig deeper, you will realize how delicate this subject is. Each team has a unique set of needs for their job, preferences, and expectations for their timetables. It's easy to get messy.
Your policy should lay out a set of rules for operating a hybrid workplace, as well as your expectations and obligations for your hybrid workforce. This comprises any guidelines, procedures, and best practices that workers should adhere to while deciding on the inter-team and cross-team coordination of a hybrid work schedule.
We should develop the hybrid work scheme policy through an inclusive, cooperative process that includes input from various personnel. Many businesses are implementing a completely flexible, lax policy that allows teams and individuals to create their own timetables. Others are creating harsher policies that establish predetermined guidelines, like particular office days or the number of days required to be present in the workplace. Usually, tighter regulations highlight the value of in-person collaboration and include more information about the various teams and roles.
Finally, when you develop and implement your hybrid work standards, precise and clear communication is crucial.
- Who should design and own the hybrid work policy?
The HR department is customarily responsible for developing, communicating, and maintaining the hybrid work policy. For good measure, other work departments should also be involved, including IT, management of facilities and offices, and other management and leadership positions.
HR is in charge of developing and implementing hybrid work standards. Ideally, the human resources division will collaborate with all interested parties to develop, communicate, and update the policy.
The Office and Facilities department is what makes hybrid work possible. Ensuring the offices are appropriate for hybrid work, the facilities department plays a crucial role in enabling it. They will be in charge of organizing hot desks, phone booths, collaboration areas, and other complex spaces that are essential to the success of flexible working.
The IT department is the backbone of hybrid work. The hybrid work scheme needs the full support of the IT department. It is the group responsible for setting up different neighborhoods in the office with various IT equipment such as routers, computers, etc. Their work includes ensuring that the company information is safe, and that the company is fully functional communications-wise.
Without the full and unwavering backing of the Business leadership/Management, hybrid work is not viable. The leadership group should subscribe to the belief that this is the best course of action because of the advantages that it offers to both employees and managers. Working in a hybrid environment won't be easy without their support.
The efforts of all those already mentioned will be fruitless if the staff members/employees fail to understand and follow the policies' processes, tools, and recommendations. The most valuable resource in every organization is its workforce. We should provide them with the freedom and tools they need for them to work together, advance, and gain knowledge from the experiences of others. They are the key parties involved in achieving your hybrid work policy.
2. Invest in Hybrid Work Tools or Equipment
Tools that help synchronize work are not enough to make a hybrid work setup succeed. Work-from-home regulations during the start of the COVID-19 epidemic compelled millions of people to alter how they worked fundamentally. To keep workers online and engaged, teams hurriedly adopted a wave of fundamental synchronous communication platforms like Zoom, Slack, and Google Suite. Unsurprisingly, internal communication tools and remote meeting technology were the two most important technologies deployed by businesses over the past nine months. For the time being, these programs were enough to keep everything operating.
However, business organizations are rapidly becoming aware of the drawbacks of using a wide range of non-integrated software with inconsistent employee adoption rates. Decentralized collaboration and reporting results in hampered productivity, missing files, and communication breakdowns. According to our research, IT leaders still have problems with engagement, burnout, and productivity, despite the deployment of remote meeting and communications solutions. Customer happiness and corporate revenue both began to decline as staff productivity slowed down.
Working models must be adjusted to allow the congruency between long-term remote teams alongside on-site employees. Management and the IT department must be ready to facilitate hybrid collaboration by investing in increasingly sophisticated remote work and collaboration technology.
IT departments and HR are in charge of outlining what a "return-to-office" strategy would entail. As a result, they are addressing important workplace issues, including productivity problems and staff burnout. They generally accomplish this by utilizing modern technology, which is necessary to enable hybrid work. Finding the ideal technologies to address and pinpointing their specific identification are arduous tasks.
Collaboration tools support and guide teams as they work together. When asked why they have or will continue to invest in solutions for remote work, IT leaders always point to collaboration. Good collaboration tools permit external collaboration, ensure that employee communication is secure, and make employee collaboration easier. Management should seriously consider deploying or expanding investments in collaborative work and project management software. It should be a top priority to facilitate remote work.
3. Focus on employee engagement
Maintaining total employee engagement was already a significant challenge when everyone was present physically. And it became more complex when remote work was applied because of the pandemic. Now, the increased desire for flexible and hybrid work may lead to a brand-new, perplexing predicament.
Every business organization will have its own distinct policy about who may work from home and how frequently. If executed poorly, it could jeopardize culture, teamwork, and creativity. On the other hand, a properly implemented hybrid workplace can act as a bridge, bringing workers together and enhancing productivity.
Potential Pitfalls And How To Overcome Them
The possible snags of a hybrid work setup are easy to see. Because every employee has naturally varied experiences, hybrid work is ripe for disconnects regarding fairness and all-inclusiveness. Additionally, the availability of flexible work arrangements differs significantly according to a person's class, level of education, and race.
Many businesses face new and significant separation between white-collar workers who can now work remotely and those whose positions need onsite work, such as operating a high-tech data center or providing front-line service in hospitals, shops, and transportation.
Classic teamwork issues are resurfacing more frequently. The challenge is how one can avoid showing preference to a specific employee or department. These issues can accumulate over time and can be particularly challenging for leaders and managers to handle.
Because the hybrid model is comparatively new, success can be construed differently across many businesses and organizations. There really isn't a clear-cut diagram or a road map for navigating the hybrid employee experience. However, here are some recommendations for fostering employee engagement in this quick era of change:
- Give leaders and managers the tools they need to improve communication.
Employee confidence in the organization is essential in the face of this fundamental transformation and it is something that business owners would want to foster. Giving managers and leaders the tools they need to show they are actively observing continuous change is one way to do this.
- You can get creative with various styles of connecting and collaborating.
The pandemic work situation highlighted the value of interpersonal communication and empathy in the workplace. The present global situation actually challenged us to be at our best by caring, connecting, and strengthening relationships with one another while staying apart.
- Give your staff a voice, and let them guide you on your next course of action.
At the end of the day, leaders can't just intuit or make educated guesses about what will make workers feel the happiest and most engaged. Make it simple for them; only they can tell you this. Create a unique plan that fits initiatives to people's tastes and needs by obtaining ongoing input through employee engagement surveys.
Benefits of a Flexible Workplace
More and more employers are coming to terms with the value of a healthy work-life balance after years of 8 to 5 office jobs.
And it benefits more than just the workers. Employers stand to gain from this change in workplace culture. The employee experience is everything in the modern workplace. That's because employee flexibility and pleasure are the starting points for a wide range of creative results, starting with:
1. Improve Work-Life Balance
According to some studies, a lack of balance results from a conflict between one's obligations in work and in personal life.
Researchers observed that emotional and practical assistance for employees at work had a favorable association with satisfaction with the work-life balance and the level of support provided by management. Work-life balance and productivity have been demonstrated to be positively correlated. As a result, fulfilling one's personal obligations (such as family and parental duties) leads to improved professional output. While achieving a balance between personal and professional obligations raises overall life happiness. This occurs in a hybrid work setup.
2. Increased Employee Retention Rate
Future work policies will be heavily influenced by the idea of working from anywhere at any time, which is more than just a perk of the job. Giving your staff a sense of trust and value can help your team work more effectively and achieve greater success inside your organization. Attracting and retaining talent will be one of the results of applying the hybrid work setup. Policies governing remote work can significantly alter a candidate's professional trajectory.
According to a recent survey, the work-life balance and income are the two most important considerations for people looking for flexible jobs. The top four cited reasons people desire flexible employment have been improving work/life balance, spending more time with family, saving time, and reducing stress from commuting. The hybrid work setup not only retains employees but it also…
3. Attracts Top Talent
The secret to recruiting is remaining informed about and adhering to evolving trends. Millennials think differently than previous generations do. Many of them also desire the flexibility that part-time work offers since they may be starting their own business or have a hobby they would like to pursue.
Employers must communicate on topics pertaining to part-time, full-time, and contract work if they want to grow their talent pool and achieve the greatest performance from applicants. The hybrid work setup provides the kind of flexibility that the majority of applicants want.
4. Lower rates of stress and burnout
It's critical to express that it's okay to take a break from work in today's "eternally on" mentality. Employees can thrive and organizational burnout can be reduced with the support of flexible work arrangements. Flexible work arrangements, such as job sharing, flextime, remote work, and condensed workweeks, help employees maintain a healthier and more effective work-life balance.
Employees that have flexible work arrangements find it easier to enter a productive flow. It increases employee dedication and loyalty while enabling workers to strike a realistic work-life balance. The CIPD has created tools and recommendations to help employers establish flexible working, increase uptake, and efficiently evaluate the process because they want businesses to offer more options for flexible working.
5. Better Employee Engagement
Flexible employment promotes employee engagement, this according to a Gallup survey.
Employees that are more engaged are more enthusiastic, active, and in better physical health. Additionally, as decades of Gallup research have demonstrated, when workers feel motivated, their productivity leaps.
Employers and employees can both benefit from hybrid working to increase productivity while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Instead of merely putting in the hours, efficiency is the key.
Of course, communication must come first when working with mixed teams. Every piece of information must be shared online. Every team member needs to feel appreciated and included, whether they are working remotely or from home. Shared guidelines are essential because employees need to know how to contribute, make suggestions, or communicate problems.
The way people behave is changing as they grow more at ease working remotely. Companies are embracing flexible working practices and transitioning to hybrid work models at an increasing rate. The development of digital technology has made this strategy easier and made it possible for distributed teams to function well.
By investing today, you'll be able to access a wider talent pool and bring out the best in your current staff. KMC Solutions is always one step ahead of the curve. WE WILL assist you in creating a workplace where all employees feel valued and committed to using hybrid work models.