Hybrid work culture wasn't a fancy word before the pandemic, but post-which it became a blessing in disguise. After Covid-19, companies across the globe started adopting a hybrid culture work model to meet their employees' everyday needs and offer flexibility to their workforce in tough times like that.
During those times, most employees had spent their lockdown with their loved ones and become comfortable with a lifestyle where they can work at their convenience. Since the pandemic is over, it isn't fair to rob everything they had, and if given a choice between hybrid culture and 100% on-site work culture, people will side with the first option.
And it not only benefits the employees; a survey from Mckinsey states that 58% of employers claim that their productivity increased due to hybrid culture. So due to the pandemic, top organizations realized the benefits of hybrid work culture arrangements and started implementing them effectively since employees' productivity isn't mandated workplace presence. Now let's dig deep into why you need to execute hybrid culture.
Table of contents:
- What is hybrid culture?
- Benefits of hybrid culture
- How to implement hybrid culture?
- How hybrid culture promotes a sense of belonging?
- Hybrid culture is here to stay!
What is hybrid culture?
A hybrid culture is a working environment that combines both virtual and in-person on-site arrangements. In the last couple of years, changes in the work world dominated our thoughts in a good way.
The hybrid culture thrives in treating every employee the same by providing everyone access to equal information, tools, people, and opportunity, regardless of whether the employee is in the office, at home, or working from a coffee shop!
The hybrid culture is not complex, but it isn't easy either, and it requires constant overview and action from the leaders exceptionally to keep employees up-to-date.
Now, more than ever, employees are more flexible in working arrangements, and the trend has been getting more popular in the past three years of the pandemic.
According to Zippia, 44% of U.S. employees prefer a hybrid cultured workplace. The hybrid experience helps the workforce make informed decisions in establishing a proper work-life balance, and most employees in the hybrid culture have an option to choose their schedules and place of work.
Benefits of hybrid culture
Globally, organizations are impressed with the hybrid culture model and surely are stretching out themselves to make them work within their workplace. According to Forbes, when workplace cultures are more effective, organizations see payoffs in retention, revenue growth, net income, and stock price.
But if you plan to implement hybrid culture, you should be prepared with collaborative tools, improving employees' accessibility, bridging the gap between on-site and remote, and more, but let's walk through some of the best benefits so you can push to execute it sooner.
The hybrid workplace model encourages both remote and on-site workers. The following are the benefits that you can attain by creating the best workplace culture that supports your company and your employees.
Employee engagement and satisfaction
The hybrid setup lets the employees make their decision, have flexible working hours, and provide a refreshing change of work environments. This is essential because, when the employees are comfortable, they are more likely to work efficiently and stay happy simultaneously. When the employees don't have flexibility, they will find it hard to balance their workloads and concentrate on their work.
For example, when you have both an individual project and a team project, you can work on the team projects on-site and your individual project at home through a hybrid culture. So, you have the freedom or option to choose what and where you have to work, which will give you higher work-life satisfaction and keeps you more engaged at work.
According to Gallup, engaged employees can increase profits by 23% and decrease absenteeism by 81%. In addition, happy and engaged employees stick around with your workplace more. So, offering your employees the flexibility to have their own work schedules can increase your turnover and retention.
Improved workplace culture
You might be worried that your hybrid model might hurt the on-site culture you spent years building. But, according to Apollo Technical, 63% of high-revenue growth companies believe in—Productivity Anywhere—and completely embrace the hybrid workforce model.
Still, this is far from the truth; providing employees with control over their own schedules will actually be more motivating, and since they can switch between on-site work and remote, they are more likely to come to the office already engaged and ready to contribute their total productivity for the company's culture.
For example, if you have the option to work from home to work on your individual tasks and give yourself a head start on the team projects, you’ll probably feel more positive and motivated when you get back to on-site work.
The hybrid workplace culture leads to fewer people on-site on any given day, so your office will rarely be at capacity. Hence, the employees have more opportunities to make the best of it and create an efficient on-site and off-site workplace.
According to Accenture, 85% of employees prefer hybrid culture since they feel they can be more productive anywhere. So, practically, you don't need to clutter your office with a bunch of desks that are more likely to sit empty. Instead, you can offer hot desk options for your employees, allowing them to come to the office to have a designated work spot.
You might also wonder what you should do with all the extra space. You can use them for other effective things, such as booths for 1–1 meetings, place comfortable couches, add activities areas, or just a quiet space, for your employee to calm their mind whenever required. These also act as a great way to attract top talents to your company.
Reduces operational cost
Practicing a hybrid culture directly means fewer employees in the office, and you need less physical space. You wouldn't need many desks, printers, office supplies, or computers, and you can even reduce the costs of utility bills, and there are chances for employees to lower their salary just to work in a hybrid culture. For employees, it can save a lot of money by cutting down their commuting-to-workplace costs.
As a company, you can save thousands of dollars, even in real estate expenses, by implementing hybrid culture, especially in expensive metro cities or areas.
According to Deloitte, 45% of organizations' travel expenses are cut by 50% to 74%, and in 30% of organizations, it's 75% to 100%. So, with these in mind, it's safe to say that hybrid is better for employers' and employees' bank accounts since both have to spend less.
How to implement hybrid culture?
People have spent more time working from home, and most of them have become attached to its flexibility and the work-life balance it offers. Now, more and more people are growing to expect flexible working ways, and various companies are coming forward as well.
But how can companies and leaders cultivate a constructive culture if people are away from the working space?
The below-mentioned steps are simple yet not straightforward since they require consistent leadership following.
Level up your communication
Communication with employees when they are working remotely or hybrid requires more attention to ensure that everyone has access to equal opportunity to participate in a conversation, which you can achieve through the following:
- Gen-Z, born between the late 1990s and early 2010s, is the first generation to notice and witness the birth of digital techs. They grow up communicating with their fellow generation through social platforms. Gen-Z's generation-specific traits reflect their attitude and job expectations.
- According to the World Economic Forum, by 2025, 27% of employees in OECD countries will be Gen-Z. So understanding and implementing best communication practices among employees will help you bring the best out of the new workforce.
- There are chances for your teams to work from different time zones, so you need recorded or written communication that can help replace your daily stand-up meetings with short written updates to a chat channel. You can also have written documents that can later facilitate discussion in the comments. If you look at a wider scale, a managing director can request written questions before the company's town hall and then broadcast instead of doing it live.
- According to GetVoip, 62% of companies rely on three or more video-calling platforms to communicate with their team. Some meetings require discussing an urgent or complex issue, so when you have access to modern-day technologies, you can share the meeting's minutes through recorded sessions, in a document, or generate transcripts of the entire video call. So, seek technologies to help produce perfect communication without leaving anyone out.
Make the boundaries clear
Don't ever leave your employees hanging. If not implemented correctly, the hybrid culture will be unclear for managers and employees when they want to know the available time of the other colleague, what tasks to focus on, or when they relax with their family, which often leads to annoying or awkward interruptions.
But these are not something new, when one working from the office has frequent interruptions and interactions, it can be frustrating to thrive getting the flow and concentrate on the work.
Here are certain factors you need to consider, while establishing a hybrid culture for your employees, that supports their mental wellness -
- Set proper guidelines to increase employee engagement since working from home involves navigating messages, emails, documentation, and video calls so everyone can know each colleague's expectations. Implementing rules like—it's alright to reply to a direct email or message the next day, or it's optional for employees to skip the meeting if it isn't relevant, can reduce anxiety and fear of missing out among employees.
- Make sure you imply that the working hours are clear for all the employees, so everyone can explicitly record their calendars and others can also look at them, especially the day-offs. Employees should be able to block off the time that they are allocating for all their work.
Give access to the right tools
For employees to work more effectively from off-site, they require the same tool everyone uses, has access to, and can operate. There is a wide range of collaborative software that can ease the way of communication, like Google's docs, which lets multiple users comment or make edits, and Miro, a drawing tool that allows teams to sketch together as if they are all in front of a whiteboard.
Tools also come from physical setups that all employees can access in their remote workplace. Providing stipends to hybrid workers can help them improve their remote offices, and many companies practice this way to make employees comfortable and attain more employee engagement.
How hybrid culture promotes a sense of belonging?
Developing a sense of belonging in a hybrid culture can be tricky for both leaders and employees, but there are things that no one misses about working on-site, like the commute (that might top the list). If not appropriately implemented, a hybrid culture can increase employees' sense of loneliness, isolation, and harm the employees' emotional safety.
It can be more effective for generation Z, who just graduated or are at their first hybrid jobs.
There are solutions, and many companies have successfully managed hybrid teams. Here are some ways to promote a sense of belonging in your hybrid culture.
Yes, for many, the workplace can be the important or only source of social connection. So, ensure your employees spend quality time with each other and connect outside their teams. Plan social events; they are an excellent way for co-workers to socialize and build team spirit.
In-person events are always for the win, but when the circumstances don't allow it, and you are on a virtual "fun event", use breakout rooms to give employees private time to chat.
ERGs (employee resource groups) are employees' spaces for underrepresented backgrounds to connect with other colleagues. Encouraging and implementing these spaces in the hybrid culture gives employees a place to share their experience and a place to talk openly. The spaces enable your company's commitment to diversity and create a culture of belonging.
Monitor employees' engagement
To make the employees feel heard, make sure you have a proper source to get information for creating a positive culture. A thriving hybrid culture happens when you carefully track the employees' feedback with honest responses that allows you to find a new approach.
CultureMonkey's employee engagement survey helps collect honest, anonymous feedback and allows you to address potential issues. With CultureMonkey, you can have deep insights into your employees' engagement and morale.
Hybrid culture is here to stay!
The hybrid culture is here to stay for a long time, and a proper one doesn't happen by accident. Developing and maintaining an appropriate hybrid culture requires an intentional mindset, a positive approach, and a steady communication of information.
Hybrid culture is becoming the new normal, so stand out by providing the right surveys to on-site and remote workers to help them work efficiently regardless of the working place. Make hybrid culture a way to gain employees' trust in return for better and more efficient business outcomes.