Leading companies are doubling down on employee experience in response to the new reality of mixed work. This entails more than just providing more advantages or better benefits; it also entails major shifts in company culture.
Two emerging business patterns have been accelerated by COVID-19. The introduction of a hybrid workplace is the first. It is a shift away from fixed work (full-time on-site or full-time working remotely) toward a flexible paradigm that includes a mix of office, frontline, and remote employees.
The second insight is that businesses must work harder for their workers rather than only for their consumers or shareholders. Building relationships and concentrating on culture in the hybrid workplace are two of the most challenging tasks for teams to do as they spend less time together.
How do we avoid reverting to a "normal" that was never decent enough in the first place? Employee experience holds the key to this.
What Is a Hybrid Workplace Model?
The hybrid workplace, as the name suggests, mixes traditional office work (and, indeed, working from anywhere). It permits staff to work part-time online and the rest of the time on-site. Individuals may choose to alternate between the two, during the week.
A mixed workforce may also be more effective, according to some evidence. According to the Gartner report, a great number of people showed improvement when they had some control over how and where they worked, opposed to only a few full-time office workers. This shows that a hybrid workplace model could be beneficial to both companies and employees.
Types of Hybrid Workplace Models
Although some firms are now entirely virtual, there are a variety of hybrid work arrangements that may be more suitable for many. The type of flexible workspace that is adopted in the hybrid workplace can be determined by the needs of each company.
Three of the most popular hybrid workplace models are as follows:
- Remote-first: The company's operations are mostly focused on online work, but it does have some workspace. A satellite office, for example, could be kept for staff who require or desire to work there, as well as face-to-face meetings with clients.
- Office-occasional: Workers alternate between working from home (or anywhere else they currently are) and working in actual workplaces. This, in principle, allows the staff to benefit from the best of both worlds.
- Office-first, remote work allowed: The workplace is designated as the primary location for working, with staff having the opportunity to work from home as well sometimes.
Company Culture and the Employee Experience in The Hybrid Workplace
We define employee experience as a systematic strategy to meet employee needs that results in a positive workplace experience. It's not about leveraging typical variables like rewards, incentives, or regular employee engagement to change behavior. It's all about shifting the culture in hybrid workplace. It's about prioritizing principles like integrity, honesty, loyalty, and significance in the workplace.
And if 2020 was about responding to an unprecedented situation by focusing on temporary adjustments in culture and working conditions in the hybrid workplace, 2021 is about enshrining these changes in corporate hybrid workplace strategy and processes for the long haul.
Employee Experience Affects Every Part of Your Company Culture in The Hybrid Workplace
Before you begin, it's important to understand that employee experience isn't only a CEO or HR issue. Every major shareholder in your company is invested in EX. In order to establish and implement sustainable plans, executives from diverse departments need to communicate and cooperate. The advantages, though, are obvious once you do.
- CEOs: Engage with employees in the company genuinely and listen to and react to what they have to offer.
- HR management: Attract, develop, and retain top employees while fostering a positive business culture.
- Leaders in the communications field: Increase information flow and gain an actionable overview of the key ideas.
- Leaders in Information Technology: Combine business tools with clever integrations and simple functions.
How Hybrid Working Impacts Your Business
1. Higher Employee Morale
Staff members who have the choice to make whether they want to work at home or the office, have a positive attitude and feel more loyal to their current company. As a result, a hybrid working paradigm can aid in the development of long-term employee loyalty. Employees believe their boss believes in them and is concerned about their work-life balance.
Employers who are hesitant to offer such collaborative possibilities, on the other hand, are more prone to losing skilled, knowledgeable, and diligent staff to companies that do enable them to spend at least some work days outside of the building, as we've seen.
2. Lower Staff Turnover
Employee retention can also benefit from a hybrid workplace strategy. Employers may incur costs as a result of high worker turnover, as they must waste thousands on finding and training replacement employees (productivity of the firm may also slow down as it takes new employees to warm up and catch up to the firm’s production pace).
Workers that are given the option between working online or at the workplace, tend to stay with the company for a longer period than those that do not have a choice. This is because they have greater flexibility to choose their own work-life balance, altering the entire work environment and removing one more motivation for employees to start looking for another job.
3. Reduced Costs
One of the most significant advantages of a hybrid workplace is that it may allow companies to reduce their real estate costs.
Rents go up, particularly in big cities where office space is in high demand. You need a lot of space to accommodate your complete team when they're in the workplace every day of the week. A suggestion to this would be office hoteling. This enables employees to book workspace for whatever purpose they need. Booking in advance and signing into a concierge for a desk is similar to booking a hotel room.
You can manage things such that the company as a whole requires less workspace if a portion of the employees works elsewhere some days. Meeting and conference rooms are also included. This is because not everyone in the crew should be using the office simultaneously, so it provides a more flexible workspace.
4. A Wider Pool of Talent to Recruit From
Companies can hire from a larger pool of people, ranging from HR specialists to web engineers, with a hybrid workplace. As previously said, many employees prefer workplace flexibility and search for it in job descriptions when applying. Hiring groups are also no longer constrained by the requirement to physically travel.
Commuting may be exhausting, taking up hours of the day and resulting in employees feeling exhausted by the time that they arrive. However, one or two days per week is far more practical.
5. Healthier Company Culture
Businesses that give their employees more flexibility and freedom generally discover that their general organizational culture in hybrid workplace improves dramatically. This is due to employees' perceptions that their boss believes in them to do their jobs without looking over their shoulders all day. This has the potential to improve the entire business environment, not just for virtual employees.
How to Make a New Office Culture Suitable for a Hybrid Workplace
Proximity is one of the most essential characteristics of a connection in the hybrid workplace. The folks we see so much and engage with the most appear to become our closest friends. We go through their highs and lows, and we know what’s happening in their lives. All of this helps to foster empathy and a sense of belonging. Proximity, on the other hand, is a matter of perspective. Real proximity - people we meet and converse with face-to-face - is the most potent proximity. However, it can also be felt - even when we do not come into contact very often - and it can be assisted through an online connection.
Managers who desire to be sympathetic to their employees' needs or challenges may go too far in offering "room" for them to sort out their problems. While empathy and compassion are important, people must also be held responsible for their actions. Accountability is essential for a successful culture in hybrid workplace because it reminds workers that their work counts and that it is critical to the organization's growth.
If the purpose is the bigger picture of why things are important, accountability is the method that explains why the effort is important. Effective hybrid work cultures must ensure that employees work efficiently.
Fairness in the hybrid workplace is a topic that is closely tied to accountability. People can soon feel unmotivated if they do not feel a sense of fairness and justice. When you're raising a hybrid model, this relationship is very crucial. When workers aren't in the workplace, they may miss out on the chance to learn about the company's activities.
In a hybrid office concept, building a culture in hybrid workplace may necessitate more communication about how work leads to fair and equal outcomes. It's also crucial to make sure you're not mistakenly creating "haves" and "have nots."
Be Flexible but Consistent
Everyone in your firm must see each other in person on a regular basis. Supervisors cannot be expected to understand the whole nature of these connections, which are made up of cross-team partnerships, colleagues, and mentors. Create structure by assigning different teams to different days of the week but give workers authority over where they work beyond those guidelines.
Attempt to keep the same assigned days from week to week to avoid misunderstandings. Promote but don't require team members to work from the workplace on "non-allocated" days.
Prioritize Mental Health
Because most of us had little physical human contact during the pandemic, it's critical to consider psychological health as we return to work. Employees are increasingly expecting health coverage that addresses these issues, and HR managers should be keen to implement policies in the hybrid workplace that improve social contact or mental wellness.
Acknowledge the Productivity Gains of Remote Work
Blanket policies, hybrid workplace strategy, rigid scheduling, and unequal space utilization can soon suffocate hybrid working's efficiency gains. Increase productivity by ensuring that the best mixture of personnel is present in the office at any given time, as well as creating a culture in hybrid workplace that considers remote work arrangement as a viable option for jobs that can be completed quickly at home.
Employees should be rewarded for performance and quality rather than involvement, and they should have the freedom to choose how to accomplish this in the hybrid workplace.
Potential Downsides of Hybrid Workplace Model
1. Remote Workers May Feel Excluded
It's also crucial to keep in mind that virtual teammates may feel as if they're being kept in the dark about what's going on at the hybrid workplace. This includes not only in-person discussions and ordinary office talk but also other small advantages of the job, such as team excursions and birthday celebrations.
It can add to employee alienation if they spend the majority of their time away from the office. When an employee feels cut off from their coworkers, it might lead to problems. Employers must be aware of this and take action to address it.
2. Less Social Activity
Remote workers are also less likely to have a life outside of work with their coworkers. This is a significant issue for workers, and it should not be disregarded. This type of social engagement is critical in fostering teamwork and enthusiasm.
Clearly, when certain employees work from home, it's not as easy to decide to go to a bar or someone’s house after work at the spur of the moment. As a result, employees should make an attempt to organize plans ahead of time when everyone is accessible.
3. Collaboration Can Be Challenging
In order to keep team members in close contact when they are working from home or in a hybrid workplace, in different areas, they should all make an effort to keep in contact.
It is difficult for people who are dispersed between their homes and offices to just book a time during the day to meet up in the conference room and brainstorm. Therefore, efficient contact and communication are vital.
4. Communication Takes Work
Similarly, when hybrid working arrangements are in place, communication might be difficult as a whole. There are a variety of software applications and teleconferencing apps available to assist you in your hybrid workplace, but it takes a great amount of dedication to keep everyone informed.
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