A healthy and robust company culture is the cornerstone of a strong business. Employees enjoy higher levels of well-being and engagement and perform better when they feel linked to the organizational mission, its goals, and the team. Developing a strong culture has long been a priority but has recently also been a concern. The dispersed workforce enabled by hybrid and remote work has created issues, and some companies are struggling to sustain strong cultural principles when people are coming together less often.
This article will dive deeper into culture building in an era of hybrid work. We will discuss the effects of remote and hybrid work on company culture, the risks of a fragmented culture and how to help strengthen company culture in a hybrid office environment.
What is company culture?
A company’s culture can be viewed as its shared ethos. It is how people feel about the work they do, the values they consider important, where they see the company headed and what they are doing to get there. Company culture should imbue every employee, from the CEO to the summer intern, making staff feel connected and accepted. Corporate culture can be sensed from the top down and influences everything from high-level business decisions to talent acquisition and retention to the atmosphere in the conference room.
Effects of hybrid and remote work on company culture
The human need for connection, ranking third on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is neither given nor guaranteed. Individuals used to create meaningful connections at work and elsewhere in society, but several factors have made it difficult for people to come together in recent years. How we work is ever-changing, with remote and hybrid work becoming the norm. As these working modes have become more widespread, we are beginning to recognize the repercussions of a dispersed workforce and its magnifying feeling of isolation. Although hybrid and remote work have provided employees with much-needed flexibility and other benefits, it has also negatively influenced connection and culture building.
A dispersed workforce makes it more difficult for businesses to build a strong culture since culture fades when individuals are not actively coming together. Furthermore, connections are diminished, and it is more difficult for staff to create meaningful relationships when most interactions are done online. In a hybrid workplace, people may communicate less with people outside their departments, influencing the broader organizational culture. The Global Culture 2022 study from employee recognition solutions company OC Tanner offers data indicating a correlation between positive work relationships and successful business objectives. According to the report, employees are five times more satisfied with their work experience and corporate culture when they have a solid connection with one another. Therefore, it is critical now more than ever for companies to work on building and strengthening their culture.
“There is a correlation between positive work relationships and successful business objectives”
How to strengthen company culture in a hybrid workplace
1. Bring staff together: schedule social events.
One crucial factor in building culture is bringing the team together. In a hybrid office, staff can miss out on coming together as a whole team because not everyone comes into the office at the same time. Bringing the team together for social events allows employees to create more personal relationships. When conversations and interactions are heavily business-related, employees’ capacity to engage with the team on a more fundamental level is restricted. Individuals will be less hesitant to communicate and collaborate with colleagues when surface-level connections occur. Therefore, full-team social events help break down barriers between departments, allowing employees to interact with people they may not have direct contact with. Furthermore, events can also serve as a way for companies to thank their employees, ensuring everyone feels valued and appreciated. When activities are developed and scheduled to break employees out of their routine, it may help them recharge and reset, preparing them for success.
Social events for staff:
- Scheduled team strolls around the neighbourhood.
- Team bonding games and exercises.
- Creative activities for holidays (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day).
- Volunteer and fundraising initiatives.
- Team days, including weekly team huddles, monthly town halls, and quarterly team outings.
- In-house or facilitated educational workshops.
2.Unify the team with a strong company vision and values.
A solid organizational culture maintains the company’s essential principles at the forefront of all day-to-day activities and organizational structure. A company’s culture consists of numerous crucial components, from its work environment to its value and vision. As a result, establishing a strong culture in a hybrid office requires ensuring that your firm has a well-defined vision and strong core values. Take time to think about the company, its goals, vision, mission, and what makes it different than others in the industry. Take time to discuss with the leadership team and discuss with staff members to get a sense of what is essential to everyone. Once you have established all the necessary components, you can ensure a clear alignment between the company’s culture and its vision and values. If a firm’s values do not align with its culture or are not reflected, it can have a negative impact on team performance and associations with the organization.
How can office design help reflect vision and values?
Finding creative ways to highlight your company’s vision and values through office design can aid in talent attraction and retention while increasing workplace productivity by uniting the team around a common purpose. Aura was able to help space that reflected who they are: inclusive, connected, inspiring, and modern. Although no explicit logos or signage states these values, they can be felt throughout the space through subtle design details. Distinct colours, shapes, patterns, and textures can be utilized to create a strong identity relating to the company’s core values and vision. Having an office design that places importance on unifying the team through its visual identity allows staff to feel more connected to the company, its mission, and its goals.
Encourage cross-departmental connections.
Research suggests a link between close working relationships and high organizational performance. The State of the American Workplace report found that employees who have a solid connection to people on their team are motivated to take positive actions that they might not otherwise consider, which benefits the organization. When employees feel connected, they will subconsciously go about and beyond because there is a sense of commitment to helping others. Furthermore, meaningful relationships beyond a single team encourage greater company-wide connection, which is incredibly important in a hybrid workplace. When employees’ main form of contact is through technology, there may be less urgency to reach out to coworkers outside of their team.
To encourage cross-departmental connections, companies can:
- Use technology to encourage social channels for staff to chat and host small group lunches, social hours, and other casual areas that may imitate the “water cooler” in the workplace regardless of work location.
- Have dedicated full-team chats where staff can give shoutouts and recognize their peers.
- Go beyond the day-to-day with your team. Normalize team-building activities and experiences so employees may leave work behind and spend a few minutes on non-work-related activities to get to know each other and their teams via casual chats and just having fun.
As flexible working models continue to rise in popularity, it is fair to say that hybrid work is here to stay. Workplaces must adapt and alter to mitigate the disadvantages of remote and hybrid work models and improve collaboration, connectivity, employee productivity, morale, and overall business operations. Furthermore, this new normal necessitates new workplace structures and methods to be put in place. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you in transforming your hybrid workplace.