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6 Steps to Create a Thriving Hybrid Culture

Wednesday March 20, 2024

A group of employees sitting in an office conversing with several remote employees in a hybrid work culture

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the way many companies work. While work-from-home arrangements existed before the pandemic, they accelerated the change and forced leaders to experiment with new working environments.

One of the most popular work arrangements that many companies adopted is hybrid work.

Here’s an overview of hybrid work culture, its pros and cons, and 6 steps to establish it successfully in your office.

What Is Hybrid Work Culture?

Hybrid work combines in-person and remote work. Some companies allow employees to choose which days they want to work remotely while others create a schedule that employees must follow.

With remote work, employers focus more on how to improve communication and provide support for one type of employee. However, with a hybrid culture, employers need to better understand how to balance remote and in-office work.


Challenges of Hybrid Culture

Hybrid culture does have its challenges. The main area for improvement is the need for management to figure out how to balance two working cultures at the same time and how to connect with employees.

Traditional in-office management techniques won’t work the same with a hybrid culture, and it takes a new way of thinking. Additional challenges include:

  • Difficulty communicating: Communication can pose a significant challenge for hybrid workers, especially when some people are in the office and others are remote. Combining virtual technology with in-person interaction can easily lead to communication roadblocks.
  • Loss of team coordination: In a hybrid environment, “faultlines” can easily emerge between in-person and remote employees. The additional effort required to coordinate with remote team members can easily result in them being left out of day-to-day decisions.
  • Diminished team connection: When teams aren’t physically in the same location, it can be hard for them to bond and work together. In addition, employees often enjoy having office friends to talk to during lunch or on breaks, and a hybrid culture can make that more difficult.

These weaknesses don’t have to hold your company back though. Each one can be combated with the right techniques and planning.

Benefits of Hybrid Culture

Despite the associated challenges, hybrid work can be incredibly effective. There are so many advantages to incorporating a hybrid culture into your business.

These are some of the main strengths of hybrid culture:

  • Prioritization of employees: A hybrid workplace allows employees more control and flexibility, which helps employees feel prioritized and appreciated as people.
  • Potential for increased retention: Many employees appreciate the flexibility and control a hybrid culture offers, and they search for companies that offer that—and then stay at that company.
  • More hiring opportunities: Hybrid work opens the opportunity for hiring talent wherever you want and allows some employees to remain mostly remote. If your company could benefit from international employees or a wider hiring net, a hybrid culture can help make that possible.

To maximize these benefits and minimize the drawbacks, it’s important to address the inherent challenges of hybrid work proactively. Below are six steps to accomplish this.

6 Steps to Create a Thriving Hybrid Culture

Hybrid culture offers benefits for both employees and employers. But because it comes with challenges, there are certain steps you should take to help create a strong and thriving hybrid culture.

We’ve gathered six key steps that can help you create the hybrid culture your company needs.

1. Retain the Social Element

A hybrid culture doesn’t mean teams can’t be cohesive.

Companies need to make sure they’re retaining the social element as they shift into a hybrid work environment.

Team-building can play a key role. Bonding activities help employees build connection and work together effectively.

These activities can be done in a hybrid environment very easily with modern technology. For example, Teamraderie experiences are designed to fit any working arrangement, whether hybrid, onsite, or fully remote.

The key with social activities is that they must be designed in a way that provides full access for those employees who are remote that day. If activities are planned to give remote employees the full experience, those in the office will also have an excellent experience, and no one will get left behind.

2. Encourage Cross-Functional Collaboration and Cooperation

Community doesn’t just happen within one team. In a traditional workplace, it’s fairly easy for teams to work together.

While it may not be as intuitive with hybrid work, cross-functional or interdepartmental work can be another great way to build community and help hybrid culture work well in your company.

Typically, cross-functional collaboration doesn’t happen on its own, and the management team will need to actively encourage collaboration.

One great way to create collaboration and cooperation is to hold activities together. Retaining the social element of a company can spread across departments and allow more people to come together in new ways—even without being in the office space.

Another way is to create projects that require cooperation and collaboration and provide ways for the employees to meet and work together with the technology available.

3. Share Values

Company values create common ground for work. Updating and keeping them visible helps employees share them.

In a study by McKinsey & Company, researchers found that companies with meaningful values as a part of their management strategy were more likely to maintain a healthy work culture during the pandemic.

Most pandemic work cultures include some aspect of remote work, so sharing values continues to be important when there’s any level of remote work—like with a hybrid culture.

4. Make Communication Boundaries Clear

Communication is key in a hybrid culture. But your communication system should be designed with remote-first communication in mind. Communication systems that allow remote employees to be just as in the loop as in-office employees will help set your hybrid culture up for success.

But even with a great communication system, your team will still need to set up communication boundaries. It can be hard to maintain a healthy work-life balance with work communication happening at all times.

Make management’s communication boundaries clear to employees and help them set up the boundaries that adequately allow them to work but help them maintain balance.

For example, you could make it clear that nobody is expected to respond to emails or other communications after 5 pm, and you could make it clear that they’re expected to respond during the work day.

Boundaries and expectations—with remote-first communication in place—can help your hybrid culture flourish.

5. Provide Tools for Employees to Succeed

Some employees have experience with hybrid workplaces while others won’t. No matter the experience or how long your company has been integrating hybrid culture, it’s important that employees have the tools they need to succeed.

You’ll need to find digital tools for the following:

  • Group messaging and communication
  • Virtual meetings
  • A document repository and document collaboration
  • Project management

According to a Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, you should strive to select the minimum number of tools needed to accomplish your goals. This will help optimize efficiency while not overwhelming your team.

6. Strive for Continuous Improvement

No matter how well you design your hybrid culture, there will always be room for improvement. Designing your workplace to continually aim for better will help your team always be on the lookout for what can be improved and when.

To create a workplace that’s continuously improving, it’s important to focus on your company’s:

  • Culture
  • Strategies
  • Communication
  • And more

Instead of stressing to get the perfect hybrid model in place immediately, begin where your team is and continue to aim for better as you go.

Companies that are prepared to be flexible and improve will be able to have a stronger hybrid workplace culture.

How Teamraderie Can Help

Here at Teamraderie, our experiences are designed to be accessible by both in-office and remote employees, whether local or global. These experiences are designed to help improve the hybrid culture at your company.

Overall, hybrid work is likely to continue and expand. A robust and healthy hybrid culture offers employees flexibility like never before—while boosting productivity, retention, and hiring opportunities.

Essentially, a strong hybrid model helps your employees feel appreciated and understood, and it can help improve the way your company performs.

But thriving hybrid cultures don’t happen by accident. Following these 6 steps and incorporating Teamraderie experiences into your culture can help you create the hybrid culture your team needs. Explore Teamraderie experiences today to start building your hybrid team culture and community.

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