What Is a Hybrid Culture?

July 13, 2022
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What Is a Hybrid Culture?
Jacquelyn Wong
July 13, 2022

A new Gallup survey found that 91% of remote-capable employees—those who can conduct their job responsibilities remotely, even part-time—prefer to work exclusively remote or hybrid.1 When companies transition from fully remote or in-person work to hybrid, their office environment, reporting structure, and operating procedures are all subject to change at the discretion of the employees. Company culture is at the root of this challenge and is responsible for more than you might think.

Research from MIT Sloan identified toxic corporate culture as the strongest predictor of employee attrition—10.4 times more likely to contribute to attrition than compensation.2 Leaders have to ask if their company has prepared a comprehensive, sustainable company culture and if their company’s culture can withstand a shift to the hybrid work model.

So, what is a hybrid culture? Today, we’ll take a deeper look into the foundations that help sustain company culture in a hybrid work model.

What Is Company Culture?

Company culture is made up of the shared attitudes, behaviors, and values of an organization. It’s expressed through cultural norms and aligned with employees’ values. These cultural norms are the explicit and underwritten guidelines that determine “right” and “wrong” in an organization. Shared experiences, performance expectations, and corporate culture reflect these norms.

So, what makes company culture so important? Strong company culture doesn’t only help lower attrition rates and improve employee performance, but it can boost revenue as much as four times over.3 While C-suite executives determine strategy and plan the future of their organizations, employees determine their organization’s culture.

How to Sustain Company Culture in a Hybrid Work Model

Five people sitting at a table and working from their laptops in office

It takes significant attention and effort to develop and sustain a company culture. And it takes even more attention and effort to adapt your current company culture to a hybrid work model. To help you adapt your company culture, we’ve identified four key elements of strong hybrid culture.

1. Asynchronous Communication

Synchronous communication works best when everyone is in the office at the same time. However, hybrid companies must employ asynchronous communication to engage employees spread between fully remote and in-office attendance. To replace synchronous communication opportunities, such as an all-hands meeting or a 9 a.m. sync, hybrid offices may explore asynchronous communication methods like morning chat messages, emails, or pre-recorded town-halls with questions sent beforehand.

Tools for people-tracking and scheduling help facilitate this asynchronous communication style between hybrid employees. By updating your office’s hybrid technology and communication platforms, employees can benefit from the flexibility of asynchronous communication methods.

2. Individual Accountability

Positive company cultures succeed when managers and employees acknowledge the responsibilities associated with their jobs. In hybrid cultures, managers must ensure that employees have goals and strategies to attain them. The hybrid work environment is a challenging, dynamic place. You will need to establish consistent communication with hybrid and fully remote employees to maintain a high degree of inclusivity.

3. Work-Life Integration

A border collie lays next to an open MacBook Pro on a desk at home

Unlike work-life balance, work-life integration considers how an employee’s work and life may occur within the same space. During the pandemic, people made offices out of their kitchens and bathrooms. However, 54% of global employees feel overworked, and 20% report feeling that their employer doesn’t care about that fact.4 So, what’s an employer to do? Be flexible.

With so many employees working from home, it can be hard for employers to forge a connection by checking in on their employees’ well-being. Andrei Kurtuy, the Co-Founder & CCO at Novorésumé, had to adopt a hybrid work model during the pandemic. He explains, “To ensure the emotional well-being of my employees, I made it a point to conduct regular online sessions where people could talk about their struggles and find support from their teammates.” Instead of checking in with struggling employees in person, consider checking in with employees virtually on a more regular basis.

On top of check-ins, be flexible with your meeting standards. If an employee’s child needs support during a call, allow them 5 to 10 minutes to sort things out. If a dog or cat needs to be let out, no problem! Offer reassurance to your employee and let them know you understand their situation.

When working with a hybrid team, it’s impossible to set in-office standards for an at-home (or at-coffee-shop) environment. Allow your employees to integrate their work and home life to maximize comfort and familiarity between work, home, and the places in-between.

4. Equal Opportunity and Engagement

Hybrid culture requires management to establish and promote equal opportunities for all hybrid employees. Fully remote employees may feel left out of work events and promotional opportunities because of their location. Employees who feel disengaged from their work will struggle to contribute to team efforts and achieve personal goals.

To curb this issue, companies should provide remote employees with the same opportunities for engagement, career development, and personal growth that in-person employees enjoy. This task is not an easy one, but skilled managers can set clear expectations and create engaging work events to develop a strong hybrid culture.

Purpose-Built Tools to Sustain Your Hybrid Culture

To develop a sustainable hybrid culture, you’ll need the right tools to manage your dynamic office and employees. At OfficeTogether, we purposefully designed our hybrid office software to help companies adapt to the hybrid environment. Desk booking, health checks, event management, and pet tracking are just some of the features that our hybrid tool offers. We’re ready to help sustain your future as a hybrid workplace today!

Sources

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenam
  2. https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/toxic-culture-is-driving-the-great-resignation/ 
  3. https://cultureiq.com/blog/company-culture-employee-engagement-statistics/ 
  4. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/work-trend-index/hybrid-work
  5. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/352949/employee-engagement-holds-steady-first-half-2021.aspx

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