Overcoming the challenges of managing hybrid workplace culture

by Alessia Ghiandoni | Mar 24, 2022

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With the rise of the new coronavirus, the entire planet has had to face a situation never seen before. People could not leave the house, meet one another or commute to work. However, thanks to modern technologies it has been possible for many companies to avoid total closure pushing the workforce to work remotely. Before February 2020 only 6% of workers worked from home, but since May 2020 this number has increased by about 30% (taking into account the entire workforce) (ncci.com)

From the start of 2021 to date, the number of remote workers has progressively decreased, thanks to the spread of vaccines which has allowed us to return partially to the office, by adopting a hybrid working model.

What is a hybrid workplace?

Not only does it help implement a more efficient workflow, but this idea of creating a hybrid workplace is some might say the future of how organisations will function in the long run for agile and resilient workplaces. 

The obsolete way of working is now being replaced by this method in which employers mix in-office and remote work.

The benefits of employee satisfaction are huge: 

  • Improved wellbeing
  • Improved productivity 
  • Hiring employees from anywhere, in many different locations
  • Improved flexibility and support

Those are just a few of the benefits that hybrid work gives to individuals, as well as for organisations and the environment.

Although there are many benefits to hybrid workplaces, why is managing culture in hybrid workplaces difficult? 

  • First of all, it is not suitable for every job or sector; it is best suited to employees that have computer-based roles and that don’t need on-site performance. 
  • Besides, it’s not an always-winning formula for those organisations that are not performing well and it’s definitely not simple to implement on a large scale. Today’s hybrid work model must be intelligently deployed, using modern HR tools to facilitate connection, collaboration, and employee engagement.
  • It is important to know how to strategically implement this new business model. Otherwise, if applied within a company without being developed ad hoc, it can result in difficulties for both employees and employers.
  • Another hybrid workplace challenge is that it could affect collaboration and teamwork. There are definitely tasks that are performed much better in the office with in-person face-to-face interactions which, if performed remotely, may not have the same results and the same quality.
  • Lastly, mental wellbeing may be affected by employee isolation and disconnection in a hybrid working environment. In 2021, we experienced a lack of mental wellbeing because we were isolated in our houses, working from home with little to no separation between private life and work life. This brought employees to feel overwhelmed by their jobs, feeling disconnected, working too many hours with no interaction with others.

What is the solution?

There is no one-size fits all when it comes to a hybrid workplace solution, because every company is different. What we’ve found here at There Be Giants is first working out the main challenges of remote working for your organisation and creating a solid plan.  

How can we overcome the challenges of managing a hybrid workplace culture? Well, here at There Be Giants we gave the spotlight to a few key points for you to keep in mind if you are managing this hybrid working model or if you are wondering if you want to carry on working this way, even though it is not mandatory any more.

Best practices when managing an effective hybrid workplace model include:

  • Communication, communication, communication: Keep everyone equally informed. Clearly communicate all updates and directives to both remote and in-office employees at the same time and in the same format, to avoid disparities, silos, and knowledge loss. Developing hybrid communication best practices that are tailored to the needs of your team. Invite everyone on your team to contribute to the creation of a communications policy by asking for their favourite form of communication in a variety of situations.
  • Choose the right tools, technology, and equipment: providing safe and healthy work from the home office, such as large monitors, supportive desk chairs, and standing desks. More importantly: Invest in a software platform that combines synchronous and asynchronous communication capabilities into a single, easy-to-use centre. As a result, happier and more productive employees! 
  • Reign of culture: put effort into creating a healthy culture. Engage with your employees, get their feedback through listening tools or learning sessions or whatever might suit yours and their preferences. This can include holding regular team check-ins and making meetings as inclusive as possible so that no one is left out of big decisions or updates. 
  • Offering continuous education opportunities for employees and managers alike to improve employee performance: Offer great learning content in a variety of modalities to meet diverse needs and offer a way to track their performance goals. 

Summing it up

Navigating how the hybrid workplace works for your business is about building connections, developing hybrid work guidelines, maintaining a remote-compatible culture, and keeping staff effectively engaged whether from home or in the office are all critical to the success of any hybrid workforce. 

The sooner these workplace communication issues are solved, the faster your company can maximise the efficiency of a hybrid work environment.

If you’re looking for support in managing your hybrid workplace culture, Get in touch with our team of experts, we’re always happy to chat.