We’ve recently experienced a monumental shift in the way we work, with more people working remotely and realising the importance of upholding a good work/life balance. This means organisations have had to change their position too, offering a new type of workplace that fits with the expectations of their current and prospective employees.
As such, the term ‘hybrid working’ and the notion of hybrid workplaces have become what many believe is the future of work. In fact, 41% of employers in the UK will have adopted hybrid working by 2023. But does hybrid working come at the cost of workplace culture?
In this blog, we’ll discuss how you can ensure your hybrid workplace builds and maintains a positive culture that suits your organisational goals and your employee’s needs.
What is hybrid working?
Hybrid working typically refers to a flexible working model where employees can work from a variety of different locations to suit their requirements. For example, an employee might work two days in their company’s office space and three days from their home or alternative workspace; like a hot desk. It isn’t just about hybrid remote working as many companies also incorporate flexible working hours into their policies, enabling employees to choose their hours and work when they’re most productive.
What is a hybrid workplace?
A hybrid workplace goes hand-in-hand with a hybrid working policy but is not necessarily a physical location. A hybrid workplace is most often defined as a flexible workplace model that supports a distributed workforce, comprising both in-office and remote workers.
The hybrid workplace offers optimal flexibility for both employees and employers. This means that employees can choose whether they want to work in a private office space or from home. Employees can choose where they work. They may feel more productive in a collaborative environment like a coworking space. This is great for employers, boosting productivity and ensuring staff members are content with their workplace.
What is office culture?
The term office culture is often used interchangeably with company culture but usually refers to the way your business operates and conducts itself in the office. Company culture, however, is the personality of your business. Everything that makes you different is your culture, from your company values and traditions to attitudes and behaviours.
Why company culture is important
Company culture is important for all organisations, but especially those that have moved to a hybrid workplace. Employees are the backbone of the majority of businesses and without a clear company culture, it can be difficult for workers to resonate with the company goals and values.
Establishing a culture within your company is important and should be high on the agenda for new businesses and those shifting to a hybrid model, for a myriad of reasons. For example, 92% of successful business leaders believe that workplace culture and financial performance are closely related.
Here are a few other reasons why company culture is important:
Productivity and performance
You don’t need to be an expert to know that a strong culture meeting the needs of employees makes for happier workers. While you might not think happiness directly links to performance, studies have shown that happier employees are 12% more productive. Ensuring you have a culture that workers can be proud of can significantly impact business performance and your bottom line.
Engagement and motivation
With a strong culture, employees are more likely to understand what is expected of them and what their work is contributing towards. Simply understanding the company’s long term vision as part of the culture can help ensure workers feel connected to the company and therefore motivated to achieve their goals. One study found that a strongly engaged workplace culture made 77% of employees do their best work.
The importance of company culture should never be underestimated, especially when considering recruitment. 77% of workers in the UK, US, France and Germany placed company culture above salary when it came to factors contributing to their satisfaction at work. Using culture to differentiate you from your competitors is a great way to ensure you attract the best talent.
Building a hybrid work culture
It’s one thing to understand the importance of workplace culture and how it impacts business performance, but building a company culture can be difficult, especially in a hybrid workplace. The good news is that by offering a hybrid working policy, you’ve already gone some way in ensuring you have a company culture that resonates with the needs of today’s workers.
Here are some more ways to build and maintain a positive company culture in a hybrid workplace.
Maintain an office space
An essential part of hybrid working is ensuring employees have the option to work from the main company office when they want/need to. If you don’t maintain common ground in the form of office space for your workers, you’re not operating a hybrid working policy, which can damage your culture.
Suppose you’ve always owned or leased a building when you had a traditional workplace. In that case, it might be too costly to continue operating this building with only a handful of employees in the office at any given time. But don’t be tempted to give up on office space completely.
Looking at an office for rent with options such as shared offices or coworking spaces is an ideal alternative. Many offer flexible memberships that allow you to simply pay for what you’re using. This is great if your workers are happy to hot desk in the office and enables you to continue with the culture you’ve built up from your traditional office space.
RELATED: A Beginner’s Guide to Hot Desking
Encourage more communication
Communication is vital for maintaining culture in a hybrid workplace, ensuring your in-office and distributed teams can communicate and collaborate effectively. Employees can easily feel disconnected from their colleagues when they’re not sitting close to them, potentially damaging well-being and productivity.
You should actively encourage your teams to keep in touch with one another, whether they’re working in the office or remotely. You can do this via video calls to bridge the distance gap with remote workers. A study by Lifesize found that 89% of users said video conferencing with their teams helped them feel more connected. When your employees are in the office, you could arrange short meetings that allow teams to catch up and ensure they’re working towards the same common goal.
While technology is essential for ensuring hybrid workplaces foster productivity and enable employees to complete their work and collaborate effectively, it can also be used to build and maintain your company culture.
You can use technology to ensure the company culture and values are regularly communicated and visible to employees, whether through company intranet systems, internal communication platforms or good old-fashioned email! Internal communication platforms are particularly good for enforcing culture and giving employees a space to collaborate with their colleagues easily.
Catch up when you can
If you’ve always scheduled catch-ups or had impromptu meetings with your teams in the office, it can be difficult to continue this practice when your employees are working from multiple locations. To maintain a culture of collaboration and openness, it’s important to schedule regular catch-ups, whether in the company office or via video call.
Regular meetings with individuals and larger groups ensure everyone feels supported and connected to the wider company culture. But you don’t just need to schedule meetings to talk about work; putting a Monday morning meeting in to catch up on everyone’s weekend is also a great way to maintain culture. Many positive cultures thrive because employees feel comfortable enough to talk openly about both their professional and personal lives.
Whether you’re considering a move to a hybrid workplace or already doing so, be sure to keep your culture front of mind in everything you do. To learn more about how Easy Offices can help you maintain your culture in a shared office space, browse our office space for rent and contact our team of experts.