As pandemic conditions ease, companies that are ready to transition workers to a hybrid environment face new challenges. This “new normal” requires companies to create balance, productivity, and continuity while also fostering a strong culture that supports hybrid work. The hybrid model can be divisive if poorly executed, but fairness can also get in the way of ensuring productivity.
Here are some ways you can satisfy all objectives and set up your hybrid work culture for success:
Set Communication Expectations
Communication is a two-way street. Remote teams can often feel left out of the loop of company announcements or the goings-on around the office. Likewise, on-site workers can feel like their remote teammates are distanced since they don’t always have the advantage of real-time conversations.
Overcome the challenges of both sides by setting communication expectations up front. Let your remote team know how often to check in and whether they’re required to dial into meetings. Make it easy for office workers to get in touch with them during regular business hours. Also, make it a point to send out a newsletter with timely information so that all team members can stay in the loop.
Offer Comparable Amenities to All Workers
There are tradeoffs to working remotely. For starters, remote workers incur higher costs because they have to furnish their own office equipment, technology, and “office” bills. Also, they don’t get to take advantage of in-office perks like free coffee, the company gym, To make it fair, consider offering a stipend to help cover some of these costs.
Mix Up Your Teams to Build Social Capital
Bringing in remote workers creates social challenges for remote workers and in-office employees alike. Teams need to get to know each other to build trust, camaraderie, and relationships (the foundation of social capital). A lack of social capital can prevent team members from feeling engaged, sharing ideas, or motivating others.
One way to foster social capital growth is to add remote workers to each of your teams, or better yet, rotate some of your remote workers between teams so they can get to know more people. This helps remote workers to build their networks within the office, gain cross-functional insights, and make them feel integrated in your company.
Find Fun Ways to Bridge the Gap
Integrating your remote and on-site teams doesn’t always have to take the form of a Zoom meeting. Consider fun ways to connect your employees. For example, if you have local employees that work remotely, a company outing might make sense. Or, you can invite your remote workers to your office for a seminar, training, or workshop and let them meet the in-house team. If you have an awards day or celebration, let your remote team dial in remotely and take part in the fun. Inclusivity is key for a hybrid work culture!
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