Hybrid Work Is Here to Stay: 7 Tips for Maintaining A Strong Company Culture & Preventing Burnout
By now, it’s clear that remote work is here to stay. This presents companies with new challenges as they navigate how best to structure and implement a longer-term hybrid work model and plan.
In an increasingly competitive market for candidates, where most employees are accustomed to working remotely at least some of the time, flexibility and adaptability are no longer a “nice-to-have”—they are a must-have for attracting and retaining the very best talent.
For example, Curriculum Associates, an educational technology and publishing company, has always had a strong remote workforce. Before the pandemic, more than half of their employees were remote employees, so they had a good foundation to build on. However, they will continue to adapt, learn, and change, whether it’s changing the technology, logistics, or their employees’ well-being.
If you are interested in implementing a similar plan, here are seven tips to help you develop your own hybrid work plan.
1) Don’t Wing It
Design your hybrid work plan thoughtfully and with intention. Curriculum Associates developed a plan built on the pillars of collaboration, consistency, and inclusivity, which are all central to their mission.
Consider and build a plan with your mission and values in mind. This will help keep employees engaged and feel that their voice matters.
2) Have Structure…
It’s critical that all employees feel included, seen, heard, and supported in their career goals. Including structure and clear expectations in your hybrid work plan can combat the perception that employees need to be physically in the office to be appreciated, developed, and promoted.
Create guidelines and a plan that considers the working style and needs of each team or department. Have teams follow the same schedules whether they are in the office space or working from home and encourage them to use the in-person time for collaborative and creative work.
Keep in mind that one size does not fit all, and some teams may have additional needs that you should address.
3) …But Be Flexible
A silver lining of the last two years is that we have all experienced the challenges of balancing work, life, and other stressors such as family, eldercare, self-care, childcare, financial stress, uncertainty, and health concerns.
Because the pandemic has affected everyone in such different ways, always have a Zoom option available for people who can’t be in the office, even when others can safely return.
Ensure that everyone has a voice at the table, even if the voice comes from behind a screen.
4) Expand Your Horizons
Supporting remote work options gives companies access to a wider, more diverse talent pool because they aren’t limited by location.
The ability for people to work for companies no matter where they live is a game-changer for organizations. This is especially true for organizations that work toward and commit to cultivating internal cultures that are more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
5) Consider the Needs of New Hires
One manager at Curriculum Associates sends her new members of the team a binder full of cheat sheets and helpful tips. This makes the new employees feel like they have some tangible resources to follow throughout the training and onboarding process.
The company focuses on making sure there is plenty of communication and many opportunities to meet other team members virtually, both as a large group and individually.
6) Don’t Forget About Team Bonding
Many business leaders at Curriculum Associates make sure to leave time for some fun during the day. Learning about each other makes your team feel connected and less lonely.
Take an occasional virtual game break or send fun polls to the team. Despite how busy work and life may get, it’s important to make time to get to know each other as human beings, and not just a collection of people who happen to work at the same place.
7) Balance is Key
The future of remote working is dynamic and ever-changing. Make sure you’re staying attuned to what’s working and where you can make changes and improvements to your plans.
For example, employees have enjoyed the flexibility to log off right after work and avoid the frustration of rush hour traffic to get home before dinner. The ability to quickly log on and log off gives employees added time to do other things they enjoy in their personal lives, and this kind of balance helps curb burnout and results in a happier, healthier workforce.
Discover More Tips to Navigate a Hybrid Work Environment
If structured well, hybrid arrangements promote flexibility and contribute to a positive work environment.
Of course, each organization will adapt plans based on the type of work and their unique company culture. Companies across the globe can build a forward-thinking plan, encourage empathy, and be kind to colleagues juggling multiple commitments so that their employees will feel supported and be clear on expectations.
Happier, healthier, and motivated employees unified by a single purpose can lead organizations to great success.
Sandra O’ Sullivan is Chief People Officer at Curriculum Associates.
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