After more than a year working from home, many workplace leaders are ready for the return to office. Many are looking to accommodate a hybrid work environment as they weigh safety guidelines and employee comfort. However, with 38% of employees struggling with burnout due to the pandemic and others feeling anxious returning to in-person situations, establishing an engaged company culture is a top priority but can be a challenge for the new model.
Managers seeking to support hybrid work will need to create an equitable environment for those in-person and those working from home, so all employees feel involved, listened to, and valued, especially at this time of transition.
Read on for ideas to help foster company culture in a hybrid work environment.
Why is community cohesion important in a hybrid environment?
Overall, companies that fostered rich company culture had better employee morale along with productivity. And happier teams attract more talent and can positively impact a company’s revenue by 33%.
That all being said, cohesive company culture in a traditional office relied on proximity with coworkers to create an inherent sense of purpose and connection for teams. But with employees looking forward to working more flexibly, a company’s sense of purpose and community needs to resonate past the walls of the office.
Keep Everyone in the Loop
It sounds straightforward but with your team flexibly in and out of the office, it’s important to keep everyone in the know. Maintaining fairness across those in office versus those working remote means keeping everyone updated on opportunities or goings-on in the company or even with the team. No one wants to feel out of the loop or disconnected, and posting information in a central location in-office and online will ensure employees have several go-to spaces to reference.
On Cooleaf, the home page hosts a traditional social feed but managers can use the ‘Create a Post’ function to make the feed a cyber bulletin board. Format the post how you want and link out what you need. Adding flyers, images, or even using the Gif library will make it stand out. Teams will also receive an email notification or see the post if your Cooleaf’s integrated with Microsoft Teams or Slack.
Encourage coffee dates
Opportunities for workplace friendships happen naturally in office. It’s easier to strike up a conversation with a coworker when you’re desk neighbors or if you run into someone at the coffee maker. But with teammates working from home throughout the week, having those social interactions can be harder to come by.
Managers can encourage coffee dates on their teams both virtually over Zoom or in-person so teammates can coordinate when they’d be in office. Challenge each of your employees to schedule one for the week to meet someone new or just to catch up. Apps like Donut on Slack can randomly assign coworkers. And on the Cooleaf platform, we ask participants to share a coffee chat selfie and fun facts they learned about their teammate too.
Host dual in-person and virtual events
Whether you’re hosting a meeting or planning a fun event, look for ways to create an equitable experience.
In meetings, make sure cameras and microphones are set correctly or check out devices like the Meeting Owl which capture all of the faces and voices around the table. And be sure to engage remote team members along with those employees sitting together in the office.
For team-building activities, try a cooking class or a group workout and include remote employees by offering a live stream so they can tune in from home. Health and wellness activities are also popular and help engagement, so encourage some healthy competition, both figuratively and literally, with a step challenge or meditation challenge.
Take routine pulse surveys to measure sentiment
Many teams and offices are experiencing the hybrid model for the first time, so it’s expected to have a transitional period as employees and managers find the right rhythm.
Stay on top of workplace sentiment with routine pulse surveys for employees and managers. Employees who feel like they’re being heard are four times more likely to do their best work and as teams adapt to the new model, it’s important to gather constant feedback and implement change as needed.
Celebrate wins publicly and encourage recognitions
Recognition goes a long way for the employee and for the team at large. Not only does it feel great to receive public recognition for your hard work and efforts, but it allows other teams to see progress on projects and goals.
On the Cooleaf platform, managers or peers can issue recognitions on the main feed and team members can chime in with comments, emojis, and gifs to bring the party and celebrate too, no matter where they’re working that day.
Want to learn more about how to improve the employee experience in your hybrid team through pulse surveys, staff recognition, and virtual challenges? Chat with us!