How to foster Connection in the Hybrid WorkplaceApr 27, 2023
In the hybrid workplace, more teams than ever before are working from different locations. Just because your team is scattered across different places doesn't mean you can't still foster social connection and collaboration. In fact, it's those very things that can make or break a hybrid workplace. In this final post of our hybrid workplace series, we're diving into how companies can connect their teams and it all starts with culture.
The values of your company define its identity and how it operates. They're a key ingredient in shaping the culture of your workplace. Even though your team may be working in new and different ways, it's crucial to stay true to those core values and find ways to translate them into actionable behaviours, both in and out of the office.
So, what does that look like in practice? Let's start by asking four key questions:
First ask, what are your organisation values?
An example value is curiosity.
What are the behaviours that demonstrate these values?
Companies that prioritise curiosity as a value create a culture of experimentation and learning, leading to innovative problem-solving. Curious individuals see failure as an opportunity to grow and explore new approaches.
How do your employees demonstrate these values in the office?
In the office, employees can demonstrate curiosity through collaboration and exploration. Team members can come together, bounce ideas off one another, and explore different approaches to solving problems.
How do your employees demonstrate these values working remotely?
Working remotely presents a unique opportunity for individuals to focus on deep work. With fewer interruptions and distractions, team members can dedicate more time to researching new topics and gaining a deeper understanding of their work.
By getting clear on the answers to these questions, you can ensure that your company's values are woven into the fabric of your hybrid workplace.
Communication & Collaboration
In a hybrid workplace, encouraging collaboration requires a conscious and deliberate effort. Communication and coordination can be challenging when employees are working from different locations, which is why building a culture of trust is so important. That means fostering openness, accountability, and transparency among employees. When everyone feels they can rely on their colleagues, regardless of whether they're working remotely or in person, trust is established and collaboration and communication flows naturally.
How to make communication and collaboration more effective:
- Set clear expectations: Establish clear guidelines and expectations for communication in a hybrid workplace. This could include
- How often team members should check in with each other,
- Which communication channels to use for different types of messages
- Expected response times.
- How to communicate clearly and professionally in virtual settings,
- How to use collaboration tools effectively
- How to handle difficult conversations remotely.
- Break through the Zoom Ceiling. Studies show that people working remotely are more likely to be looked over for a promotion/paid less than people in the office.
- Don't leave 55% of what you're communicating off the table. Words only make up 7% of what a person takes in with the remainder being linked to tone of voice at 38% and body language at 55%.
- Use your smile to spread joy! Share science on emotional contagions and how your brain doesn't care if you're smiling because you're faking it or truly joyous - it's going to pump serotonin as soon as it registers the muscle activity around your mouth.
Dealing with potential feelings of isolation and inequities in a hybrid workplace can be a tricky task, but there are strategies that can help companies and its leaders overcome these issues.
Firstly, fostering inclusivity and equity should be a top priority. To achieve this, companies can create a sense of belonging, engage with diverse perspectives and be transparent about decision-making processes.
- Encouraging employees to share their experiences
- Providing opportunities for feedback and suggestions
- Include diversity and inclusion training to promote a more inclusive workplace culture.
Secondly, flexible work arrangements can work wonders in reducing feelings of isolation and enhancing employee wellbeing. Offering options like flexible schedules, remote work, and job sharing can promote work-life balance and reduce burnout.
Thirdly, building strong relationships between employees is crucial in a hybrid workplace.
When remote: Companies can facilitate team building activities like virtual games, trivia contests and happy hours.
When in-person: Companies can organise team building events and social activities
Lastly, providing equal opportunities to both remote and in-person employees is vital. This includes access to resources, training, and opportunities. Companies can ensure that remote employees have the same equipment, like laptops and software, to enable them to perform their job effectively.
In the end, it comes down to recognizing that culture, connection, collaboration, and communication are the lifeblood of a successful hybrid workplace. By prioritising these things and taking concrete steps to foster them, companies can create a workplace that thrives no matter where their employees are located.
For more tips on connection visit Summer Land
For more tips on leadership visit Rob Horstman
Shockley-Zalabak, P., Ellis, K. M., & Winograd, G. (2008). Organizational trust: What it means, why it matters. Organization Development Journal, 26(4), 9-23.
Raza, S., & Standing, C. (2016). Building trust in virtual teams: A comparative study of leadership behaviours. International Journal of Information Management, 36(6), 877-889.
Zhang, X. M., & Zhang, X. (2014). Trust in virtual teams: A synthesis and research agenda. Journal of Applied Psychology, 99(6), 1250-1267.
Kerns, L. (2021). Strategies for Overcoming Remote Work Isolation and Fostering Connection. https://www.insperity.com/blog/strategies-for-overcoming-remote-work-isolation-and-fostering-connection/
SHRM. (2021). Hybrid Workplaces: Tips and Best Practices. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/hr-forms/pages/hybrid-workplaces-tips-and-best-practices.aspx