Working from home was gaining popularity in the years leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic. As most businesses were then forced to operate remotely during pandemic lockdowns, many people who may not have considered working remotely before got to have a taste of all its benefits. Now, many companies and organizations are choosing to keep operating with a hybrid workforce as a permanent solution.
As leaders accept hybrid workforces as the new normal, they need to establish solid company cultures that revolve around working with in-office and remote teams simultaneously. Below, seven members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their thoughts on how to build a solid company culture with a hybrid workforce and talk about overcoming any challenges that leaders might face while doing so.
1. Highlight Values Through Storytelling And Sharing
Assuming a company has established clear core values, the next step includes highlighting those values to empower your staff. Every week I send a five to seven minute video highlighting each company value coupled with one specific staff member who is representing each value. I ask each staff member to nominate another staff member and share how they themselves have embodied one of our core values each week. My assistant creates a spreadsheet and I review feedback each week to tell an ongoing story and celebrate each other as we connect through the values. For example, last week my director of operations shared how she embodies our value of philanthropy by volunteering on Monday afternoons with her son to donate food. This storytelling and sharing helps build the community. – Libby Rothschild, Libby Rothschild
2. Include Remote Workers In Meetings And Catch-Ups
Remote working is likely here to stay, and some roles are, in fact, perfectly suited for this style of office setup. However, it can be concerning for those working outside the office that they will be “out of sight, out of mind.” This is why I think that it is important for leaders to create a work culture in which they make sure to include remote workers in meetings and office get-togethers as well as schedule regular catch-ups so that both management and remote workers can keep each other in the loop. Even if employees are working remotely, they serve an important function in the organization. So, keeping this in mind and making sure to always be inclusive as part of the new hybrid workplace culture will be key to a successful transition. – Maria Thimothy, OneIMS
3. Hire Those With High Emotional Intelligence
Given the circumstances we have at the moment, we need people who over-communicate, engage and connect wholeheartedly without any resentment. It is a must that we feel like we don’t have to put so much effort into communicating and connecting with each other. There are going to be standups, meetings and parties with games, but at the end of it all, high EQ is a must. – Daisy Jing, Banish
4. Carve Out Time To Create Nonwork Experiences
Carve out time to create nonwork experiences for your team, especially if that was a part of your company culture before moving to a hybrid or remote environment. On Fridays, we’ll wrap up work early and enjoy an office happy hour. We also make a point to have nonwork-related Slack channels where people can share exciting personal news, a great book they just read, a song they are loving, etc. In addition to creating these social experiences remotely, I also think it’s incredibly important to find a way to bring your team together in person once or twice a year. Typically, we plan our retreats toward the end of the year because the holidays are a bit slower in terms of workload and we can focus on vision and goal setting, but it also sets the tone for the company culture moving into the new year. – Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR
5. Encourage Collaboration Between Departments
To establish a solid company culture with both an in-office team and a remote team, it helps to encourage collaboration between departments and colleagues. This ensures that everyone is in communication with each other and working together to reach a specific goal. When colleagues are consistently communicating, it’s easier to reach goals and grow the business. It also helps to overcome challenges by tackling them as soon as they appear and working together to solve them. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
6. Ensure Employees Feel Welcome And Connected
Integrate your remote team into your culture initially by sending them a welcome package in the mail, complete with a personalized welcome letter, an employee handbook and goodies and merchandise. Going forward, it’s important to utilize video conferencing for meetings and catch-ups so remote workers never feel detached. We use video to catch up with team members at least once a month on a one-to-one basis to make sure everyone is happy and then hold regular full-crew meetings so that team culture is maintained. It can also be helpful to connect employees who live in the same area so they can meet up face to face if they want. Send them a coffee coupon and encourage working together. This way, even remote staff have some face-to-face interaction with colleagues and can better pool their ideas. – Emily Stallings, Casely, Inc.
7. Have Frequent Check-Ins And Quarterly In-Person Events
We’ve moved to a totally remote team during the pandemic, but we’ve also been growing rapidly, which means we have a ton of new people that I’ve never met! As such, our daily virtual team meetings provide the opportunity to get to know the new folks and craft a strong internal culture together. I believe this level of connection is going to serve us well as we transition to a hybrid model. We’ve also recently established a quarterly “on-site.” At the end of each quarter, we host a fun, in-person team event and work together to finalize upcoming quarterly goals. It’s fun, productive and gets us all more aligned on our company goals. Providing frequent virtual check-ins along with occasional in-person events allows us to stay connected as a team. – Cooper Harris, Klickly