Your team’s cohesion may look different than it did a year ago, 6 months ago, or even a week ago. Many teams have tried it all by now: fully remote, completely in-office, and now, the hybrid model. In doing so, we’ve seen happy hours, glimpses of our co-worker’s couches, and maybe even had a profound longing for the office snack cabinet. Employers’ perceptions of a hybrid team have also changed in the past few years, especially with the advent of technology. Now the days of an in-office 9-5 look like a relic of the past. In late 2020, almost half of surveyed employers said they would allow employees to work fully remote or grant flex days to those who wanted them.

While this shift can ease employees’ work-life strain, it creates a new set of problems for employers. Ensuring employees both in the office and remote setting feel equally valued and included takes attention and careful planning. Employers also need to rethink how culture is embedded in an organization with different operating locations and times. Decisions and communication channels will need to adapt once more to make sure messages are heard and understood in a hybrid model. It’s a lot to consider, but being a business leader is all about mastering unpredictability, and with GROWL’s top tips, you can master this too.

Include Employees in the Decision

While some positions may need to remain in office, it’s important to ask employees what they want. It will inevitably help your decision-making process and build trust amongst your team if you move to a hybrid team. You don’t want to blindside employees; instead, be transparent from the beginning. Transparency will help you as you work on fine-tuning communication, culture, and confidence within your team. Consider having individual meetings with departments or employees (depending on your organization’s size and availability) and searching for the intersection between your ideas.

Accessibility and Fairness

As you work to accommodate on-site and remote workers, be aware of perceptions on both sides. Employees who are given the option to work remotely shouldn’t feel like they will be penalized for making one decision or another. Be mindful of showing unintentional favoritism to in-office employees. If you have a working lunch planned for in-office employees, find a way to include remote workers. If your team is in the same geographic location, extend an invite or consider providing a gift card so they can feel included as well. Furthermore, extend flex-time to in-office employees so they can run errands, make appointments, and enjoy some of the looser scheduling that remote workers enjoy.

Remote Work and Building Trust

It can be hard to trust remote employees but remember, their output is what keeps your business afloat. By now, your employees are probably remote experts. Unless you see an immediate need, don’t spend unnecessary time, money, and effort monitoring their work. Instead, the output is a great way to gauge your employee’s productivity. Let your employees know what your expectations are, and release a little bit of control. Trusting your employees is a great way to empower them and better the company culture.

Combining Office and Remote Culture

To ensure every employee, in-office or remote, understands the culture and is empowered to be themselves, set aside time to bond. If the idea of planning an event makes you shutter, don’t be afraid; creating and implementing culture is part of the process. A hybrid team needs to trust one another with the same caliber that they trust you. Letting employees showcase their spectacular personalities makes their job more fun and aids in cross-team collaboration and efficiency. Improving remote communication is shown to boost employee retention, increase functionality, and drive results. Using synchronous communication platforms like Slack, Teams, and Zoom (have you heard of it?) all give employees a chance to communicate with fun visuals and reactions.

Looking for a more engaging way to improve culture? Check out our Growth Ops blog today! 

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