Creating a Hybrid Culture
Throughout the pandemic people have changed how they shop, where they live, how they learn, and, for many, how they work. Hybrid work is familiar territory for some, but a seismic shift in how work happens for many organizations. Regardless of how your company defines its policies, this blend of on and off-line interactions means we have to think about the needs of people as they adopt a new way of working, and how the workplace and technology need to change to help them be successful. Hybrid work may be challenging initially, but there’s never been a greater opportunity for organizations to reset their culture.
The flexibility — and the trust it requires — can be a catalyst for new ways of working and can redefine how the office can help people thrive. In a recent Steelcase webinar, Prototyping the Future of Work, 59% of nearly 1,000 attendees said the biggest benefit of hybrid work is the ability to attract and retain talent. The biggest threat is cultural erosion (54%).
Everyone, everywhere struggled with a feeling of isolation while working from home. Combine that with the sense of whiplash many people feel from the ups and downs of Covid caseloads, return-to-office delays and conditions that seem to change daily, people’s wellbeing has suffered. Organizations that have returned to the office found people need to be reenergized and rebuild their “muscle memory” for being in the workplace. They’ve also found that reshaping their culture is essential to create new norms for how people will work together going forward.
The workplace can become an infrastructure for fostering a resilient hybrid culture by providing spaces which not only support increasing collaboration between in-person and remote workers, but also help people feel a sense of belonging and connection to their teams and the organization, regardless of location. Steelcase research shows that feeling part of a strong community actually helps people achieve more and boosts productivity, engagement, innovation and retention. Many leading organizations are making changes before team members return to the office so people can see and feel their organization cares and is taking action to meet their needs in a new era of hybrid work.
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