Hybrid Working and Its Impact on Company Culture

August 17, 2021

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Did you miss the office while you were working from home?

 

 

Elite group iom's compnay culture for hybrid working
 

Maybe you missed chatting with your colleagues, the buzz of a Friday afternoon or impromptu training opportunities. Maybe you’re job just isn’t as fun at home. If that’s the case, you could have been missing your company culture.

 

What Is Company Culture?

Whether you work in HR or not, you’ll have no doubt heard of the term ‘company culture’. But what does it actually mean? Whilst some people may think of fruit baskets or office ping-pong tables, a company’s culture runs deeper than its perks or benefits; it’s the shared values, behaviours, goals and practices of your company and employees. In short, it’s the ‘personality’ of your business, encompassing every interaction from water-cooler chats to management meetings.

A positive company culture is, therefore, immensely beneficial to a business; so much so that some companies work hard to create and uphold a certain culture, implementing a defined set of values, ethics or aims to help shape the culture of their workplace. Yet cultivating a positive company culture isn’t always so clear-cut; it can also grow organically from the attitudes and traits of your employees, as well as the structure and leadership style of your company.

 

Why Is Company Culture So Important?

Creating the right company culture is not only important for your employee happiness and wellbeing but also for your business growth, productivity, and profitability. In this sense, everybody wins when you focus on cultivating a positive company culture.

  • Helps Retain Employees

A positive company culture will ultimately help improve your staff retention rate and reduce employee turnover. Training new employees can be expensive- on average, it costs £3,000 to hire a new employee. It, therefore, makes financial sense to retain talent where possible. The best way to do this? Create a positive company culture that makes them want to stay. Indeed, the stats speak of themselves: company culture is the reason that almost a third (27%) of employees quit their jobs.

  • Helps Improve Engagement

Every business aspires to have a highly engaged team; after all, engaged employees are around 21% more productive. Yet with only 13% of the workforce describing themselves as ‘engaged’, it’s safe to say that this area needs some serious work. This is where company culture can really shine. Inspiring your team to buy into the values and mission of your company can seriously help to improve engagement. The catch? Your values and mission can’t just be words on paper, your company has to practice what they preach.

  • Boost Brand Reputation

We’ve all heard of those companies that are great to work for. Whether they offer amazing perks, unrivalled benefits or just seem like a fun place to work, these companies are actually benefitting from a strong company culture. No matter the size of your business, reputation is everything; gain a reputation as a nightmare employer and you could soon see yourself losing out on both business and the best talent. A positive company culture, however, can have the opposite effect, allowing to attract a talented and dedicated team.

  • Power Profits

If you’re an old-school business leader who’s not completely sold on company culture, you may be surprised to hear that putting people over profits is actually a more profitable business model. Indeed, research suggests that companies with strong cultures saw a 4x increase in revenue growth. With toxic workplace cultures costing the UK economy £20.2 billion per year, can your business afford to ignore the very tangible benefits of a strong company culture?

  • Avoid a Toxic Workplace

Ensuring you consider company culture can help you avoid creating a toxic workplace. A large part of cultivating a positive company culture is self-reflecting, reviewing employee attitudes, leadership styles and ways of working to see how they can be improved. It also allows you to pick up on toxic behaviours before they can affect morale, engagement and employee satisfaction. As we’ve seen, a toxic workplace can have serious repercussions for your business, both to your profitability and reputation. With company culture firmly in the mind of your HR and people leaders, you know that any toxic habits will be spotted and dealt with.

 

Remote Working: a Challenge for Company Culture

For many companies, the switch to remote working during COVID-19 proved a challenge on several levels. Ensuring everyone could continue working from home effectively was no doubt first on the list. After that, figuring out ways to maintain company culture, with everyone working from home, was also on the list for many businesses.

Despite all the tech we have at our disposal, translating company culture in a digital space isn’t easy; the organic, in-person interactions simply cannot be replicated online. Zoom quizzes and virtual meetings can only do so much to maintain workplace culture. For many employees, working from home has resulted in feeling disconnected from their colleagues, the company and, more importantly, the culture. It can be difficult to feel engaged with the company’s way of doing things when you’re at your kitchen table.

Indeed, all this time spent away from colleagues and people leaders means your employees may have developed their own isolated ways of working at home. This may prove especially true for new hires, who started during the pandemic and are yet to experience both the office and company culture firsthand.

Re-imagining your company culture in a post-pandemic world may take time and patience, especially as your employees re-adapt to working in a shared space. This is also complicated by the fact that working from home is here stay, with many companies adopting hybrid working.

 

Strengthening Company Culture With Hybrid Working

Embracing the hybrid model allows your company to take the best bits from both, and empower employees to choose the way of working that best suits them. If implemented poorly, however, it could impact your company culture, creating an ‘us and them’ scenario between those in the office and those at home. how can your business move with the times yet still maintain a strong company culture?

 

  • Offer Greater Flexibility

One of the best things about hybrid working is the flexibility that it offers to employees. Instead of implementing a one size fits all policy, hybrid working empowers employees to choose how they work best. It brings them in on decision making and gives them the independence to better manage the way they work.

That’s why 87% of employees want the ability to choose where they work. Got meetings or group work to do? The office is there if you need it. Need to knuckle down and focus on sole work? Maybe home working would be productive. Offering the choice will no doubt boost morale, accommodating a greater variety of working styles, as well as lifestyles.

  • Include Remote Working Staff

If hybrid working is a firm part of your company policy, then your remote workers should be made to feel included and valued by their team and people leaders. This might involve a shift in attitudes for office-based employees and managers; it can be tempting to only interact with those who are in the office with you.

To ensure your homeworkers feel connected to managers, colleagues and the company as a whole, all meetings, events and communications should be made with remote workers in mind. As soon as you start excluding remote workers from interactions, discussions and decisions, you risk losing that sense of culture and alienating employees.

  • Cultivate Trust

Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles to implementing successful hybrid working is trust; trust that employees can and will work as effectively at home. Distrusting your employees can lead to an unhealthy culture of micromanaging and over-monitoring. This, in turn, can lead to decreased motivation and engagement amongst your workforce.

Whilst the pandemic has done a lot to alleviate the mistrust in remote working, 16% of employees still feel like their employers don’t trust them to get the job done at home. Here, transparency and openness are key. Sharing work schedules or assigning tasks via a project management app can help reassure both managers and colleagues that the necessary work is getting done. 

  • Give Credit Where It’s Due

A large part of company culture is giving feedback, recognition, and appreciation to your employees. It’s therefore vital that this doesn’t fall by the wayside when implementing hybrid working, especially as two in three employees would be prepared to leave their job if they didn’t feel appreciated.

On top of this, it’s important that taking up the opportunity to work from home is never used against employees, particularly when it comes to promotions, training or new opportunities. Indeed, 35% of employees are concerned that being away from their managers will impact their career progression.  Equally recognising the contributions of all employees, whether working from home or at the office, is therefore essential.

  • Redefine Your Office Space

Whereas officers were once the only place that work could be done, we can now work just as effectively at home. So what’s the purpose of your office now? Considering this question can help to outline your company culture going forward. If office-based work is there for in-person meetings, collaboration and creativity, maybe your office needs more shared spaces to encourage this. Maybe you want to implement hot-desking to maximise office space. Giving your physical space a defined purpose will help keep everyone on the same page when it comes to company culture.

 

5 Things You Need for successful hybrid working

Ensuring your employees have the right technology to work from home is essential. If you’re looking to implement hybrid working, then your employees need to be able to switch seamlessly between the office and their home, with access to all the same software or equipment that they’d have at the office. Thankfully, there’s a plethora of technology available to help businesses embrace the hybrid working model, as well as promoting collaboration and teamwork for remote workers.

 

Microsoft Teams

Video calls are much more personal than phone calls; they allow colleagues to see each other face to face and pick up on visional social queues. Whilst many companies made use of free software during lockdown, for full-time hybrid working, Microsoft Teams should be at the top of your list. Offering so much more than just video calling, including chat functions, document sharing and calendar/email integration, Microsoft Teams empowers collaboration and communication across your business.

Cloud Hosting

An absolute must for any business looking to implement remote working, cloud hosting ensures your applications, important files and software are accessible from anywhere, at any time. Saving all your important business data on hardware means that it’s only accessible from the office- not ideal when you’re trying to encourage your employees to work from home.

Softphone

A softphone essential allows your laptop to become a business phone, allowing you to make calls over the internet. Calls can be diverted from your office phone to your laptop, allowing customers and colleagues to reach you on the same number, even when you’re not in the office. With all the same functionalities as a regular phone, such as hold and transfers, you can be sure that you can continue communicating effectively, even at home.

 

Looking to implement hybrid working across your business?

Get in touch with Elite Group IOM today. With everything your business requires to make the switch to hybrid working, we truly are a one-stop-shop for all your IT and communication needs.

Elite Group IOM is one of the island’s leading IT and unified communication providers, supplying reliable and professional IT and telecoms services to organisations seeking Connectivity, UC & Voice, Cloud Service, IT Software and Security solutions.

For more information on how Elite Group IOM can help your business flourish through technology, contact us today.