Woman working on laptop with her cat perched next to her.
A hybrid work arrangement, when done effectively, provides flexibility for all employees and can boost satisfaction and productivity. — Getty Images/VidorHsu

Some businesses that went remote during the pandemic have now transitioned to a hybrid workforce, with employees working part-time remote and part-time in the office. It's important for leaders to ease this transition for their employees and create a culture that works for everyone and their processes.

If your office is operating with in-office and remote employees, here's how to develop a positive hybrid office culture and maintain it, no matter where your workforce is located.

Pros and cons of a hybrid office culture

A hybrid office culture comes with some distinct advantages over a fully remote or fully in-person work environment.

“[It’s] a good model only because if it's done right, you allow for that camaraderie and that team building,” said Alexandra Schrecengost, founder of Culture with Us. “You do get to bond and you do get to do activities together, but then separately, you also get the balance of working from home.”

[Read more: 9 Lasting Changes Small Businesses Can Expect Post-Pandemic]

Schrecengost also noted that an effective hybrid culture can break down departmental silos because it encourages in-office and remote teams to collaborate with their dispersed colleagues. “You are able to really dive in and get to know the other teams,” she said.

However, there are some challenges to consider with a hybrid workforce. The biggest cultural challenge Schrecengost has heard about from her clients is how to make their hybrid culture inclusive when there are certain teams that need to be in the office versus other teams that don't necessarily need to be.

“There has to be some flexibility,” she told CO—. “Even if they're an engineer and they perhaps do need to be in the office, is there a happy medium … [where some days] they do administrative tasks and things that they can do from home? That way [it’s] as inclusive as possible where they don't need to be in every day.”

As you start to test out different ways of working together, it's only going to get better and improve.

Alexandra Schrecengost, founder, Culture with Us

Tips for creating a positive hybrid culture

When creating their hybrid work culture, business leaders should assess the priorities of both the overall company and their employees. Follow these tips to create a positive hybrid culture for your employees.

Consider employees’ preferences

Every employee works differently and thrives under different conditions. For instance, said Schrecengost, introverts may prefer to continue working from home because that was their comfort zone, while extroverts are itching to get back into the office.

“The biggest part of it is just staying in communication with your team and really taking the time to get to know how they work,” she said. “Have a good grasp on your team and what their personalities are like, and really [take] that into account. That is the biggest way to make them feel appreciated and welcome because you're making them feel comfortable in their workspace.”

[Read more: 5 Essential Ways to Support Employees Post-Pandemic]

Offer flexibility

Working remotely offers employees the unique opportunity to work on their own schedule. Leaders should be aware of this opportunity and not be too restrictive. Tom Fairey, CEO and co-founder of Stakester, strives to provide a workplace that gives everyone the best work and life balance for them, so each employee can deliver their best work, every time.

“As long as they accomplish tasks within their own set deadlines, there’s no need to confine them to standard working hours,” Fairey said. “We manage flexibility around this through strong lines of communication in terms of deadlines and delivery, so everyone’s expectations are aligned.”

Keep experimenting and adjust accordingly

Schrecengost reminded leaders that the hybrid work model is a “work in progress,” and it may take a certain amount of trial and error to figure out the right approach for your company.

“As you start to test out different ways of working together, it's only going to get better and improve,” she told CO—. “It's just a lot of patience … testing the waters here and there and figuring out activities that make everyone feel comfortable. But once you do it and keep going, I think there's going to be a lot of great enthusiasm for ... the hybrid model.”

[Read more: 6 Ways to Make Your Hybrid Workforce Secure]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Follow us on Instagram for more expert tips & business owners’ stories.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

Where business leaders go to grow

CO— is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Published August 05, 2021