The hybrid work setup, currently on many organisations agenda, will require a lot of thinking around work processes, tasks, office space and adaptability, people’s preferences, digital tools and more. It’s a complex strategic and practical dilemma.
But it clearly cannot be solved with these considerations only. The human, cultural, behavioural aspects of how people feel about work and their interactions with others need at least equal consideration. As culture is “how things get done around here” the best laid plans can be derailed by culture. Or “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” a quote often attributed to Peter Drucker.
No, there are no simple answers to hybrid, it is continuous work in progress, we need to try, evaluate, learn and adapt. And we need to consider diversity, we need to appreciate that everyone is different, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. People value different things, just like some have enjoyed working from home and some have struggled with it. What we know for sure though is that how we work is more on everyone’s agenda than we have ever experienced before. And to get the best results, we’d better pay more attention to culture than before.
We haven’t done this hybrid way of working before to this extent so we all need to be ready to change and flex based on the human dynamics at play.
And because we know that culture and habits are so important, we recently ran a poll on LinkedIn, where we posed the following question.
“The new hybrid work setup is on everyone’s agenda, and a lot of focus is put on the practical and technical aspects of the combination of remote and onsite working.
However, the culture and behaviours also need to be front of mind as it’s much harder to keep culture healthy and alive when people work remotely/virtually. The behaviours and cultural change needed will be just as important as the technical.
With this in mind, what is the most important cultural habit that needs to be actively worked on to make the hybrid setup work?“
Here are the results*
1. MAKING IT EASY TO COLLABORATE 39%
We were not surprised to see that this was the most voted for habit. No one is an island and there is only so much we can achieve on our own, having a collaborative environment makes everyone feel and perform better. And in a hybrid world, where some may work from home and others from the office, collaboration needs to be worked at in a way that was not needed when everyone was in the same place.
2. MAKING OTHERS FEEL INCLUDED 35%
Hot on the heels of collaboration, came inclusion. Inclusion was always important, but like collaboration it may not happen as naturally when people can’t see each other. A considered approach to making others feel important and included needs to be top of mind for leaders and non-leaders alike.
3. FOCUSING ON RELATIONSHIPS 18%
Relationships need work all the time, and the human dynamics will play themselves out when we work remotely. You can put in place all the processes and procedures and do that with a very logical mindset, the important human behaviours will come into play. For example, a team we are working with have great plans on a phased approach to allow people into the office and have plans to have a certain number of people in the office at any one time. They need to be ready to flex and change those plans as the human relationships will come into play and will mean team members may feel left out if they are not part of a certain group so favourites and peer pressure will naturally rise to the top.
4. KEEPING UP TO DATE/INFORMED 8%
The relatively low percentage is likely to be an indication of how information has become increasingly accessible, over the last year in particular, as more and more organisations have invested in digital tools that simplifies information sharing and communication. Keeping people up to date and informed is now a ‘given’ and a necessity. It is not a nice to have it is part of working remotely so it has become embedded in our behaviours. A true transition.
*Results based on 83 responses globally