Many employers are now keen to get everybody back to the office.
With London tube usage only up to 60% of what it was pre-pandemic, (25% increase since December) it seems that employees have settled in well to remote working, but may have a reluctance to return to the office.
Business owners and senior leaders are worried about the impact of hybrid-work on culture and high performance. But the solution is simpler than you think.
Make it magnetic, or mandatory.
Everyone has a different reason for coming into the office. For those who have a hectic home life, it might be to do some deep-thinking and focus on a few pressing tasks. For those who spend much of their days in solitude, they may be coming to collaborate, get creative, and socialise with their team. There may be those who don’t have an ideal setup at home – perhaps living in shared spaces, with no real separation between work and the rest of their lives.
Understanding the ‘why?’ of your people can help you make your workplace magnetic.
This can be easily accomplished with a hybrid-working audit. Identifying both the needs of the business and employees allows you to design a hybrid-working solution that satisfies both.
Infuse your culture
Working through a hybrid-working audit can highlight where your culture needs to shift. This is something many companies have neglected to do, but it’s essential as businesses and people are operating differently compared to two years ago – so naturally, your business’ culture would have shifted.
The shifts we’ve seen can vary from the subtle to the more obvious – but taking stock of your culture and then infusing it into your workplace will take your employees from functioning to flourishing. This, along with identifying the different whys and business needs, will indicate the workspace your business should have.
If you have got a lot of people coming to do deep work, thing about creating a ‘library’ area – a quiet space that is light, calm and most importantly, comfortable to work in.
If you have a high-energy workforce who enjoy socialising and collaborating, have you got a big open space, away from your ‘library’ to do this in? Have you got big bench tables that can accommodate large teams, or smaller informal areas for people to breakout and share ideas?
If your business culture is all about innovation, do you have space for them to collaborate? Some of our best ideas often come to us when we are out for a walk, doing something creative, or simply talking.
If your business culture is very much around goals and teamwork, is there a way to see what other employees and teams are up to? Maybe through digital leader boards, digital workstreams, hybrid-town halls hosted in the office by a different team each week, with the ability to dial everyone else in.
If your business culture is about inclusion, have you got spaces in your office that are accessible for everyone? Can you add in a hybrid element to include those remotely too?
It’s not all great…in theory
Taking these ideas and putting them into practice is the only way you will start to make positive moves with getting people back to the office.
Here are 4 things you can implement right away, to make it more magnetic:
Empower and enable teams:
Have set days for different or multiple teams to come in who may collaborate well. For example, having your sales and marketing teams in on the same day creates more opportunities for learning and innovation. Take note of how they use the space and what may need to be adapted to really help them flourish.
If you notice that your people are working longer and struggling with the blur between home life and work life, setting some boundaries can be helpful. Some businesses are ensuring their team are in two days a week, at home two days a week, and with one day to choose from. This enables a balance of boundaries, flexibility and can be a helpful way to combat proximity bias (the idea that the closer you are to seniors, the further ahead you’ll get) – particularly important if you are in a competitive industry.
Take a look in the mirror:
Hybrid-working may have been in place for most businesses since the start of the pandemic, but just because it’s been two years, may not mean it’s working well! Ultimately, most organisations have significant gaps in their internal culture to support and harness remote working, causing productivity and performance gaps at a time when organisations really need to be ‘on their game’. A remote working culture audit/assessment will uncover the real enablers and inhibitors of your current culture and work practices, enabling you to focus on the right cultural shift to enable the remote working model to really work for you.
Make it seamless:
Make it easy for people to come back to the office. If they need to book a desk to come in, how can you reduce friction and make that doable in just a couple of clicks? If people have long commutes, can you agree to flex their time, so that they can come in or leave when it’s a little quieter or cheaper?
Culture Consultancy are experts in company culture, complex change, and leadership. A specialist team who believes in the impact people and culture have on business performance. Helping clients with culture change, transformation, innovation, employee experience, leadership development, and hybrid working.
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