The way we work constantly changes!
In the UK, hybrid working is considered the new ‘normal.’ Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the idea of remote work and hybrid work models were slowly gaining traction. People were starting to realise the perks of flexibility to work from anywhere. It’s clear the pandemic kicked things into high gear regarding remote work, but with modern technology, it was bound to happen sooner rather than later.
The hybrid model is reshaping how we approach work in the UK. It’s not only about productivity; it’s about creating a work culture that thrives in this new reality.
The shift towards the hybrid or fully remote business model has started to spark conversations around the potential challenges of fostering and maintaining a positive work culture. Concerns have been raised regarding potential drawbacks such as reduced teamwork, decreased engagement, and the potential limitations for first-time job seekers to learn from their peers in a traditional office environment. These concerns have made some business owners hesitant about embracing this model.
However, it’s important to note that with the right strategies and tools , it is possible to overcome these challenges and create a thriving work culture in a hybrid or remote setting.
It’s important to understand, the absence of a physical office or a geographically dispersed team doesn’t mean you can’t cultivate a great company culture. With the advancements in technology, it is entirely possible to foster a strong and positive culture, regardless of the location of your team members.
One of MBA’s clients (an MB Group business), a fin-tech business with a fully remote employee base, recently hired an ‘internal community officer’, a real first of a kind, to ensure that the interests of the employees went beyond the traditional HR support of drop-in’s, town halls, 121’s, etc. Essentially, this individual has been hired to build a virtual community.
Additionally, businesses are quickly realising that with hybrid working, investing in employee development is key to maintaining a positive work culture. Online training programs, webinars, and mentorship opportunities are popping up left and right. So, even while working from home, your employees can level up their skills and advance their careers. Talk about a win-win situation!
Hybrid Working: The Future of Work!
According to various research reports, more and more businesses are offering a hybrid working model. The Office for National Statistics in the UK found that the number of working hybrid companies has steadily climbed since 2020. From February to May 2022, there was an increase1 from 13% to a whopping 24% of businesses utilising this work model. That’s some serious growth!
But wait, there’s more! Accenture, in one of their studies, discovered that a massive2 63% of high-growth firms are using what they call the “Productivity Everywhere” model. It means these businesses have figured out that letting their employees work in a hybrid way actually boosts productivity.
McKinsey did some digging and found that a staggering3 75% of respondents in their research preferred the hybrid working model. That’s a pretty clear majority.
According to a survey, over4 40% of the people said that their businesses have switched to a hybrid model since the global pandemic.
The UK’s work landscape has undergone profound changes since the pandemic hit. Only4 30% of businesses are fully on-site now, compared to 57% before the pandemic.
Flexible work arrangements are on the rise too. There’s been almost4 a 10% increase in businesses opting for flexibility compared to the pre-pandemic era. People love the idea of having more control over their work-life balance.
So, all in all, the work landscape in the UK has definitely seen some major shifts. Hybrid working is taking the lead, with more businesses embracing flexibility and adapting to the changing times. Whether it’s fully remote or a blend of office and remote work, it’s clear that people are seeking that balance and finding new ways to get the job done.
Positive Work Culture in Hybrid Working: fad, fallacy or fact?
When in the office, your employees run into their colleagues in the hallway, catch up at the coffee machine, and bond over lunch breaks. But when your employees work remotely, these casual interactions happen less often.
There’s a way to handle these hurdles and create a positive company culture in a hybrid work environment. It’s all about being intentional and taking simple steps to keep the team spirit alive. So let’s dive in:
First things first, regular communication is vital. Encourage your team to stay connected via video conferencing, chat, or other online tools. It’s like having a virtual place where they can share ideas, discuss projects, and simply catch up on what’s happening. Keep those lines of communication open, and they will never feel they are away from the rest of the team.
Next up, collaboration is key. Give your employees opportunities to work together on projects. Whether setting up virtual teams or having regular in-office collaboration sessions, the goal is to foster that sense of teamwork and camaraderie.
And let’s not forget to celebrate those wins! When someone on your team accomplishes something great, make sure to shout about it from the virtual rooftops. Send out company-wide emails, host virtual events to recognise achievements, or simply give a public shoutout during team meetings. It’s all about showing appreciation and boosting morale.
Let’s dive into some more nifty tips for maintaining a positive work culture in a remote environment.
Firstly, set clear expectations. Make sure everyone on your team knows what’s anticipated of them in terms of work hours, availability, and how they should communicate.
Next up, regular feedback is key. Let your employees know how they’re performing and give them opportunities to improve. Feedback isn’t just about pointing out mistakes or always appreciating; it’s about helping the team grow and thrive.
Additionally, you can propose training and development opportunities to keep your team up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends. It’s like giving them the superpower to conquer any challenge that comes their way.
And last but not least, social interaction is a must. Encourage your employees to connect outside of work, whether it’s through virtual hangouts or even in-person meetups, if possible. Building those personal connections can do wonders for team morale.
With these tips in your arsenal, you’ll be well on your way to maintaining a positive work culture in your business, no matter where your team members are.
How Does Hybrid Working Affect the Employee?
Hybrid working can be a game-changer as it gives your team flexibility to work from home, which is pretty handy when juggling work and personal matters simultaneously.
However, there can be some challenges in a hybrid work policy. One thing your employees might face is feeling a bit isolated from their colleagues. It’s tough when they can’t meet them in person often.
Another hurdle can be missing opportunities to learn and grow. It can feel like falling behind if your team can’t attend all those training and development sessions.
But there are ways to defeat these challenges!
Encouraging your employees to take the initiative to connect with their colleagues, attending virtual events, actively participating in team group chats, or simply reaching out with a quick message to say hello can profoundly impact collaboration and team cohesion. These small actions foster a sense of belonging and build stronger professional relationships, ultimately contributing to a more productive and engaged workforce.
And let’s not forget the importance of setting boundaries. When working in a hybrid model, it’s easy for work and personal time to blend together. So, let’s make sure we carve out that space for ourselves. We need time to recharge and enjoy life outside of work too.
The hybrid policy can be an exciting adventure. It’s all about connecting with the team, encouraging growth opportunities, and ensuring that work-life balance is maintained.
Hybrid working in the UK has experienced a remarkable surge, reshaping the traditional work landscape. While it offers flexibility and benefits for both businesses and employees, it also poses challenges in maintaining a positive work culture. Companies can ensure a vibrant and thriving work culture, even in a remote environment, by prioritising open communication, fostering collaboration, and implementing strategies to connect remote and office-based employees.