Nine out of 10 CEOs, according to McKinsey, believe that a hybrid model will be used moving ahead, post-pandemic, and business and HR professionals from all industries are attempting to navigate these new hybrid seas. While this strategy may have advantages for both employers and workers, such as flexibility and the freedom to work from wherever suits them best, there is one thing that hybrid work cannot provide: regular opportunities for impromptu in-person interaction.
In fact, the essential human connection, engagement, and feeling of belonging that business and HR professionals have been striving to create in the workplace for years can be undermined by the hybrid work model.
So how can you keep the culture of human connection alive, no matter where people are working?
Celebrating human moments
Respondents to Workhuman’s ‘The Pandemic’s Impact on How We Work’ survey said they felt nervous (37%), lonely (31%), overloaded (28%), and less motivated (24 percent). But why are employees under such stress? The vast majority of respondents (59%) identified “less human connection” as the problem.
Feeling a connection to your company, its culture, and its people is crucial, especially in light of the fact that the workplace of the future is still being developed and that issues related to various working styles are still common. Leaders may improve this sense of connection in a variety of ways, from virtual happy hours and lunches to workshops and mentorship programs. All of these foster real human relationships, honor individuals’ accomplishments and those of groups and teams, and help people appreciate the full person..
Celebrate life’s other milestones as well, such as birthdays, weddings, the birth of a child, and new pets. No matter if your workplace is physical, virtual, or a combination of the two, show workers that you love them for their entire selves and everything they have to offer, both at work and outside of it, by taking the time to celebrate and acknowledge the big and little human moments.
Listening to employees and acting on what they say
Although the hybrid puzzle remains a mystery, there is one straightforward thing you can do to find out what your employees need in order to perform their best work: listen.
It’s crucial that workers understand and feel they have the chance to have a voice in how their workplace and its culture will look in the future, whether through frequent town hall meetings, regular manager-employee check-ins, or company-wide monthly pulse surveys. This makes sure they feel supported and that they are heard in the conversation, thus contributing to the development of a culture of connectedness throughout the whole business, regardless of where employees are located.
Additionally, managers who demonstrate their ability to lead with empathy foster a more genuine, inclusive atmosphere for both in-person and remote workers. But don’t forget to provide your employees with what they say they want for the workplace of the future. It’s crucial to identify and accept each employee’s wishes and to try to accommodate them wherever you can.
There are several strategies and tips out there about how to make the best of hybrid working – including the above! But each organization is different and will have its own ways of nurturing human connections in a hybrid world.