Tips For Building An Inclusive Culture In A Hybrid Work Environment by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC
A hybrid workplace is considered by many to be the ideal combination of in-office and remote work scheduling. Depending on how the hybrid model is set up by the company, the individual may work scheduled days per week at home or in another remote location and then work the alternate days in the office.
Other hybrid environments may be even more flexible, with the individual required to log so many hours at the workplace every week/two weeks/month, or quarter. This type of structure may be great for employees, but it can make it difficult for managers to create a culture of inclusivity and collaboration within teams or departments.
There are some effective ways that leadership can build an inclusive work environment. This is true for either style of hybrid work, including when employees are only infrequently working from the office or physical workplace location.
Ask for Suggestions
One of the best ways to create an inclusive culture is to include everyone in discussions about the process. This is not only recognizing all individuals, but it is modeling what inclusion looks like in real-time.
Scheduling a meeting that invites people to come in person or attend via an online platform is a great start to the process. It could even be a workshop or professional training day that provides opportunities for employees and leadership to work together in a collaborative and inclusive process.
Schedule Regular In-Person Events
It is more costly to have employees come into meetings and training, but it is a great way to allow remote or hybrid employees to feel connected and a part of the workplace. It is also a time for more significant team building as everyone has a chance to get to know each other on a deeper and more conversational level.
This is also a chance to have the entire company, department, or team eat together, do fun activities, and experience being a valued part of the team.
Utilize Technology for Communication and Collaboration
Part of inclusion is recognizing and acknowledging everyone in the organization. Teams that are using hybrid workplace models may never see each other in person throughout the week or even the month.
Using online communication tools, including video conferences and chat systems, is only part of the solution. Make time in the week for a team meeting. Have a specific agenda that covers necessary information for team members but also includes problem solving, brainstorming, and creating thinking tasks.
Keep in mind, not all team members are comfortable speaking up in groups, even when meetings are virtual. Allowing for breakout rooms, small groups, or using chat or other forms of communication is another helpful way to allow people to find their comfort level and style in working with others.