Hybrid is a term that is used often in the post-pandemic work environment. From hybrid work to virtual events, there isn’t just one way to do things anymore. For decades, most companies believed that going into the office was the only efficient way to work, and that working from home would garner less productivity from employees. But now, after more than a year of a work-from-home world, companies are shifting to a hybrid approach as their new normal.
The book is still being written on how to run a successful hybrid workforce. Stanford Business and Forbes offer perspectives on how to examine a hybrid approach, with survey statistics and anecdotal conversations on how workers feel about the different aspects of it all. But if you’re wondering how to go about starting and maintaining a successful hybrid work environment, and what it can look like first-hand, we have some key takeaways from our own experience at All Around Creative.
Since the middle of July, we here at All Around Creative have returned to the office once per week. Every Wednesday, we all pack up our laptops, notebooks, and lunches and make the commute to spend the day sharing a physical work space. We’re getting the best of both worlds; the flexibility and convenience of working from home, and the in-person communication and collaboration of working in the office. Our hope is that you might learn something from our story, and in turn, some unique ideas will flourish from it. Here are a few of the things we’ve learned along the way.
Our number one takeaway is proper safety protocols. At All Around Creative, there was a detailed layout of the precautions taken in order to make employees feel safe in their return to the office. This involves spacious work environments, dividers between desks, top of the line air-filtration systems, readily available hand sanitizer, and daily office cleanings. Not only do we encourage cleanliness in the office, but we also encourage employees to stay home if they’re not feeling well. Gone are the days of “toughing it out” and coming into the office with a cold. If anybody is feeling under the weather, they can simply work from home until they get well.
Having a dialogue with employees and co-workers was a priority when deciding how to return to the office. There were a number of discussions and meetings to take everyone’s questions and concerns into consideration and ensure each one was touched upon. We filled out surveys for upper management to review, exploring topics from safety protocols, to office layout, to which day people prefer. There was a thorough examination of everyone’s individual feelings, which allowed all of our voices to be heard in the decision. By keeping us all involved, nobody felt left in the dark about what was happening, and we were all prepared to make the return to the office.
Knowing how to best utilize in-office days is a major factor in a successful hybrid work environment. Working from home can feel a bit alienating, so we made sure that our office days were filled with communication and collaboration. Initially, we reserved internal meetings for office days, giving us more time to collaborate in our work. As time went on, we found that incorporating certain client and project meetings into the mix allowed for more open communication in specific areas. Now, on a weekly basis, our schedule during office days may vary, but there’s always a specific goal in mind each time we go in.
One of the most important takeaways is making sure to create a thriving company culture for this new hybrid work environment. Creating an environment employees feel excited about gives an office it’s uniqueness. People want to feel challenged in their work and appreciated for their contributions, so giving them the space to do that gives them more to look forward to in their everyday work lives. At All Around Creative, we’ve succeeded in this by:
- Setting and sharing clear departmental & company goals
- Accepting and utilizing employee feedback on projects
- Creating a friendly work environment
- Having weekly and bi-weekly company luncheons
- Planning fun, convenient social outings
These are just a few of the many things that All Around Creative provides for its employees through its culture. When creating a hybrid work environment, keeping an open and adaptive work culture is a great way to help employees thrive.
There is no “right” way to create a successful hybrid work environment. Every company is different in their own way, and every company will face different challenges in their own approach. A lot has changed over the past year — new hires, new clients, new opportunities — and to explore this all in a hybrid fashion has been exciting. We’re all still learning how to adapt to this new world, so why not do it together?
If you found these takeaways helpful, feel free to contact our team for more tips and information about successful hybrid work. And if you’re looking to get involved in any work related around virtual or hybrid events, fill out this short form!