Organisations need to evaluate their company culture to work out what works and what needs to evolve for hybrid work success – or risk going to ‘hybrid hell’.
That’s according to a report by Poly, Hybrid Heaven or Hell? The Journey to Hybrid Working,which highlights the challenges in building and retaining corporate culture and the lasting impact it can have on innovation, talent retention and growth.
Sof Socratous, HP Poly Hybrid Work Solutions head of north-west Europe, said: “Hybrid culture cannot be left to chance. Now is a crucial time for organisations to take stock and rebuild a culture that is fit for hybrid working. This means relearning the expectations of work: how people like to work and where. Those that fail to do so will risk going to ‘hybrid hell’, leaving employees feeling unengaged and unhappy.”
Th challenges are being exacerbated by the workforce becoming even more distributed and fragmented, according to the report. This year, trends such as shorter working weeks, employees applying for digital nomad visas and workcations – people working from abroad to maximise their annual leave – took off. As the traditional nine-to-five becomes less commonplace, organisations need to ensure they foster a culture that supports hybrid working.
The report reveals that one of the biggest barriers is redesigning the workplace, which should support and nurture culture, but shouldn’t drive it. Many organisations are struggling to make their old spaces suited to the new ways of working. Poly office persona research found that, before the pandemic, individual desks took up an average of 65% of office space. In response to hybrid working, this is expected to fall to about 40%. Organisations need to carefully consider how they redesign their spaces to support culture in a hybrid environment.
Poly’s research shows 77% of organisations are redesigning the office to support new ways of working. Organisations are increasingly taking inspiration from restaurants, in terms of how they organise their space, and in trends such as ‘hotelling’, which requires employees to make use of a corporate booking system to reserve a desk in their own workplace for a day at a time. This shift will also lead to a rise in mobile workspaces, as organisations introduce bench-style desks and hot desks to ensure everyone has somewhere they can work when visiting the office.
“The shift to hybrid work presents an opportunity for organisations to remake cultures and their workspaces for the 21st century,” said Socratous. “This requires organisations to clearly define their core cultural values and to frame what that means in a hybrid world. This includes taking a strategic approach to consider people, spaces and technology. First, analysing why people want to come together – what do people need to achieve and where does physical presence add value? Once the culture has been defined and employees’ needs are understood, the spaces can be redesigned, and technology can be adopted to ensure equal experiences for everyone.”
The report, which was written in partnership with WorkTech Academy, includes research from Gallup, Gartner, and Harvard Business Review, as well as Poly’s own findings.
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