Posted by: BeneFIT Corporate Wellness
Date: September 14, 2021
5 elements for merging remote, hybrid, and in-person work cultures
Employers are adaptable. They have to be. Certainly, the pandemic challenged even the most flexible of companies, but in the interest of “back to business,” they are finding ways to make it work. The resulting new paradigm, however, is a mix of work arrangements, from in-person to remote and somewhere in-between. This factor has left many employers grasping for strategies for unifying a disparate and geographically diverse workforce.
Bring your company back together
Things may never be quite the same, but smart employers can use available resources to adapt and revamp the culture into a new, more dynamic one. The following are five important principles of creating a unified workforce – regardless of where individual employees are located.
- Keep well-being a priority. Employee health has come to the forefront because of the pandemic. Employee health can serve as a springboard for change and can have either a positive or negative effect on productivity and profitability-depending on how employers support it. Encouraging preventive screenings and annual primary care visits are a great start to engaging employees in their health, but to ensure health improvement, support is needed. Health coaching provides each employee that extra individualized boost of care needed to realize their wellness goals all while demonstrating that their employer is invested in their overall well-being.
- Engage employees in decision-making. Be open about your desire to stay connected and invite opinions and interaction about what works best regarding projects, processes, and communication. Ensure employees feel they have the autonomy and ability to collaborate to get the job done. This is essential to a cohesive, successful team.
- Promote emotional intelligence. Today’s world demands transparency and mutual respect – and employees deserve the same. This calls for empathetic leaders who understand the importance of a “psychologically safe” workplace, where employees can express themselves freely and comfortably ask for help if they need it. Offering long-term emotional support options such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for improved mental well-being lets employees know their employer cares and allows them to access services and resources when needed.
- Consider something engaging and fun. Activities that mix leisure with work are good for team morale and bringing employees together. Individual and team-based wellness challenges – where employees complete a virtual hike in Hawaii, for example, or increase their intake of healthy foods each day – provide connection as well as encouragement to improve health. They are easy to implement, promote teamwork, and are always a hit in or out of the office.
- Conduct Regular Check Ins. Regular communication and contact are essential for unification. Utilize email, chats, phone calls, and video calls. Always ensure remote employees can raise questions, share ideas, and collaborate. If possible, schedule informal meetings where employees can engage in casual conversation surrounding topics unrelated to work.
Looking ahead with optimism
Rather than focusing on the past and asking, “When will things return to normal,” it’s important for employers and employees to be resilient and say, “Let’s use this opportunity to create a new, better way of working.” As we evolve into diverse working arrangements, applying the principles of communication, empathy, involvement, well-being, and fun will become the transformational building blocks needed for cultural and structural change. As an employer, you can use resources such as EAP, health coaching, and wellness challenges to extend support for your team, regardless of location, and show your gratitude for their efforts. The rewards are assured: a healthier, happier, more integrated workforce ready to move on with confidence and a renewed sense of purpose and loyalty.