Irish News

Is hybrid work the chance to redefine your culture?

Neil Hughes
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The COVID-19 pandemic and the introduction of the hybrid working model has had a tremendous impact on corporate culture, and has created a perfect opportunity for organisations to revisit their culture and ways of working.

Now is the time to emphasise company values and ensure that they are being lived in this new context, regardless of location by all employees. Organisations worldwide are undergoing a rapid shift from remote working to a hybrid model and, in some cases, cannot default to conducting business as usual. The shift to a hybrid model must be carefully balanced to create a new operating model that works for the organisation and its employees, whilst mitigating ongoing periods of uncertainty. There now exists the opportunity for leaders to answer some fundamental questions such as: Who are we as an organisation? Who do we want to be? What values and cultural elements do we want to alleviate and what elements do we want to elevate?

This question of corporate identity in itself has transformed the way we work, and for the majority of organisations a hybrid future is imminent. Culture is shaped by its environment, and with the shift towards a hybrid environment, it is vital to re-assess and ask these challenging questions. It is essential that we, as leaders, acknowledge that the old, office-centric enforcement of culture will not work going forward.

Considering an employees’ physical presence in the office as a key performance indicator is obsolete, which is now positively shifting towards productivity and output.

Cultural adjustment and adaptation is required, and this will be a continual process. A strong culture is vital as organisations adapt to the hybrid model, which will have an immense impact on the organisations propensity to attract and retain talent. Additionally, research has proven that the pandemic has changed what employees are looking for from their workplace. Therefore, redefining corporate culture is at the forefront for business leaders.

There is no doubt that adapting to the hybrid model will require an element of trial and error. However, organisations that invest the resources into implementing new processes will thrive with the future of hybrid working. Leaders should take this as an opportunity to set the tone and steer their culture in the right direction, while helping colleagues to adapt with them.

It is time to adapt to the new environment of hybrid work, and take advantage of the opportunity to reinforce culture in new, better ways. Research suggests that companies with strong cultures have three times greater total returns to shareholders. Meaningful values were a vital differentiator of companies that maintained a healthy culture during the pandemic. Policies, practices and working norms will need to change and evolve as we learn. We are all on the path of creating a new cultural journey, so let’s take advantage of it.