12 leadership tips for building an effective hybrid work culture.
For most companies it is not going to be enough to hope that things will go back to normal because our people will be coming back into the office. Even if you mandate that employees must be in the office two or three days a week, your people will be working remotely for significant periods of time. The smart leaders are learning from remote work companies and integrating remote work best practices into their operating model and culture. Here are twelve tips on what to consider when designing your hybrid work culture.
1. Understand that you took the osmosis that happened in your offices pre-pandemic for granted and that it will not be as effective a leadership or culture development tool in the future (if at all).
2. Develop an understanding across your organisation of what a remote-first hybrid work culture is and what needs to change in the new paradigm.
3. Develop a communication architecture and methodology to take advantage of asynchronous and semi-synchronous communication.
4. Document the processes that you took for granted in a pre-pandemic office environment.
5. Develop documentation capabilities in the organisation to help deal with issues around insufficient communication, poor collaboration, information silos and knowledge leak/loss.
6. Add structure to the day/week/month to facilitate informal communication, social interaction and community development, deep work, one-to-one meetings, decompression, etc.
7. Develop an environment of psychological safety where people can trust that they can be themselves and will not be penalised for their mistakes or failures.
8. Build awareness at the management level around wellbeing issues such as loneliness, mental health and burn out.
9. Help managers to realise that they need to adapt their leadership style a trust-driven and outcomes driven hybrid work environment
10. Understand who your micro-managers are and get them a coach.
11. Become deliberate about culture development - your hybrid office is not going to do the work for you
12. Be as transparent as possible. If we are transparent we have nothing to hide and we can trust one another to do what needs to be done to get the job done.
Think of this as a 12 to 24 month transformation plan.
(I know that startups don't normally think in these terms but in the case of developing a hybrid culture it is critical because this can't all be done at once and the change initiatives required won't be delivered overnight.)