It has been some of the toughest mental challenges we have had to face as a globalised population.
We have seen many teams just survive, we have seen a few do well and a tiny percentage thrive the last 15 months.
In recent weeks we have seen huge investment into the software side of company culture.
This is great news.
Human First Hybrid Company Culture vs Software First Culture
(Company) Culture as a service or CaaS for short is an area so many businesses are going to have to look at in the hybrid world of work.
Company Culture (aka organisational health) has often been seen as an important and unique aspect (a USP to some) to many businesses success and if you ask a mid manager to senior exec they will make a comment of how important company culture is and why it is central to their company goals.
This has not always been true and often a crafted narrative companies use to attract staff or manage internal expectations.
This is the same way perks were confused as company culture from tech firms and have failed to keep colleagues happy once these were removed or rightly seen through.
As we are on a mission to fix the broken world of work, Company culture is one of our core pillars, Focus have called out the importance of company culture and drive for organisations to add as much weight to company culture to the one company-wide overarching strategy.
In the hybrid office world, we have seen the culture shift, we have seen virtual first communications and virtual first connections disconnect many teams and even the closest of colleagues.
Deliberate & Hybrid
In the hybrid office future, where the office will turn into a performance centre and be seen as an arena, it is clear that we have to be even more deliberate, we have to be deliberate in reconnecting teams, we have to be deliberate in connecting teams to their departments and co-build the right hybrid environment for cross-functional collaboration for your company to succeed from the short term to the long term.
The sharing of moments, the unplanned collaboration, the unplanned problem solving and getting around the whiteboard has been missed by many however in this new world of work we have to make these occurrences as seamless as they would in person and as hybrid as possible.
Company Culture As A Service
Company culture requires two things, 1/ willingness to want to address the issues and 2/ taking internal and external ownership of a company culture issue or truly co-building a company culture that you are proud of.
The right software can help however it is imperative to understand that the right human-first approach is taken and then the right tools and software are introduced to complement connection, understand a deeper level to surveys and engagement feedback, providing an opportunity to address any underlying issues or the foundation to improve company culture.
Listen To & Hear From Everyone
Leadership, HR and staff of all levels need to be heard, have open and transparent conversations and treated as equal partners. This is the way you build connective culture and not a series of subcultures, “the we are always going to outperform many solo me’s”.
Software and tools are often the go to procured solution to company culture however the right internal and external agencies or culture consultants will guide you and your company forward in the right approach for your company and your current and future employees.
Culture Is More, It’s Deeper
On-demand Culture and (CaaS) culture as a service are going to see huge areas of growth, many businesses have already thought about the importance of culture but allowed it to peter out or implode in the work from home experiment.
It is essential that business place company culture and strategy on the same level and plan an intentional and deliberate plan of attack for improving and building company culture.
Tools will always be important, software is central to 95% of our days but our people, the beahviours we co-create, the chemistry and connections we build peer to peer and the environment we build and nurture helps to shape company culture and success.
Remember when making a choice between an internal team and an external company or software, you remember collaboration is key to success, hiring the right partner for the quick wins is important but company culture will take a long term partnership, a dedicated and flexible plan and most importantly everyone to be on the same page, it cannot be dictated to or from the 10 bad HiPPOs sitting around the conference room table.
This week’s Friday Focus are five text messages you will have to think about when planning your return to the office or planning the Hybrid Office.
These questions will help you improve your working environment and build a better hybrid workforce.
1/ Fears around returning the office and not liking their colleagues . Action: think about how you make the office more inviting and applicable to everyone.
2/ Your team’s not wanting to return to a soulless co-working space. Action: Think about how you reduce the stress of co-working spaces, how you enable better conversation and more deliberate work.
3/ Many colleagues will not want to return to the office. Action: The office for many builds anxiety and causes stress, how will you be able to improve their experiences and build spaces for better concentration and deep work.
4/ Expecting your team members to come into the office as some managers do not know how to use certain software. Action: Think about how you will be able to collect training requirements and reduce stresses for colleagues who could have worked remotely or from home to get more work done.
5/ WFH was much easier for some individuals, how are you doing to enable those who found it easier to work from home vs asking them to work back in the office? Action: Consider how you enable booking in and booking out of the office, how you encourage those who work better remotely to stay connected.
Remote & Distributed Work Resources
For some ways to shape your thinking, we have two dedicated posts that will help and guide you through some of these struggles
Here are five proven tips that I have found that reduces working from home stresses for me and Focus’ clients.
Walk And Talk Meetings
Meeting dictates our mood, our delivery and our flow throughout the day. Get vitamin D, fresh air and new views to reduce down MRS and meeting anxieties.
Walk and talk meetings, turn one to ones into walk and talk meetings. These were great in the office and great out of the office. I personally like these when no one has to present. If you need to switch on the camera and have an iPhone leverage FaceTime audio and this enables you to switch on the camera.
Communication fatigue is a battle we have always faced, never as challenging as with our remote-first, forced working-from-home situation we find ourselves in across the global. Scheduling will be a bit step to winning.
Use scheduling email features to clear 30 minutes of your day. Emails take up hours per day, scheduling emails to send at the end of the day or the next morning will free up your time of unwanted responses or late pings. If you are a leader you can leverage the internal out of office settings to notify those around you of your working hours. Use scheduling in apps to prevent notifications from work apps.
Daily 30:15 Time Blocking
Time is the battle ground that everyone fights to win. Win by owning your time and using calendar blocking.
Block out the first 30 mins and last 15 mins of your day to plan and debrief your day. The 30-minute morning session: Write a quick five most important actions to complete for the day ahead. This helps to clarify what is most important and a guide throughout the day.
In the evening, write down five points that are occupying your thoughts. These can be the most important projects, the people you want to pick projects up with, the people you want to proactively reach out to or the essential communications you need to send.
Remove Camera View
Being on camera remotely is a performance. It is challenging and a battle, reduce this stress down.
Hide your own camera/view on video calls and hide all non-video views. This will prevent you from looking at yourself and being interrupted by those who have called in and flashing through video calls.
When you run your own working from home retrospective, these are all tips that will help guide you forward as a team, a department or as the company as a whole.
Leave The Home Office
Working from home is new to so many professionals, it has become challenging to leave work. Learn to draw a line and create deliberate boundaries.
Block out the area of your living for work and close the station down, shut down the laptop, place on the chair out of view, place notepads, coasters, post-it notes etc on top of the laptop. Clear divide helps to shut off and a clear space = clear mind.
In the very near future, in the future of work and the workplace we will likely see working from home (or remotely) take up 70% of your working and knowing how to draw the professional and personal line will be imperative.
Setting ourselves up for success in the Hybrid Office aka the Future.