Effective Strategies for a Hybrid and Remote Work Culture

Effective Strategies for a Hybrid and Remote Work Culture April 1, 2022

The pandemic has forced organizations to recognize that they need to adapt their work culture to the hybrid and remote future of work. Employees will be spending different amounts of time in the office: some essential employees might be there full-time, others will be there 1-3 days a week, and some will be fully remote. That presents the danger of a sense of resentment building up between “haves” and “have nots” around schedule flexibility. How do you create a work culture that addresses such concerns?


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Our Future is Hybrid

Recent surveys have shown that two-thirds of all US workers spent time working remotely during the pandemic. With the pandemic winding down, two-thirds to three-quarters of surveyed employers intend to have a mainly-hybrid schedule after the pandemic ends.  

 

Plenty of large companies have already announced a switch to a permanent hybrid model of one to three days of work in the office after the pandemic. A smaller, but still sizable, number of big companies have decided to let many or all of their currently-remote employees work from home permanently.  

 

The decisions largely match worker desires. Surveys (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) show that two-thirds of all employees wish to remain on a post-pandemic hybrid schedule permanently, while a quarter of all employees favor a fully-remote schedule. For this to work, organizations need to adapt their work culture to accommodate remote and hybrid workers.  

 

Why Have Organizations Failed to Adapt to the Future of Work?

Leaders often fail to adopt best practices because of dangerous judgment errors called cognitive biases. These mental blindspots result in poor strategic, relationship, and financial decisions. They render leaders unable to resist following their gut and their personal preferences instead of relying on best practices.  

 

One of these judgment errors is called functional fixedness. When we have a certain perception of appropriate practices and processes, we tend to disregard other more appropriate alternatives.  

 

Transposing existing ways of collaboration in “office culture” to remote work is a prime example of functional fixedness seen among leaders during the pandemic. That’s why leaders failed to strategically address the problems arising with the abrupt transition to telework.  

 

Another cognitive bias, which is related to functional fixedness, is called the not-invented-here syndrome. It’s a leader’s antipathy towards adopting practices not invented within their organization, no matter how useful.  

 

Defeating these cognitive biases requires the use of research-based best practices. It means adopting a hybrid-first model with a minority fully remote. To do so successfully requires creating a new work culture well-suited for the hybrid and remote future of work.  

 

Adapting Your Work Culture to the “Excellence From Anywhere” Strategy

 Some organizations may need some employees to come in full-time. For example, one of my clients is a Fortune 200 high-tech manufacturing company with over 25K employees. It needs many employees to be on the factory floor. Others may need to come in on a hybrid schedule even if they worked full-time remotely during the pandemic. A case in point: some research and development staff are able to innovate better if they can access equipment in the company’s labs. Some others may have team leaders that want them to come in one day a week to facilitate team cohesion and collaboration, even if they can do all their work fully remotely. And still other employees have team leaders that permit them to do full-time remote work.  

 

Such differences have the potential to create tension and aggravation between employees. Addressing these potential cultural divides over flexibility is vital to prevent a sense of have and have-not from developing.  

 

Leaders can prevent this possible issue from developing by focusing on a shared culture of “Excellence From Anywhere”. A flexible organization culture that takes into account the nature of an employee’s work and promotes task-based policies, allowing remote work whenever possible, addresses these concerns.  

 

The “Excellence From Anywhere” strategy creates a work culture that focuses on deliverables, regardless of where you work. This shifts focus from the old “time in the office” primary measure of evaluating performance. Doing so also involves adopting best practices for hybrid and remote collaboration and innovation. Boosting such best practices helps integrate employees into a work culture fit for the future of work while fostering good relationships with managers. Research shows these are the most important relationships for employee morale, engagement, and retention.  

 

By valuing deliverables, collaboration, and innovation through a focus on a shared work culture of “Excellence From Anywhere,” you can instil in your employees that as long as you can deliver your assigned tasks on time, it doesn’t matter from where you work. The core idea is to get all of your workforce to pull together to achieve business outcomes: some may need to be in the office and some may not, but the location doesn’t matter, the deliverable is all that matters. This work culture addresses concerns about fairness by reframing the conversation to focus on accomplishing shared goals, rather than the method of doing so. After all, no one wants their colleagues to have to commute out of spite. If the focus is on achievements, rather than methods.  

 

Conclusion

The transition to a hybrid and remote work culture in the post-pandemic recovery leads to the threat of resentment of those who have to come to the office more often to those who come less often. To address such concerns around the amount of time spent in the office requires creating a work culture of “Excellence From Anywhere.” This work culture reframes the conversation to help everyone focus on pulling together to achieve shared business objectives and prioritizing deliverables rather than where and how you work.  

 

Key Takeaway

 

Hybrid and remote work can lead to serious tensions around differences in time spent in the office. To address this, leaders must create a work culture of “Excellence From Anywhere” that focuses on deliverables rather than where you work…> Click to tweet

 

Questions to Consider (please share your answers below)

  • What challenges with work culture are you facing in the transition to the future of work?
  • How have you worked to adapt your organization’s work culture to hybrid and remote work?
  • What measures will you take to improve your work culture based on this article?


Image credits: Airfocus

Originally Published at Disaster Avoidance Experts on December 14, 2021.  

 


Bio: Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is a world-renowned thought leader in future-proofing, decision making, and cognitive bias risk management. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-proofing consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts, which specializes in helping forward-looking leaders avoid dangerous threats and missed opportunities. A best-selling author, he wrote Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019), The Blindspots Between Us: How to Overcome Unconscious Cognitive Bias and Build Better Relationships (New Harbinger, 2020), and Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, and other languages. He was featured in over 550 articles and 450 interviews in prominent venues. These include Fortune, USA Today, Inc. Magazine, CBS News, Business Insider, Government Executive, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Time, Fast Company, and elsewhere. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for mid-size and large organizations ranging from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, including 7 as a professor at Ohio State University. You can contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, LinkedIn, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, and gain free access to his “Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace” and his “Wise Decision Maker Course” with 8 video-based modules.

About Dr. Gleb Tsipursky
Known as the Disaster Avoidance Expert, Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is on a mission to protect leaders from dangerous judgment errors known as cognitive biases, which devastate bottom lines and bring down high-flying careers. His expertise and passion is developing the most effective and profitable decision-making strategies, based on pragmatic business experience and cutting-edge behavioral economics and cognitive neuroscience, to empower leaders to avoid business disasters and maximize their bottom lines. You can learn more here https://disasteravoidanceexperts.com/glebtsipursky/ The bestselling author of several books, Dr. Tsipursky is best known for his national bestseller on avoiding disasters and achieving success in business and other life areas, The Truth Seeker’s Handbook: A Science-Based Guide. His next book, Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters, is forthcoming with Career Press in November 2019. It’s the first book to focus on cognitive biases in business leadership and reveal how leaders can overcome these dangerous judgment errors effectively. After that he’s publishing The Blindspots Between Us: How to Overcome Unconscious Cognitive Bias and Build Better Relationships with New Harbinger in April 2020, the first book to focus on cognitive biases in professional and personal relationships and illustrate how we can defeat these dangerous judgment errors in our relationships. See more information here https://disasteravoidanceexperts.com/author-page/ Dr. Tsipursky’s cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 400 articles he published and over 350 interviews he gave to popular venues that include Fast Company, CBS News, Time, Scientific American, Psychology Today, The Conversation, Business Insider, Government Executive, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Inc. Magazine, and many others, as you can see here https://disasteravoidanceexperts.com/media/ Dr. Tsipursky's expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, speaking, and training for businesses and nonprofits. He serves as the CEO of the boutique consulting, coaching, and training firm Disaster Avoidance Experts, which uses a proprietary methodology based on groundbreaking research to help leaders and organizations maximize their bottom lines by addressing potential threats, seizing unexpected opportunities, and resolving persistent personnel problems. His clients include Aflac, Balance Employment Assistance Provider, Edison Welding Institute, Fifth Third Bank, Honda, IBM, International Coaches Federation, Ohio Hospitals Association, National Association of Women Business Owners, Sentinel Real Estate, The Society for Human Resource Management, RealManage, The Columbus Foundation, Vistage, Wells Fargo, the World Wildlife Fund, and over a hundred others who achieve outstanding client results. You can learn more about that here: https://disasteravoidanceexperts.com/about Dr. Tsipursky also has a strong research and teaching background in behavioral economics and cognitive neuroscience with over 15 years in academia, including 7 years as a professor at the Ohio State University and before that a Fellow at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. His dozens of peer-reviewed academic publications include journals such as Behavior and Social Issues, Journal of Social and Political Psychology, and International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy. His civic service includes over 4 years as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Intentional Insights, an educational nonprofit advocating for research-based decision-making in all life areas. He also co-founded the Pro-Truth Pledge, a civic project to promote truthfulness and integrity for individual professionals and leaders in the same way that the Better Business Bureau serves as a commitment for businesses. He serves on the Advisory Board of Canonical Debate Lab and Planet Purpose, and is on the Editorial Board of the peer-reviewed journal Behavior and Social Issues. A highly in-demand international speaker, Dr. Tsipursky has over two decades of professional speaking experience across North America, Europe, and Australia. He gets top marks from audiences for his highly facilitative, interactive, and humor-filled speaking style and the way he thoroughly customizes speeches for diverse audiences. Meeting planners describe Dr. Tsipursky as "very relatable," as "a snap to work with," and as someone who "does everything that you would want a speaker to do." Drawing on best practices in adult learning, his programs address the wide spectrum of diverse learning styles, as attested by enthusiastic client testimonials and references. He regularly shares the stage with prominent leaders, for example recently speaking on a roundtable panel with the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Elhadj As Sy, Chancellor of Austria Brigitte Bierlein, CEO of Penguin Random House Markus Dohle, and billionaire philanthropist and Chair of the Bertelsmann Management Company Liz Mohn. You can learn more about his speaking and see videos here: https://disasteravoidanceexperts.com/speaking/ Dr. Tsipursky earned his PhD in the History of Behavioral Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011, his M.A. at Harvard University in 2004, and his B.A. at New York University in 2002. He lives in and travels from Columbus, OH. In his free time, he enjoys tennis, hiking, and playing with his two cats, and most importantly, he makes sure to spend abundant quality time with his wife to avoid disasters in his personal life. Learn more about him at https://DisasterAvoidanceExperts.com/GlebTsipursky, contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky and Twitter @gleb_tsipursky. Most importantly, help yourself avoid disasters and maximize success, and get a free copy of the “Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace,” by signing up for his free Wise Decision Maker Course at https:// DisasterAvoidanceExperts.com/Subscribe You can read more about the author here.

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