For the past 15 months, we have undergone tremendous change. Now, we are shifting into a “new normal” which includes a hybrid workplace for most organizations. You have a nearly unprecedented opportunity to define what is new normal looks like for your organization.
The process of changing an organization has been characterized as unfreezing, reforming and then freezing into the new state. Most of our organizations are currently in a state of slush. As we move into this hybrid workplace, there are many things that need to be decided. It is important that you not allow these decisions to be made by default (trying to match the pre COVID culture). As leaders, be purposeful in shaping the culture that serves the organization going forward.
Take time to reflect back to where and how your organization has been at its best during the past year or so. From that place of strength, work to define a clear vision for the future of the organization. Do not be afraid to make the extraordinary the new norm of your culture.
How will the Hybrid Workplace Support the Values?
Many organizations have values that are great on paper, but the reality is that the culture did not reflect them. Ask yourself, do these espoused values still resonate with the organization and the brand? If not, change them to create a concise set of expectations as to how we interact with our work, our co-workers and our stakeholders. Moving forward, leverage these values as a cornerstone for the decisions we make around policy and structure in our hybrid world.
Create Opportunities for Connection
Vital to the success of the hybrid office is the idea of teamwork and cross department collaboration. To achieve these outcomes, you need to be purposeful in creating connection within your team, between departments and one-on-one. Which meetings will be in-person, and when will they be scheduled? Be clear on the purpose and expectations for the different types of meetings. Ensure there is time for connection at the personal level. If you have not created the habit of meeting with each direct report at least once every two weeks, make that a priority. This one-on-one meeting is about connection, listening to what they are proud of and what challenges they foresee over the next couple of weeks.
One aspect of a healthy culture is that decision-making and action appear rational throughout the organization. As you set out to work with your team, to create this new culture, Connect the Dots between the vision, values and the way you will work together. This will be received as a very heathy, rational approach.