For many companies and their employees, the way we work has shifted dramatically in the past two years. As we transition to "the new normal," many companies are working with a hybrid model and having their employees visit the office only a few days a week. So, with all these changes and less time together in-person, how do we make sure to maintain a strong workplace culture?
The importance of places & spaces
The office used to be the center of our work universe. It was the central location we went to do our jobs and see our colleagues. We gathered in conference rooms and break rooms. We said hi in the hallways. We passed by people's desks just to see how they were doing.
We may not have realized it at the time, but PLACE played a very important role in developing company culture.
While going into the office used to be a no-brainer—it was just the way we did business!—it is now not a guarantee. More employees are working from home entirely or only visiting the office a few days a week. So, without a place where you know you're going to see and meet with your colleagues, how do you make them feel more connected and together?
Be purposeful about connecting.
Let's start by accepting that your company just may not get the same frequency or quantity of in-person connection opportunities in the modern workplace. If not everyone is present in the office every day, you simply won't have those organic moments that happen between coworkers. But that's okay. Because you can trade quantity for quality.
Since you can no longer rely on being casual and spontaneous, be intentional about connecting! Make sure you have a robust and regular schedule of events and celebrations that make your employees want to come into the office or see each other. Give them options, give them opportunities, and make them feel and see the value of developing personal relationships beyond just the responsibility of day-to-day work.
So what does "being purposeful" look like?
You can plan a mix of events virtually AND in-person so that everyone has the chance to enjoy them. Consider everything from fun events and parties to connection activities to all hands/staff meetings. Or organize a corporate team or private tournament in your favorite sports league and then make your weekly game day THE big day that your whole team comes to the office.
You can also aim for more regularly-scheduled company retreats to bring everyone together for a mix of strategic thinking time, work time, and fun time. On a personal note, we had one of these retreats back in October, and it was a total game-changer to see everyone in-person, integrate new hires and feel the energy. We're having our next one in a couple of weeks.
We know it may seem daunting and overwhelming to plan these things, but once you get started, these moments of connection will become more natural and will become part of your company's culture. Your people will look forward to these events and opportunities and then will take it upon themselves to build stronger relationships and take initiative to plan the next get-together. You have to start somewhere and sometime. So, why not start right now?
Want help building out your calendar of events or strengthening the connections and culture in your company? We're here to help!
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