WFH, WFO, WFA? Strengthening culture in a hybrid-working world

Hybrid working is here to stay. But while we’ve solved many of the technological challenges faced by having team members located in multiple locations, now it’s time to move the story on and start thinking about how we can really thrive and innovate in this brave new world.

That there are concerns about the pandemic-accelerated shift to new ways of working isn’t surprising. It’s relatively new in its current scale, and people are increasingly worried about the softer emotional and cultural implications.

For many of us, there’s much to be said for the energy you get by being in a room with other people. For others, working from home – or working from anywhere – has opened up myriad opportunities.

There are compelling arguments in support of both, which is probably why we’re seeing the hybrid model gain so much traction (people who used to go into the office for five days are now, on average, spending closer to two). When it suits someone to work quietly from home, they can do so. When in-real-life collaboration and team building are required, they can come in.

There are logistical issues, of course. There’s no point coming into the office if everyone else is working from home that day. But that’s more of a spreadsheet job. While advances in tech have meant we can work effectively and securely from remote locations, there are still the social issues we need to contend with.

We’re reinventing the way we communicate internally; the way we share information and interact. The pandemic has speeded up the need for a review of how organisations relate to their people, no matter where they happen to sit.

Tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Chat have come into their own, but organisation chiefs still need to find ways to guarantee employees feel as though they’re a part of something. That they work for someone, and not just anyone.

That starts from day one, with onboarding strategies. Remote working has expanded everyone’s reach when it comes to the search for talent, and tech solutions make certain parts of the process straightforward. But what about social integration and extolling the ancillary benefits of joining a company? The friendships forged, the post-work G&Ts on a Friday night, the fun stuff?

Maintaining employee inspiration is another issue that needs to be looked at. Research shows that homeworking is highly productive, but employees still need to be inspired, to feel supported and engaged. Or what’s to stop them from moving on?

In the spirit of developing some firm strategies to help those who run organisations reach the right solutions, Blue Goose is hosting a hybrid panel-led gathering, with pre- and post-event food and drink, on Thursday 21 July at 2.30pm. You can attend in person or tune in from afar, and we’ll be considering the ways effective communication and engagement can help address these modern workplace conundrums.

We’ll also be asking for feedback, and evaluating the different experiences attendees had depending on whether they were in the room, zooming in on the day, or watching a recording later. So it’ll be an experiment on the merits of a hybrid approach in itself.

Be sure to register your interest and get further details here.

Meet our panellists!

Philip Anderson
COO, Legal and General Retirements Institutional and Capital

Philip is a senior transformation and change leader, with vast experience in operational leadership in financial services, telecommunications and health insurance.

Alice Colarusso
Head of Internal Communications, ITV

Alice leads global internal communications across the ITV group, spanning both ITV Studios – one of the world’s largest commercial production companies – and ITV as the UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster. ITV is undergoing huge digital transformation and cultural change.

James Radford
Chief of Staff, St John Ambulance

James is an expert in strategy and consumer behaviour, with 15 years of senior advisory experience within the private, public and voluntary sectors.

Natalie Whitty
Ex-Strategy, Communications and Marketing Director, RSA

Natalie’s experience spans corporate strategy, ESG and public affairs, as well as internal communications and engagement – bringing fresh, strategic insights to senior leaders across a range of sectors.