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The 6 Secrets of Successful Hybrid Workplaces

September always feels like the start of a new year, with a shift to cooler weather and kids returning to school. This year that feeling feels like it has been multiplied with not only kids returning to their old stomping grounds, but adults too… and often in new “hybrid workplace” scenarios.

Organizations are working to determine the best way to move forward into a new world of work, whether it is through a full return to the office, hybrid workplaces or any number of various hotel or hot desking style situations that come complete with sanitization and distancing protocols.How to make the hybrid workplace work for your team

With the looming uncertainty, we asked some of our organizational culture experts to weigh in with their top tips on a shift towards a hybrid work environment. 

  1. Empathy – “We have to pay more attention than ever before to clues that someone might be struggling on our team or that someone might have anxiety about coming back into the office. Key is to make the time we do spend in the office more collaborative and meaningful,” according to organizational culture expert Adrian Gostick
  2. Trust – There are countless teams that have never set foot in the same room as a whole team, and many more who have never met any of their co-workers in person, and this may be the norm for a while to come. Building trust in this environment is paramount to the success of any team, and especially important between leaders and their teams. Organizational Psychologist Dr. Gary Bradt has helped teams around the world learn to build this trust both in person and virtually.
  3. Engagement – Leadership speaker Mark Thompson synthesizes this into the concept of engagement. As teams are scattered around the world in some cases, connecting with empathy with one’s teammates and employees builds trust and ultimately creates great organizations who perform at their peak.  
  4. CommunicationClear and honest communication is key from the beginning, says Dr. Tasha Eurich, best selling author of “Insight” and keynote speaker on leadership and self awareness. “ Employers should explain the reason behind bringing employees to the office as well as set clear expectations from the team when working from home. In turn, employees should communicate how working from home keeps them productive and motivated. And since circumstances and expectations are constantly changing as we face new challenges, communication must be an ongoing process.”
  5. Expectations -Clinical Psychologist Dr. Nicole Lipkin takes this clear communication one step further by advocating for clear and open conversations between leaders and teams because having to “mind read expectations only sets people up for failure.” Examples of positive expectation setting include impactful “expectation conversations” that go both ways (e.g., this is what I expect from you and this is what you can expect from me – and visa versa).” While these conversations may seem somewhat daunting at first, the benefits will be felt across all levels of your team.
  6. Accountability – While these tips may seem high on the emotional scale, they do drill down to actual metrics that need to be tracked according to Dr. Jessica Kriegel, organizational culture expert. “We can’t shy away from the bottom line: outcomes,” she says. “By  identifying the metrics for success instead of the activity we can foster innovation and ownership which will raise engagement and ultimately ROI.”

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to how to return to, or if it is even necessary to return to, the workplace. The New World of Work is constantly shifting and changing, and flexibility remains the top priority for all of us. 

Our keynote speakers are here to help you find solutions and to offer guidance on how to best navigate these new challenges.


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    Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866-727-7555 or [email protected]