man working from home joins a video call with his colleagues

How to Adapt and Support a Flourishing Team in a New Landscape

Wondering how to seamlessly weave culture into your new, hybrid workplace?

“Leaders must recognize that thriving in the new era of work depends on being open to new formulas for building and maintaining strong culture.” – Harvard Business Review, WFH Doesn’t Have to Dilute Your Corporate Culture by Pamela Hinds and Brian Elliott

The pandemic may have forced many organizations to operate remotely, and while at first, the idea might have seemed problematic for some folks, it’s proven to be a useful way to operate for many reasons. A hybrid working model that embraces the best of both worlds – remote and in-office work – demonstrates flexibility, adaptability, and trust, many characteristics that attract talent. Adapting to the new normal might seem as simple as including virtual links in your meeting emails, but in reality, it will prove to be more nuanced when put to practice, particularly when it comes to organizational culture.

So, how can you optimize your hybrid workspace while keeping culture at the forefront? This article will tell you everything you need to know and more.

Defining the Hybrid Workplace

The concept of a hybrid team is the idea that staff are scheduled for both remote and in-office work, depending on the day. The ratio of remote vs. office work for the week is determined by the employer and employee based on role requirements, meetings, the businesses’ space limitations, and other health and safety factors. This type of workplace model can either be a fixed solution that has made its way into corporate policy or a temporary solution for the challenges of transitioning back into the office.

There has been lots of buzz about the benefits and drawbacks of hybrid work, but ultimately, this modernized model means more flexibility for the workforce. Whether staff are looking to have an easier transition to the traditional office space after months of growing accustomed to remote work or they want to cut costs on transportation, late daycare fees, and lost time in transit to and from the office – one thing is clear – a hybrid environment allows staff to maintain a healthy work-life balance without sacrifice.

The Future of Hybrid Work

People have changed their expectations when it comes to what they want their work experience to look like. Let’s take a look at what the workforce is looking for when it comes to hybrid work.

Options and control

Being given a choice of where to work or a flexible hybrid working schedule empowers employees to take control of their lives.

The majority of workers – 72% in fact – want more flexibility that comes with the hybrid working model. While roughly 12% of employees are eager to get back to traditional working models, many employees have grown accustomed to remote work and its flexibility and still wish to incorporate that in the post-pandemic reality of work.

What’s great to see is that 87% of business leaders will adopt more flexibility when it comes to remote and in-office working schedules, but the question is, how will they strengthen culture among a split team?


Returning to the office needs to be met with the promise of improved cleanliness and other health and safety measures. People need to feel confident in their organization’s pandemic-aware policies and have a clear understanding of new safety standards that help prevent the spread and transmission of disease. Employers should also think about designing safer workspaces and meeting rooms with the intention of mitigate the transmission of diseases.

In fact, priorities for health and safety have shifted among the workforce, with 70-73% of people primarily concerned about air quality, adherence to safety protocols, facility cleanliness, and physical distancing.

health and safety priorities - percentages for the workplaceSource: Steelcase, Work Better


One of the top reasons for returning to the office in a hybrid model is to connect with colleagues and the organization as a whole to be a part of one shared purpose.


Since the pandemic, the workforce has yearned to achieve meaningful accomplishments in their careers. However, the trials and tribulations of the crisis lead to ordered remote work leading to a 14% decline in engagement and a 12% decline in productivity. That’s likely the notion of returning to work has sparked a desire in people to work in a collaborative environment that is sensible and realistic, enabling a sense of value and purpose in their work.


Working from home has been uncomfortable for a few reasons, but a big factor is the fact that most of our homes aren’t set up for an 8-hour office space. Pre-pandemic, 40% of people said they needed to change positions in the office frequently. Now, we’re left to make do with make-shift desks, kitchen chairs, and other home office “furnishings” that lead to poor posture and overall discomfort.

People require a range of postures that enable them to work comfortably, change their setting, and get some physical movement in throughout their workday. Furthermore, they need a quiet space that allows them to focus, free of distractions, in a calming environment.

Employee Experience and Culture in the Hybrid Workplace

How the employee experience relates to company culture for the following roles.

  • C-suite and executive leaders – Be genuine in how you connect, communicate, and engage with people in your organization.
  • Human Resource leaders – Draw in talent, focus on retention, and contribute to positive growth of company culture.
  • Information Technology leaders – Apply structure and organization to enterprise tools using smart technologies focused on UX/UI.
  • Communications leaders – Be transparent and engaging while directing communications with a strong key message and unified brand.

Culture is the glue that holds your organization together. It gives people a sense of community, belonging, and purpose and leads to higher rates of productivity, retention, and employee wellbeing. The employee experience is built on solid culture and is what ultimately leads to business growth and success.

Research shows that when we’re apart from our colleagues, we are less likely to have meaningful connections that satisfy us, and it is more challenging to establish a sense of understanding and purpose in the work we do with each other. When factors like body language, breaks in shared spaces, and brief interactions are absent, we lose a sense of the culture we once had.

To set the tone and steer culture in the right direction, leadership must be heavily involved, engaged, activated, and open. During this pivotal point in our society, there is immense pressure for leadership to have all the answers and navigate the workforce through these challenges with precision. Leaders are left with choosing to either let things unfold and not intervene, reinforce their culture in innovative ways, or use hybrid work as an opportunity to rebuild a new culture.

At the end of the workday, hybrid work is a constant work in progress, so be kind to each other and yourself. We’re all in this together.

Tips on how to strengthen culture in a hybrid environment

Improve internal communication

Communication is the first to struggle when merging a team that is half remote and half in-office. To ensure everyone is on the same page, opt for remote-first communication when providing direction and important company information. Your remote team won’t get the benefit of receiving messages you provide in-person, so utilize messaging apps, team chats, and other collaborative tools with everyone.

Incorporate accountability and set clear expectations for the new normal

Do you feel a sense of purpose when there’s a lack of accountability? Likely not. Accountability means you are needed somewhere and that your work is essential to the overall operations and success of an organization.

Holding that same notion of accountability to your team shows them you’re paying attention, and what they’re doing isn’t going unnoticed. It also provides the foundation for positive work ethic, productivity, and purpose – all crucial to a thriving work culture that people will want to be a part of.

Show empathy and care

Prioritizing mental health has proven to be of utmost importance for longevity, productivity, retention, and overall organizational growth and success—particularly since the pandemic. Employers who fail to emphasize the importance of mental health and employee wellbeing risk losing confidence among their team in their leadership abilities.

“[Supporting employee wellbeing] benefits are discernible in lower insurance premiums, better productivity, less disruption and fewer workplace injuries – which overall leads to a more engaged workforce.” – The Globe and Mail, Investing in employees’ mental health benefits both companies and their workers by John Ferguson
Get the team together informally

Gone are the days of spontaneously bumping into a colleague or new hire in the common rooms of the office. On-the-fly conversations not only offer a brief break from work, but they momentarily make us feel connected until we’re back in front of the computer screen. And isn’t that what the human experience is all about—feeling connected to each other?

As we continue to work in a hybrid environment, leaders must seek out new ways to create space for these types of interactions among their team. Informal interactions are invaluable when it comes to fostering relationships, strengthen networks, collaborating and brainstorming, and feeling like we belong.

Empower and encourage active leadership

To ensure culture is being reinforced at all levels, start with your leadership team. Constantly communicate values and be transparent about expectations going forward with hybrid work. Make room for questions and discussions among your leadership team, and always be open to change. Empowering and encouraging leadership gives them autonomy over their style and manner of leading their team to a unified goal.

Embrace innovation

Our default way of thinking has been challenged like never, so there’s no time like now to shake up the status quo and seize the moment.

Your team members might not all be under one roof – or even in the same time zone – but in hybrid work cultures, leaders who support and facilitate innovation among their teams are proactively maintaining an interactive environment.

Fostering innovation leads to benefits like increased productivity, bursts of creativity, employee wellbeing, and a general sense of purpose in your team. It also means your organization is taking the opportunity to reach new heights.

Manage conflict productively

There’s no doubt that a hybrid working model will leave room for workplace conflict and disputes – but it’s how leaders deal with it and prevent it that makes a world of difference.

Read More: Dealing with Workplace Harassment in Remote Employment

Organizations who are transitioning into a hybrid work model and need advice on how to avoid workplace conflict shouldn’t hesitate to consult a subject-matter expert. It will not only set them up for a successful transition but will ensure the people who make up the organization feel taken care of and prioritized during this change.

Lead by example

You can’t expect the culture you want for your organization to manifest itself without leading the way, can you? By demonstrating behaviour and ideas you wish for your organization as a whole to embody in their work, you’re setting clear examples of what’s tolerated and even expected. If you’re not willing to put in the leg work as a leader, don’t expect your team to either.

The Takeaway

Experiencing the chaos of 2020 and the aftereffects today hasn’t been easy, but it caused us to not only think proactively about the work we do and where we do it, but to reflect on our shared humanity. The crisis turned the world on its head but also made us adapt and reinvent the modern office. Today we see our workspace not solely as a place where business is done, but as a space that fosters a sense of community, resilience, belonging, and purpose.

If your organization is transitioning into a hybrid work model and need professional mediation services regarding a conflict, consulting with a neutral third party will help to resolve distracting, challenging situations and empower all participants involved to settle on an agreeable solution that propels your organization forward.

At Global Mindful Solutions, we have established a process that aims to provide insightful, comprehensive solutions with a compassionate and unbiased approach. This allows everyone involved to focus on getting back to work and continue making a positive contribution to their organization while leading a fulfilling role in their careers.

Contact Global Mindful Solutions to get started with neutral, knowledgeable, and effective mediation and facilitation services.

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