Cultivating In-Person and Remote Workplace Culture

First off–we’re all a work in progress. And that’s ok. Deep breath.

Alright, now that the pressure’s off, let’s talk about in-person and remote office work culture.

As a studio of creatives, visionaries, and outside-the-box thinkers living in a virtual-friendly world, we know first-hand how difficult it is to nail down the perfect recipe for seamless in-office-plus-remote work culture and comradery. In our field, collaboration is the lifeblood, and finding the right flow between our in-person and home offices can be tricky and at times, downright awkward.

True to our Bolder heart and soul, we choose to embrace this quirky, modern-day work challenge no different than the rest of them – diving in head–and heart–first.

We refuse to let fear keep us from trying new ways of connecting as a hybrid team, and our entire team is committed to candid (and sometimes uncomfortable) conversations. Since we believe our studio of individuals functions as one complete unit, each part must be connected for the whole to thrive. Connection is, after all, what all of us are after, and our professional connections are not immune from the innate desire to be seen, heard, and to contribute.

And so, now that the existential piece of this blog post is covered, it is with great humility we present to you our tips for navigating a hybrid workplace culture.

  1. Trust your team. Working from a home office presents unique work-life boundary challenges, particularly if there are family members at home, a load of laundry that needs done, or a pet know...But there is always give-and-take, and the remote workers don’t have the social breaks and friendly banter that come with being in-office. Judge the productivity of your remote employees by their quality of work and whether they are hitting their deadlines. Chances are if there’s a daytime conflict, like a kid’s soccer game, they’ll put in the time after regular hours.
  2. Befriend Look, you won’t get it right all the time. Our advice? Don’t expect to. When it goes off-track, own it. Re-state your desire and commitment to cultivate the best possible company culture given the physical restrictions and challenges. We’ll be the first to admit that the road to workplace utopia is bumpy at times. But our team has agreed to keep growing and learning and evolving.
  3. Eat your humble pie. If you want to avoid a highly pressurized situation, check in regularly with your team, and actually listen when you invite feedback. If you’re afraid to ask your crew what they feel they need or lack, you don’t just have issues for today, you have issues coming tomorrow. Not every request is automatically written on stone tablets, either. Often, being heard and understood is the bulk percentage of the need. Which leads us to number four.
  4. Compromise when you can. Validate even if you can’t. There are some real, practical, logistical differences between in-person and remote work life. But small shifts that help folks feel connected can produce sustainable, and beautiful, culture change.
  5. Be brave (aka vulnerable). Encourage honesty within your team. But before that, model it. Bold, kind, intentional, thoughtful, open, reasonable, honorable...aren’t these the characteristics that get people to really come together and go at something with passion and purpose?

Now that you’re feeling uber inspired, here are a few fun ideas to foster hybrid office culture that we’ve tried along the way:

  • Virtual happy hour
  • If in-office morning meeting pastries are provided, send virtual employees an Uber-eats gift certificate to order their own (or reimburse them)
  • Send packages to virtual employees’ homes with a “do not open until” date, and have the entire office open gifts at the same time
  • Set aside time and budget for virtual “coffee” with departments, one-on-ones, etc.

As Bob Dylan put it, “The Times They Are a-Changin." Hybrid office culture isn’t going away. Lean into the challenge and try to have some fun with it (together).