written by
Jenni Murto

Company culture in hybrid work model + 10 tools to enhance it

6 min read

Creating a positive company culture has been a huge topic for some time now, but in the last couple of years with the radical change in how we work it has become an urgent priority. As much as an unexpected risk it is also a great opportunity to redefine the values and remake the culture of an organisation.

Company culture is typically considered a common set of attitudes and behaviours, how we interact and work together within an organisation. It’s the shared ethos of an organisation, or as simply described on Forbes “the environment that surrounds us all the time”. Difficult to measure and with hybrid work models more challenging to strengthen than ever, yet one of the most important assets to any company looking to succeed in 2022.

But where do we start?

Let’s look at something we can measure.

This may or may not come as a surprise to some of us but in addition to the increased overall happiness and better work-life balance of employees hybrid work brings along with it many other short and long term benefits. According to the most recent studies flexible and hybrid work models in fact increase productivity, engagement and therefore results and success for both the organisation and employees. Employers also have access to a much more diverse and larger talent pool.

Furthermore an estimated 26% of workers prefer to work fully remote, 25% fully in the office, and 49% want a hybrid work model. However, hybrid alone may not be enough for many. The number 1 requirement for employees returning to the office in 2021 was the flexibility to set their own preferred work hours and office days.

And finally; the biggest concern for remote employees are weaker coworker relationships and fewer career advancement opportunities. We think this is a pretty good place to start tackling the challenge. Below we’ve listed some of the most important issues to start considering while improving company culture in hybrid work places, and introduce some of our favourite tools to make it all easier.

Healthy company culture requires inclusivity and psychological safety

In 1986 inexperienced operators unequipped to deal with a simulated power shutdown of a power plant feared the authority too much to raise their concerns. They made a series of protocol mistakes which resulted in the Chernobyl Disaster. A culture of fear and a need to please the leaders pervaded across the country at the time. This is a very serious example, but a lesson any leader should take to heart. A lack of psychological safety will do irrevocable damage to your team, and by extension, your company.

According to Professor Amy Edmondson of Harvard Business School psychological safety is “a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish someone for speaking up”. All research from the last couple of decades come to the same result; An organisation that nurtures a culture of respect, healthy dialog and constructive learning will benefit from teams that are higher-performing, innovative, engaged and adaptive.

People no longer leave their identity and values at the work place door – physical or virtual. Promoting psychological safety means promoting employee health; mental, emotional and physical. Ensure your employees feel safe to be themselves and they will also be far more likely to be happy, motivated and stay with the company long term.

Ensure equal visibility and opportunity

Recently companies have seen growing concern that remote employees may be treated unfairly, intentionally or not. Perhaps employees spending more time in the office are seen as the more dedicated and motivated team members. Many remote employees worry they will be unfairly overlooked for opportunities and promotions. According to recent studies this may well be the case.

In reality different employees work best under different conditions. The companies ahead of others in the game empower employees to choose how they work best while recognising the efforts of all employees. People need to feel a sense of fairness from their leaders, and know that opportunities and support are equally available to all. It will require visibility; you will need to make sure the leaders are accessible and present, as well as employees being seen and heard whether in-office or remote. Communication and transparency of the expectations and the outcomes of work are also essential.

It is important to rethink what connection and communication mean to your team and organisation, as there will be no true “return to normal”.

Embed the necessary technology and digital fluency to facilitate connection from all angles

Technology has further enabled the transition to remote or hybrid work models for all. The teams that understand its role in enhancing the employee experience and communication will thrive. It is essential to make sure your teams are digitally fluent and provided with a thoughtfully curated selection of tools. The tools should be easy to adopt and full of value to best serve your specific needs.

In a hybrid model we need to think about our method of communication as much as the tools we use. We need to ensure we’re not only sharing what we need people to know; but also deliver it in a way that is easy to digest. With so many tools for sharing, communication, connecting and collaborating, some crystal clear digital boundaries and expectations of how everyone should communicate truly matter. One of the excellent ways to do this is implementing a writing culture, which we will be talking about more in upcoming articles.

Lucky for us, there are endless fantastic tools available to choose from already, and plenty more to come. Below we’ve listed the 10 tools we use, in no specific order. Detailed product reviews and tips as well as updates to the list will follow in the coming weeks.

Until then let us know your thoughts and please share any recommendations you might have, we’d love to hear it.

10 tools to enhance company culture and effortless collaboration

1. Around
A video call app loved by our whole team. It’s designed to be inclusive and help hybrid-remote teams collaborate and connect. Collaboration or keeping in touch while you still need to be productive focusing on your own screen is easy and delightful. Around does not take over your screen and allows your team members to call from their own laptop in the same room without echo. Goodbye awkwardly standing around one computer, drowning in noise and sounding far from the mic, hello engaging meetings and painless collaboration for remote and in-office workers alike.

2. Notion
The almighty customisable workspace and ultimate productivity tool for knowledge management, documentation and collaborative writing. Or website management, project management and scheduling. What you need, Notion will be.

3. Miro
The unlimited whiteboard for efficient and enjoyable online collaboration, workshops and brainstorming. See what your team members are doing, seamlessly collaborate live. Intuitive and easy for any new user, this tool quickly enhances creative brainstorming for individuals and teams.

4. Fellow
For building collaborative meeting agendas, note taking and individual workflow integration.

5. Grain
Allows you to record Zoom, get transcripts, and clip & share the most important bits in real time.

6. Otter.ai
Your virtual assistant taking automated meeting notes allowing everyone to be present and focused.

7. Loom
An excellent tool for when diaries don’t line up, and you don’t have time to write a wall of text. With Loom you can explain well, respond quickly, share efficiently and connect personally – and still save time.

8. Slack
The centre of your virtual office that needs no introduction.

9. Standuply
A Slackbot for virtual automated standups and surveys, which allows our distributed team to be flexible with asynchronous team meetings and check ins.

10. Zoom
The topic of endless memes and the cause of levels of awkwardness none of us knew to expect in 2019. And yes, an important conference tool for our external meetings.

company culture hybrid work employee retention employee experience psychological safety