More than half (53%) of managers of remote and hybrid teams are investing in workplace culture due to the pandemic and reaping the rewards in productivity, staff engagement, and improved retention, reveals a recent study by SaaS-based global employment partner Omnipresent and Remote Social, whose engagement platform offers a variety of ways for teams to connect and strengthen culture and well-being.
The report, How managers are investing in remote and hybrid team success, reveals that productivity, work-life balance and communication are all common pain points for managers, but managers see tangible benefits from their investments in their teams.
More than 62% of managers claim they have seen the most benefit in productivity and profitability, and invest an average of US$51-100 per employee, per month in workplace culture. These teams are also benefiting from a good work-life balance (52%) and half of the teams (50%) have seen improved internal communication.
Communication and collaboration continue to be pain points
Both hybrid and fully remote teams, however, are struggling in some key areas. Even if they have seen improvements in workplace culture, 70% of fully remote workers and 57% of hybrid workers claim they lack work communication and collaboration opportunities, or tools to do their work effectively. The report highlights how workplace communication and collaboration require consistent strategy development.
“For remote and hybrid organisations, intentionality is key when strengthening company culture and giving purpose to employees to help drive their daily decision-making. Employers must be deliberate in how and what they communicate with staff, while also delivering the tools and opportunities staff need to feel part of a team and work toward a shared goal,” says Kate Gray, head of people and talent at Omnipresent.
“While strong intent is key, it’s not simply a case of spending more on generic workplace strategies or practices that were once implemented on-site. Cultural strategies should be tailored to teams’ specific needs. Hybrid team managers in particular need to be thinking about challenges that are inclusive of both their on-site and off-site employees and consider how logistical elements - like benefits, resources, and equipment - may need to differ as a result.”
Correlation between increased budgets on culture and collaboration
Employers recognise the correlation between increased budgets and spending on culture and collaboration. Forty-nine percent of managers investing more in workplace culture said COVID had a positive impact on collaboration. Managers investing more in workplace culture for their remote and hybrid teams are more intentional in their approach as a whole leading to improved overall communication and collaboration.
While many global managers fear that remote and hybrid work prevents camaraderie among team members, compared to on-site team benefits, the report shows that it does not automatically lead to a breakdown in personal connections. Investing in an inclusive workplace environment for on-site, remote and hybrid teams helps employees feel like they are all part of the same company ecosystem.
“Fostering effective communication, and social interactions are vital to building a successful and productive team culture. The challenge remains in creating a culture that’s inclusive in how it supports both on-site and remote staff. Managers now need to be conscious of creating a workplace environment that doesn’t simply emulate the physical office; it’s essential to ask employees directly what they would find most useful and build your strategy from there,” says Mike Fitzbaxter, co-founder at Remote Social.
“Ultimately, remote and on-site workplaces are different environments, but they’re part of the same ecosystem. By intentionally supporting employees regardless of their location, a business can benefit from a truly innovative and thriving workplace culture.”
The report includes responses from 1,192 HR managers and company leaders from the UK, Australia, USA and Canada.