Maintaining the social bond in the age of hybrid work
Hybrid work, which combines remote and on-site work, has established itself in many companies, but not without raising several concerns. How can the social bond be maintained and nurtured in these new conditions?
The social bond lies at the very heart of corporate performance—be it a team member’s attachment to the organization or the human ties forged between and among coworkers. It ensures the group’s cohesion, fosters the well-being and commitment of employees, and encourages fruitful cooperation. In some cases, it is so strong that it acts as a shield in crisis situations.
It is thus not without concern that some leaders and managers observe that a hybrid work organization is establishing itself durably, in which team members spend a significant portion of their time working remotely. Certainly, most companies continue to insist on a minimum of two days of office presence. But is this sufficient to ensure the socialization of teams, the diffusion of a common culture, quality collaborations? One thinks of the unfortunate remote working experience of Yahoo!, which many observers blamed for the slowdown in innovation from the former star of the internet’s early days.
Although these preoccupations are legitimate ones, they must not boil the notion of the social bond down to presence in the office. For a start, this bond is created through all kinds of interactions, including those conducted from afar—so long as the participants invest the appropriate amount of attention into them. In fact, some companies such as IBM or the MAIF did not wait for the pandemic to make the move to widespread remote working, while preserving strong homogeneity. The American software publisher WordPress even closed its headquarters and committed to fully remote work as early as 2017. Furthermore, the fact of being present together in a shared space in no way guarantees good socialization. Some companies have learned this at their expense: charged with returning to the office after the pandemic, their employees still failed to reinvest themselves. Some even see here the explanation for the great wave of resignations that marked the end of the health crisis.
In point of fact, the social bond needs to be nurtured. And the move to hybrid work is an opportunity to wholly rethink the ways in which we create and foster it with our team members.
In this synopsis:
– Three false good ideas to maintain the bond in hybrid teams
– Preserving strong bonds within hybrid working teams
– Showing empathy from a distance
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