Thanks to the benefits for both employers and employees, it’s almost safe to say that hybrid work is here to stay. Hybrid work arrangements promise organizations the benefits of remote working such as labor-cost optimization, increased flexibility, and employee satisfaction alongside the strengths of co-located work like face-to-face collaboration and smoother coordination. However, there’s an important aspect affected – cultural socialization.
According to Gallup: “Employees who have a best friend at work are 7x more likely to be engaged”.
It’s not a secret that lack of cultural socialization is causing employees to suffer emotionally. Socialization makes employees more engaged, which is one of the keys to high organizational performance. When people are in the office, the energy is pulsing, helping us flourish our instincts. A coffee break with a colleague lets us bond on a personal level and allows us to share different perspectives on work-related topics such as company strategy, customers, and events.
For someone, this might sound like a productivity killer, but MIT research finds that workplace chatter, even the idle kind, increases productivity.
Social interaction is still possible virtually when we are separated, but it’s harder to maintain it than in a co-located environment. To maintain social connections in hybrid working situations, leaders must encourage employees to be intentional about building their networks. Multiple activities can help leaders achieve this goal:
As you can see, possibilities to socialize in a hybrid workplace are almost countless, limited only by your imagination. But there’s one more thing you should account for – managers’ time.
As we have seen in co-located environments, socialization should happen naturally. Conversations over a cup of coffee are usually spontaneous, not inspired by some nudge from a manager. We want to keep it this way in hybrid workplaces as well.
That’s the reason we’ve developed Intervy – a chatbot that makes cultural socialization for hybrid teams easy. Through gamification, Intervy helps connect employees from different departments and brings them together for various networking discussions and cross-functional learning opportunities. What’s even better, you can see it with your own eyes – it takes 5 minutes to get started.