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Thriving, not surviving – a hybrid mentality

By Joanne Wunder

Joanne Wunder

As we optimistically look towards a post-pandemic world, we’re facing some radical shifts in how we live and work. While many aspects of life have returned to ‘normal’, hybrid working is here to stay.

After we swiftly shifted to fully remote working during the pandemic, it wasn’t long before we realised that most teams remained highly or even more productive. At the same time, the increased flexibility meant many could spend less time commuting and more time on personal endeavours.

It has taken a purposeful approach to successfully – and permanently – transform our business while ensuring the happiness, health and continued learning and development of our teams, all in service to our clients and our mission to advance health and well-being around the world.

An inclusive and co-created approach
At the start of the pandemic, we instigated monthly employee forums organised by office and level to give team members a platform to candidly discuss their changing needs and challenges. This helped us identify the need for new training, onboarding protocols, methods and tools to keep
our teams connected and inspired.

Seeking the input from our full team and including them in ideation and planning, facilitated growth and understanding of business operations. It demonstrated how much we truly value their insights and the role they play in shaping our culture – one where every idea is shared, every voice
is heard and every person is valued.

Walking the walk
Adopting and embracing hybrid working required an agile and open-minded approach from everyone. We knew it wasn’t enough to just adjust our technology and working environment, we also needed to create a new mindset and address issues around mental health, resiliency and the importance of connectivity and emotional intelligence.

We conducted a series of leadership training sessions, providing guidance and tools on how to champion an effective hybrid working culture, including maintaining consistent levels of support and recognition for individuals and teams, regardless of location. There was a strong focus on navigating uncertainty and the growing role empathy and understanding play when personal and work life begin to blend.

Flexibility and mental health
We’ve always strived for flexibility for our teams, including through our ‘Work Where You Work Best’ initiative, designed with, and for, the individual. Team members can choose to work fully remotely, in the office, or opt for a hybrid style, to increase flexibility and equity while maximising productivity and creativity. The programme includes monthly equipment stipends and guidance on best practices with the goal of empowering individuals to shape a working model that works best for them and their teams.

We also offer early closures on ‘Summer Fridays’, letting team members disconnect in the early afternoon and get a head start on the weekend. For the first time, alongside our winter week-long closure, we’ve instituted company-wide mental health recharge days. By shutting down the entire organisation for two full days, we’re providing our teams with additional time off to disconnect, so we can continue to bring our best selves to our work.

Shared purpose and connection
Despite all these measures, a major challenge that hybrid working presents is the ability to remain truly connected to one another.

Nurturing our culture and rallying team members behind our greater mission and purpose, especially for new joiners, can be much more difficult. As fantastic as platforms like Zoom and Teams are, physically bringing teams together safely where we can has proven invaluable.

We instigated regular ‘EK Collaboration Days’ each week where we encourage – but not require – teams to gather together to brainstorm, strategise and learn from one another. We also created a series of ‘EK Get Togethers’, bringing together team members in each region to help them get to know each other on a more personal level, give back to local communities and have fun. These in- person opportunities, which complement our continual development, culture and giving back programmes, help strengthen relationships and bonds and increase team engagement.

By embracing this as our new normal and putting key initiatives in place to keep our teams connected, we’ve been able to create a workplace of the future – one that provides equitable opportunities across our teams, whether they work fully remotely, in the office, or anywhere in between.

Evoke Kyne is an award-winning communications agency that harnesses insight, experience and creativity to advance health and well-being around the world. We are part of Evoke, a global brand, experience and communications platform, purpose built to make health more human.

Joanne Wunder is Managing Director, Head of Europe at Evoke Kyne

14th September 2022

From: Marketing


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