Everything in the workplace depends on connection, but how do you do that in the new way of working?

Head-of-People-&-Culture-Charlotte-Jacobs-Hoffman

Charlotte Jacobs-Hoffman | Head of People & Culture

December 3, 2021

The new (partial) lockdown announced by our outgoing cabinet got me thinking. Especially about the one and a half years that are now behind us. These past twenty months of the pandemic have turned our office upside down. But not always in a negative sense, I think.

In a short period of time, for example, we switched almost entirely to a hybrid way of working. In doing so, our employees demonstrated more than ever how change-minded they really are. One part of the week is conducted from home or another place, and the rest of your work is done from the office. It may sound easier than it is, because we have seen that the experiences differ greatly from person to person.

Real people without screens

Of course, there are plenty of employees who manage to switch with a smile. With energy and a sense of innovation, this group usually quickly adapts to working in the new reality. However, a significant number of employees still seek the need for contact and interaction. With real people, without screens or mobiles. It’s no coincidence that we prefer to conduct business live, and that also applies to organising a creative brainstorm. Much more enjoyable.

We see the possibility to catch up with colleagues ‘live’ and task performance as the main reasons for going back to the office. But of course it also offers the opportunity – even if it’s only for a short while – to be in a totally different environment than your home, where the walls are sometimes almost closing in on you. 

Workplaces on subscription

That is why we, at Omnicom PR Group NL (OPRG), choose to always have a number of workstations available at the office. Implemented through a subscription system and with a maximum, so that the necessary measures can be taken to allow everyone to work safely. In this way, autonomy and the decision is returned to the employee. In turn, this increases people’s understanding of, and attachment to, the organisation.

Digital Christmas dinner with hit songs

But how do you maintain the team connection within your organisation if, as now, we so often work remotely? OPRG came up with a number of activities that proved to be quite successful in this regard. Take the informal ‘Walk through the park’ (literally) that we organised. This initiative involved having lunch with a colleague, during which you could also meet other colleagues by chance. Or a digital teambuilding activity, in which we had to solve all kinds of questions in teams (think ‘ranking the colleagues’). It resulted in a lot of laughter and funny pictures in the group app.

But the best event of all – in my opinion – was the annual Christmas dinner. Digital, but still with three courses (which colleagues simply had to warm up at home). Plus bingo night, dressed up and with bad hits playing in the background. And colleagues were not the only ones put in the spotlight during this get-together, our partners or housemates joined us too. In the new normal, they are ultimately the ‘colleagues’ that our employees see around them 24/7.

Continuous change on the work floor

Keeping in touch with your organisation and each other remains the most important aspect in the workplace. Especially now. Changes are constant. In fact, they are only increasing. The greatest challenge within our profession is how to deal with these changes.

5x hybrid working according to OPRG

How do you keep everyone involved and connected with so many changes? At OPRG we rely on these five insights for hybrid working:

  1. Ensure continuous communication flows; all information must be available and retrievable.
  2. Weekly team meetings ensure that everyone has a better idea of what is going on.
  3. Alternate calls, digital meetings and live meetings; give colleagues ownership of the location where they will work.
  4. Brainstorming, as well as organising creative and complex meetings, is preferably done live.
  5. And when emotions are involved, help each other out. Allow enough time and attention to this. 

Would you like to know more about our approach to hybrid working at OPRG? Or are you looking for an agency that can guide your internal change process? Then contact us. An old-fashioned phone call, a MS Teams meeting or a coffee appointment at one and a half metres. Whatever you want!

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Contact us for a phone call, a MS Teams meeting or a coffee appointment

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