3 October 2022

Hybrid vs Culture

It’s easy to forget that hybrid working was still relatively rare just a few years ago. Now, an incredible 77% of companies have adopted a hybrid working model, with an “at-will” policy being the most popular.

Companies across the globe, including McCann Synergy, have recognised the benefits hybrid brings to the business and employees alike. But despite the advantages, there’s one area that’s still a work-in-progress: company culture.

Here’s what we know about the impact of hybrid so far, and how to make sure your company culture can rise to the challenge.

On employees

It’s clear – most employees love the flexibility and time/money savings that come with hybrid working. Cisco reports that over half say the change has decreased their stress levels, while 64% say it saves them around 4+ hours per week. Nearly 75% also report better family relationships – a major factor in improving people’s happiness. However, on the downside, 70% say they’ve not seen an improvement in work/life balance, because working from home makes it difficult to switch off.

On performance

A survey of 4000 business and HR leaders found that remote and hybrid working provided a short-term productivity boost in most workplaces. Fifty-seven percent said their organisation had performed better against workforce performance and productivity targets over the past 12 months, compared to just 4% who said their company performed significantly worse. Meanwhile, 64% said it had improved engagement.

On recruitment and retention

According to Momentive, 52% of employees would leave their current job if their employer insisted on an in-office return. And in research by PwC, 83% of employers said the move to remote working was successful for their company, not least because the ability to work remotely opened up a wider pool of potential candidates. Perhaps inevitably, hybrid is also changing the types of candidates employers are looking for, with companies like Galactic Fed using several rounds of tests and interviews to make sure recruits are self-starters.

On work design and collaboration

One of the trends we’re seeing in work design, is for companies to push for time together to be purpose-driven, productive and focused on outcomes, not activities. For those connection moments that you plan on being face to face, an incredible 88% of companies are using incentives to get their folks back on-site. According to Envoy, the most popular are:

  • Food and beverage programs (56%)
  • Social events (42%)
  • Company events (41%)
  • Furniture and amenities including standing desks etc (40%)
  • Revamped office environments including music, social spaces etc (39%)
 What this means for culture

There’s one area where hybrid needs additional attention: company culture. Seventy-five percent of employees say their company needs to rethink culture and mindset to make hybrid truly inclusive. Intentionality, effort and consistency are key. Companies need to craft moments of connection, collaboration and creativity – both in person and virtually. In an interview with HRD, Ariana Huffington said: “Company culture can survive in a hybrid world, but it’s only going to thrive when a company is deliberate about replacing social capital and serendipitous connection with new, intentional rituals.”

Our own culture experiment

At McCann Synergy, we used a three-day, in-person event to intentionally build our important social bonds and connect our people to each other as well as our business. Called Syndig (a play on the word shindig), it was co-created by teams and centred on connection, creativity and fun (lots of games, food and music for a festival feel), inspiration and collaboration. We used elements of the McCann Synergy ‘10 Dimensions of Culture’ Audit to measure impact: 92% felt more connected to colleagues, and 72% felt they could work through challenges together. Get in touch for the full case study.

Need some support?

If hybrid working is creating challenges for your culture, our new Culture Audit Solution is an easy way to get on track.  To discuss your culture needs, get in touch.

Blair Meyler
Head of Growth


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