Businesses seem to be settling into some variation of hybrid work arrangements. The most common arrangement seems to be two to three days each week in the office. That said, many of these same businesses are still struggling to make in-office time feel meaningful and not just a blind requirement to be in the office.
We suggest using these 4 C’s to help design in-office work time to boost meaning, engagement, and contribution.
Nothing fuels the creation process like in-person interactions. Use in-office time to create new plans, new strategies, new designs, new processes, new improvements, etc. The positive energy and emotional connection of working toward a common goal face-to-face are unparalleled.
By its nature, celebrating infers a group activity. Find small and big reasons to celebrate.
Celebrate business achievements like new market rollouts, hitting big project milestones, or achieving a community service goal. Also celebrate personal achievements like birthdays, work anniversaries, or learning a new skill.
Don’t stop there. Celebrate not only people’s contributions but also celebrate who they are. This includes your team members’ roles outside of the office as a community leader, parent, caretaker, volunteer, coach, mentor, etc.
Receivers of communications assign importance to the message based on the medium that is used to relay that message. So, the message is in the medium, and in-person communication is the most compelling medium.
For example, don’t use an email for an initial kick-off of a new strategic plan, product, or company-wide initiative. Instead, use in-office time to communicate important matters to create more engagement. Use email to reinforce the message afterward.
Listen! This is an often-forgotten portion of the communication process. In-office time lends itself particularly well to listening to what a team member is really saying because you can pick up on a multitude of cues that virtual interactions do not facilitate.
Today’s worker wants a coach, not a boss. Coaching should happen daily, but schedule formal monthly or quarterly discussions in person, if feasible.
Be more specific than you think you need to be about work and performance expectations while in and away from the office. With fewer opportunities to observe workplace norms, new workers have more social anxiety about how to handle themselves while in the office.
At least annually your coaching discussion should focus on another “C” – career. Ask questions about personal aspirations, opportunities for growth, and how the team member’s natural gifts can best serve the organization.
So, whether your team is in the office together once a quarter or once a week, use these 4 C’s to intentionally design that time to be meaningful to the business and to the team.