Our first Virtual Roundtable with speakers from Sixt and Osram was a great success! We believe we are not the only ones who learned a lot from the discussion between Chris Bieri, CEO of Seatti, Anna Schmitt, Senior Property Manager at Osram and Anica Willman, Executive of New Work at Sixt.
As virtually all other companies, both Sixt and Osram, two of Seatti's biggest clients, had to move to remote work during the pandemic. The typical pre-pandemic in-person-culture and 1:1 desk-employee set up was completely revolutionised as employees had to work from their own homes.
But as the regulations started to loosen, these two companies, as many others, found that there were ways to integrate the newfound liking to remote work, with in-office advantages.
The exchange, moderated by our Co-Founder, overarched topics from New Work taskforces, to home office setup and hybrid work communication. And even though we are a company specialised in leading the future of work through desk sharing and flex office management, we still learnt some new tips and tricks from our speakers.
And we're everything but selfish at Seatti, so we want to share with you what we learnt so you can adapt it to your own new hybrid work model.
1. Try to bring back the "Spirit Culture"
It's possible that for a lot of employees, they have lost the typical office culture: standing around grabbing a cup of coffee, eating lunch with colleagues, walking to the metro together. They have also lost a lot of the in-person events that add to the enthusiasm and fun of work.
Therefore, it is really important to remember to focus on bringing back the "culture of spirit" in a company, when moving towards hybrid work. That means, think about ways in which you can motivate your employees to be excited about work again - and more importantly, to enthuse them to work together.
Maybe it means investing in a tool that allows for "virtual office spaces" in which you can log on and hang out virtually with colleagues. Maybe it means focusing more on creating (Corona-safe) events in the office. Maybe it means organising little competitions or outings for team members where they can remember what it's like to work together in a team and be excited about a project.
2. Give your Employees and yourself Time
Change is usually hard and always takes time. It especially takes patience to adjust everyone to a new transition. You yourself might feel overwhelmed and overloaded with this new adjustment. Therefore, remember to give yourself and your employees time to adapt.
That also includes having open communication with the entire team - including all employees from all departments. Ask the team: How are they dealing with this transition? What can you do to make the transition easier? What is missing from management to ease the transformation?
Create an open line of communication, in which employees can give feedback about the current set-up. And more importantly, before even making this change, think about asking them what they would like the initial set-up to look like - what are their wishes, demands, needs? Remember to include as diverse and broad of a spectrum here, because different people will have different needs that you might not have even thought of.
3. Create a New Work Task Force
Which links us directly to our third point. To deal with this new transition and all of this change, it's good to create a task force that can tackle all of it head on. But this task force should not just include three people from one department. It should be as broad and diverse as possible.
Include people from different departments - facility management, IT, procurement, HR, etc. to really have a broad idea of what needs to be changed and done. Different departments will have different ideas of the demands and needs of new and hybrid work. This way you ensure that your solution is as broad and encompassing as possible.
Try to have bi-monthly or monthly meetings to discuss the new transition, collect feedback and analyse that feedback as well. Bring in the worries and concerns of all employees and decide collectively how to tackle them.
4. Think about the optimal office set up
Now that you are going to be working in a hybrid model, you have to ensure that the office setup is optimal for your employees. For example, think about what you need in meeting rooms to optimise hybrid meetings - video cameras, headsets, microphones. Or what each desk might need, now that you are sharing them.
This also means thinking about how you can give the optimal office setup to employees who are working from home. Should you set up a budget for each employee to buy what they might need? Or should you rather buy all the necessary set up yourself and give this to employees?
There's also the option of creating mobile work, which means giving employees the option of working from anywhere - not restraining them to their own home office. This however brings with it the necessity of buying, for example, a wireless set up (headset, mouse, keyboard).
5. Create "Hybrid Hacks"
Once this feedback has been collected, you can set up "Hybrid Hacks": certain rules that should be included in the new hybrid work model. For example, an overarching company policy of how many days employees should come into the office.
Ensure to make these rules equal for all. All employees should have the same policies and same regulations. That includes avoiding proximity bias as well - favouring that which is closer to you, i.e. whoever is in the office more often.
But while rules are good to keep the order and structure, you also have to learn to be flexible to change. If one regulation doesn't seem to be working, bring your brains together on how you should change it. If a new suggestion comes up, think about how to integrate it. Always have an open ear for change.
We are hugely grateful for Anna and Anica for giving us such valuable insights into their new work strategies. As we move towards the future of work, we think looking at thought leaders and innovative experts in the field lets us all learn more about how we can succeed in making our new work strategy, work.