Creating a high-performing hybrid workplace: what should teams do?

Hult Ashridge’s Vlatka Ariaana Hlupic looks at how teams and individuals can adopt and foster the right mindset for success in hybrid work settings, in the second of two articles focused on the relationship between mindset and organisational culture

Survey after survey show that employees don’t want to go back to office full time after the Covid-19 pandemic, and many CEOs will have to backtrack on their desire to require everyone to be back to office full time, as was the norm before the pandemic.

In many recent surveys, over three quarters of all respondents prefer to work from home at least half of the time, and about half of respondents would quit their job if permanent options to work remotely at least half of the week are not available.

This means that hybrid workplaces are inevitable. The question now, therefore, is what behaviours leaders and their teams will need to display to create successful, high-performing hybrid workplaces where a significant proportion of time working is spent using technology to communicate and work.

Empowering teams and individuals

My previous article on Business Impact outlined key behaviours that leaders should enact to create high-performing hybrid workplaces. That article also explains The Management Shift framework and its five levels of individual mindset and corresponding organisational culture. It was emphasised how important it is that leaders lead with a level 4 (and occasionally level 5) mindset, in order to create a level 4/5 organisational culture that is suitable for hybrid workplaces.

The same applies to the teams. Teams (and individuals) also need to operate with a level 4/5 mindset (for which the dominant mindsets are ‘enthusiastic’ and ‘limitless’) that will ripple out to the rest of the team and organisation.

When individuals and teams operate from level 4/5, they become empowered. There is more flexibility with how, when and where work gets done, they take on more responsibilities but also become accountable for the results and deliverables. There is an inherent trust between leaders and employees and among team members themselves. There is transparency and a common sense of purpose, working for the greater good, working together as a team rather than individually. At this level, we see a marked increase in performance, innovation, engagement, and profit.

How the right mindset removes barriers and energises

Teams at level 4 will be motivated to give their best performance. They will feel purposeful, respect themselves and others, support their colleagues, be empathetic, and will enjoy helping others. They will feel happy about working at a particular company, they will be striving for high achievement, and they will socialise and connect with others, whether that’s virtually or face to face. They will feel energised when interacting with colleagues, and they will see work as fun. They will work on forming informal networks or communities focused on teamwork and collaboration.

Once they achieve this mindset, it does not matter whether they work from home or in the office, whether they are monitored by their boss or not. They will do their best, they will go an extra mile for a customer, and they will create these high-performing hybrid workplaces, which are now emerging in many organisations.

Attaining the right mindset

So, what practical actions can team members take to foster a level 4 mindset for themselves and their colleagues?

  • Get involved in mutual/reverse mentoring with a colleague of a different generation
  • Organise peer-coaching activities
  • Proactively create and distribute relevant knowledge and knowhow relevant for productivity
  • Organise and/or participate in social events to keep connections with colleagues
  • Give constructive feedback for improvements to your manager/leader(s) above you in organisational hierarchy
  • Engage proactively in learning and self-development. Share what is relevant with others
  • Work on anchoring your mindset at level 4, use language associated with the level 4 mindset (e.g. ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘team’) with others
  • Look for opportunities to collaborate with others and engage in projects that require teamwork

Finally, team members should also make an effort to see their colleagues and leaders face to face in addition to virtually because these personal interactions will always remain priceless and important for the creation of a high-performing culture.

Vlatka Ariaana Hlupic is Professor of Leadership and Management at Hult Ashridge Executive Education and Founder and CEO of Management Shift Solutions.

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