new spaces

by Stacy Henry

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life, it’s that you can’t go back to where you used to be. This is especially true today. Since 2020, our lives have changed. Our collected experience has given us better understanding, different expectations, and a new direction.

As things are opening up and employees are returning to work, it’s important to recognize a simple truth: that we can’t really “go back.” Although we may long for things to “get back to normal” in all honestly, things will NEVER be the same. The experience of the pandemic has grown us into someone and something entirely different both individually and professionally.

Sure, we may be going back to old spaces, but we’re going back to those old spaces in a new way—and if we aren’t, we should be. Why? Because hybrid work is here to stay and will be an important part of any successful workforce moving forward.

Getting Back to Basics

In order to navigate our old spaces in new ways, we have to get back to the basics and identify the values that matter most. This way, we can root ourselves and our companies in those important values to gain success in a hybrid work environment.

Through my years of experience with both personal and corporate change, there are four values that I believe are vital for a hybrid workforce to help them achieve the greatest growth during this time of transition and change.

Love

The kind of love I’m talking about here is the kind of benevolent love we should have for the people around us. It’s about being well-meaning, respectful, and kind.

Love is the number one value you need in a hybrid work environment. If you can’t be well-meaning, respectful, and kind to your workers, both in the office and virtually, you are going to have a rough time in the transition to a hybrid workforce.

Choosing to be rooted in love means choosing to see people from a lens of kindness and mutual respect. It’s giving them the benefit of the doubt and withholding biased judgements. It’s choosing to see a person’s good qualities and magnifying them, instead of accentuating the bad.

When you root yourself in love, your employees will feel it. This, alone, will compel them to do their very best work for you, regardless of where their office is located.

Relationship

Developing a positive relationship with those who work remotely will be vital to your ability to connect with them—and for them to connect with you.

It’s important for leaders to take the time regularly to meet with hybrid employees, either virtually or in-person, to help them feel connected, valued, and seen. They need to know that their work is valued, their job is secure, and they aren’t being looked over for growth opportunities.

Developing strong relationships within teams is also necessary for a cohesive hybrid workforce. These relationships will keep people connected and caring for one another. Provide opportunities for relationships to develop naturally and instinctively. The best way to accomplish this is to build on common ground. Find what connects people. Set goals and make plans together. Learn from one another, and listen to each other. 

Trust

It can be very daunting for a leader to let go of control and trust that an employee will do their best work from a location outside of the office. I get it—in the office there is always a greater sense of control. You can control the atmosphere, you can keep an eye on the work being done, and you can monitor whether or not someone is actually working.

In a hybrid workforce, you have to give up that sense of control and trust your employees to do their work without your eyes on them. That can be a very difficult thing to let go of. But trust is an integral value that you need to get rooted in if you want your hybrid workforce to be successful.

Trust your team members to make decisions on their own. More often than not, they’ll surprise you with their ability to meet and exceed your expectations—and you’ll both grow in the process.

Integrity

When transitioning to a hybrid workforce, make sure you emphasize the value of integrity for both yourself and your employees.

When businesses, individuals, and their leaders are rooted in integrity, every relationship can be strengthened through complete and honest transparency. A major part of living in integrity is simply being honest with ourselves and with others.

Integrity is remaining the same person, no matter what circumstance you find yourself in. If you’re not the same moral person at work that you are at home, you’ve compromised your integrity.

Strive to create an atmosphere where you can share ideas and learn to give and receive constructive feedback. This is also how we foster and develop relationships. It leads to new ideas and new ways of doing things. It’s how we innovate, learn and grow together. It’s also how we develop, nurture, and strengthen our integrity.

Integrity leads to trust, trust leads to better relationships, and better relationships lead to a greater capacity to love. These are the essential values we need to root ourselves in for a successful hybrid workforce. Every root is connected, and each one strengthens the other.

A hybrid workforce is the workforce of the future. We can’t go back to the way things were. But we can go back to old spaces in a new way. Rooting individuals and companies in these four values will do just that. It’s a bold new adventure, but I think we’re up for the challenge.

About the author

Stacy Henry, PCC  is the founder of CenterBranch, a consulting and coaching firm dedicated to helping both companies and individuals perform to their highest potential. Visit CenterBranch or connect with Stacy on LinkedIn.  For more on how to embrace change, you can find Get Rooted! on Amazon. Learn more from Stacy and other leadership experts at Virtual LeaderCon