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A recent report by Poly and WorkTech Academy, entitled "Hybrid Heaven or Hell: The Journey to Hybrid Working," urged hybrid organizations to evaluate their company culture or risk going to "hybrid hell."

"Hybrid culture cannot be left to chance," said Poly's Sof Socratous. "Now is a crucial time for organizations to take stock and rebuild a culture that is fit for hybrid working."

The report explained the challenges many organizations face in building and retaining culture in a hybrid environment, and stressed the lasting impact this could have on growth, talent retention, and innovation. One of the most significant barriers to developing a suitable culture for hybrid working is redesigning the workplace. Traditional offices have too many individual desks and too few collaborative spaces for a hybrid model. As a result, many organizations struggle to make their old spaces effective for new ways of working.

"The shift to hybrid work presents an opportunity for organizations to remake cultures and their workspaces for the 21st century," Socratous contended. “This requires organizations to clearly define their core cultural values and frame what that means in a hybrid world.”

Michael Arena, a former head of talent management analytics with AWS, GM, and Bank of America, has discussed other means by which leaders can assess the negative cultural impacts of a remote working environment.

Specifically, Arena details how to overcome the "Neighborhood Effect," a phenomenon where organizations have become more clustered — and teams more siloed — over time due to the deterioration of "bridging" connections between groups.

In an August 2022 piece in the HR Exchange, Arena lays out several methods to avoid this deterioration: establishing formal bridging mechanisms to facilitate collaboration and communication; bringing together those in an organization that have more inter-team connections to increase ideation and alignment; and leveraging leaders' social equity.

Read more from Michael Arena in Starling's 2022 Compendium, wherein he contributed a Peer Perspectives piece entitled Organizational Culture is Caught, Not Taught.”

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