In the now-infamous early days of 2020, the working world changed forever. 

As the world shut down in response to COVID, millions of businesses had to change the way they operated quickly—and millions of professionals had to change with them. Armed with just their laptops, home computers, and many a Zoom call, the modern workforce started to shift towards remote and hybrid work models that supported strong, people-first cultures.

Throughout the pandemic, companies experienced the benefits of this new way of working. Studies have shown that when people work remotely, they’re 63 percent more likely to report frequently or always be innovative, and 75 percent more likely to report often or always being engaged. 

There are other perks to working remotely, too. People working remotely report they enjoy a better work-life balance and save time and money on commutes. Companies were also able to attract and retain talent more easily when they committed to these people-centric benefits.

But as the pandemic eases, some companies insist on returning to the old ways of working. Professionals, on the other hand, have different demands. The modern professional has graduated from the traditional in-office, nine-to-five, five-day workweek—with only 36 percent of people saying they believe the office is best suited for individual work. Not only do people know what they want, they’re more than willing to put their money where their mouth is and leave jobs that don’t fulfill their needs. 

This shift isn’t just about where and when people want to work. It’s about the work environment and company culture they’re immersed in every day. 

So how can you evolve your business strategy to fit the modern workforce’s needs and demands? Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can adapt.

Focus on connections

One of the boons of in-person working is the social connections people make. With hybrid and remote work structures becoming the norm, building and maintaining strong and lasting relationships between dispersed team members is imperative. 

For teams working hybrid, on-site can days can allow you to focus on face-to-face interactions, collaboration, and team-building activities. Use remote workdays to concentrate on completing tasks. 

The key to building a successful dispersed team is curating a culture that focuses on empathy and connections between people—no matter where they may be in the world.

Encourage open and honest communication

Whether your team is hybrid or fully remote, fostering cultures of trust and openness is essential. It starts with communication and frequent, open, and honest conversations. Teams can achieve this with regular one-on-one meetings, team meetings, and even virtual group activities. 

But, the best way to figure out what’s best for your people is to ask them. Ask them for their input regularly and listen to what they say. Instead of limiting communication with team members to annual or bi-annual reviews, keeping in constant touch with your people helps promote trust, reduce stress levels, and support mental health and wellbeing.

Prioritize health and wellbeing

Your mental and physical health plays a huge role in your everyday life, at work and at home. To support their people, companies are offering more robust health coverage and wellness programs–and they go far beyond gym memberships and weekly yoga courses. 

People report record levels of burnout and prioritize their mental health more than ever before. In response, employers are committing to improving mental health for their people and their families with expanded mental health coverage, onsite counseling services, and subscriptions to meditation and wellness apps. 

Giving your people the freedom to set their working hours is another excellent example of how employers can prioritize their people’s wellbeing. If people have young children that need to be taken to school, flexible hours allow them to turn up to work an hour later and make up that time elsewhere. Other people may find that working three hours longer one day so they can take three hours off the next works best.  

Ultimately, giving your team more control over their working lives helps take the weight off their shoulders and improve their mental state.

The bottom line: Your team is the heartbeat of your company

When forward-thinking companies invest in putting their people first, they get a healthy, productive, and engaged workforce in return. After all, your team is the heart of your company–and they’re the key to sustainable and long-term success.

Tali Sachs

From Tali Sachs

Tali is a content marketing manager at HiBob. She's been writing stories since before she knew what to do with a pen and paper. When she's not writing, she's reading sci-fi, snuggling with her cats, or singing at an open mic.