Like so many people around the globe, from March 2020, staff at the Europeana Foundation were forced to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, we thought this might be for a couple of months, never imagining that our working and private lives would be influenced for such a long period.
It soon became apparent that although we were no longer working together in an office, our productivity in general didn’t change, and in some areas even increased. So, we started to look at options to better support our staff to work from home, and explored how we could combine this with working from the office when this was once again possible.
Five steps to developing our hybrid working vision
Hybrid working empowers people to choose where (and when) they work. It is a hot topic at the moment, with many discussions, articles and expert advice available on how to develop a hybrid working culture, and which shiny new tools to use. But is it really about the tools? At the Europeana Foundation, we think it is about the people. Here’s the approach we’ve taken so far to develop our vision for hybrid working, with some steps that you could follow.
1. Form a team
In May 2021, a working group of colleagues from across the organisation came together with an external consultant with expertise in organisational development to look at some scenarios and identify the values that would underpin our hybrid working culture. Our starting point was that our interaction and not our location should be our driver. Our goal - a healthy hybrid culture that suits the needs of both our colleagues and the organisation.
2. Decide on your process
We decided on an iterative approach - taking small concrete steps and updating all staff on a regular basis in order to gather their feedback to use in the next round of planning.
3. Involve everyone in your organisation
An important part of the process was involving colleagues in our thinking, and asking for feedback so that the final vision reflected their ideas and could be supported by everyone. To do this, we used a variety of types of online dialogue and asynchronous collaboration, from virtual ‘all-staff’ meetings to surveys employing appreciative enquiry, giving everyone the chance to get involved.
4. Define your driving beliefs
This collaborative and iterative process led us to define the elements we believe will underpin and drive our hybrid working culture. These are: safety, engagement, trust, flexibility and diversity and inclusion.