“As organizations realized the importance of social interactions, especially within the areas of collaboration and innovation, architecture and interior design began to focus on making physical workspaces inspire and cause these types of interactions to occur,” says De Iulis.
With many employees working remotely and only some in the physical workspace, this naturally changes the physical workplace’s effect on company culture. De Iulis suggests that wherever possible, all the positive aspects of the physical workplace should be replicated in a hybrid workplace.
This could include ergonomic elements that may be in the office but not at employees’ homes or unscheduled meetings — which can be replicated with things like a home office allowance and video conferencing, respectively. But there may need to be some creativity to replicate a similar experience and maintain its cultural value.
“Thinking about what elements of the physical workplace drove core cultural value for your employees is the start,” says De Iulis. “Identifying those is the key to understanding what you need to replicate, but in a new way.”
De Iulis notes that having employees work from home could drive both positive and negative results for culture and employee wellness, depending on how it’s designed and communicated. HR has an important role in fostering a culture among employees who are physically separated from each other through new initiatives, making this “a very exciting time for HR and of course a very busy one,” he says.