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3 Steps to Build Belonging in a Hybrid Workplace

The concept of hybrid workplaces and why building belonging is important

Hybrid workplaces refer to work environments where employees have the flexibility to work remotely or from an office location. This model allows employees to work from anywhere, which can lead to increased productivity, improved work-life balance, and cost savings for both employees and companies.

Building belonging in the workplace is important because it fosters a sense of community and inclusivity among employees. When employees feel like they belong, they are more likely to be engaged in their work, collaborate with colleagues, and contribute to the company's success. It also leads to higher levels of job satisfaction and employee retention.

In a hybrid workplace, building belonging becomes even more critical because remote workers may feel disconnected from their colleagues and the company culture. Companies can build belonging by providing opportunities for virtual team building, fostering communication and collaboration, and creating a sense of shared purpose among all employees, regardless of their location. 

They can also ensure that remote workers have access to the same resources and benefits as in-office workers to create a sense of equity and inclusion. Overall, building belonging in a hybrid workplace is essential for creating a positive and productive work environment that benefits both employees and the company. 

To build belonging in a hybrid workplace, there are three key steps that companies can take. Let us see one by one in detail. 

Step 1: Establish clear communication channels 

In a hybrid workplace, where some employees work remotely while others work on-site, it can be challenging to establish effective communication channels that help create a sense of belonging. However, clear communication is essential for building trust and collaboration among team members, no matter where they are located.  

The challenges of communication in a hybrid workplace 

Communication is a key component of any workplace, but it becomes even more critical in a hybrid workplace where some employees work remotely while others are based in a physical office. The following are some of the challenges that organizations face in maintaining effective communication in a hybrid workplace as mentioned below. 

Limited face-to-face interaction 

With remote workers, there are fewer opportunities for in-person communication, which can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications. In-person communication allows for nonverbal cues, which can help employees interpret messages more accurately.

Technical issues 

Technical problems, such as poor internet connections or malfunctioning equipment, can hinder effective communication. These issues can be more prevalent for remote workers who rely on technology to communicate with their colleagues and access important information.

Different time zones 

In a global hybrid workplace, employees may be working in different time zones, making it challenging to coordinate meetings and ensure everyone is on the same page. Meetings may need to be scheduled outside of regular working hours for some employees, which can lead to issues with work-life balance.

Lack of clarity 

Hybrid workplaces can lead to a lack of clarity around expectations, responsibilities, and timelines. This can be exacerbated when there are differences in how communication is handled between remote and in-office workers.


Remote workers may be working from home, which can lead to distractions that affect their ability to communicate effectively. For example, background noise, family interruptions, or other personal obligations may interfere with their ability to concentrate.

Therefore, communication challenges in a hybrid workplace can be complex and require intentional effort to overcome. Organizations must be proactive in finding ways to facilitate communication and ensure that all employees, regardless of their location, feel connected and included.

Tips for establishing clear communication channels, such as using collaboration tools and regular check-ins 

To establish clear communication channels in a hybrid workplace, organizations can use several strategies as listed below. 

Use collaboration tools 

Utilize collaboration tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or other similar tools to facilitate communication between remote and in-office workers. These tools enable real-time messaging, file sharing, and video conferencing, making it easier to stay connected.

Establish regular check-ins 

Schedule regular check-ins with remote workers to stay updated on their work progress and any challenges they may be facing. This can be done through virtual meetings, one-on-one chats, or weekly team meetings. These check-ins can help remote workers feel connected and included, and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Clarify expectations and goals 

Make sure everyone has a clear understanding of expectations and goals, as well as the communication channels that should be used to report progress and ask for help. This can help avoid misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals.

Provide training 

Provide training to employees on how to use communication tools and how to communicate effectively in a hybrid workplace. This can include tips on how to write effective emails, how to conduct virtual meetings, and how to handle challenging conversations. This can also help to reduce technical issues and misunderstandings.

Encourage transparency 

Encourage transparency and open communication among all employees. Encourage employees to share their ideas, feedback, and concerns openly and honestly, regardless of their location. This can help build trust and foster collaboration.

Use visual aids 

Use visual aids, such as diagrams or charts, to help explain complex ideas or processes. Visual aids can help remote workers understand the information more easily, especially when communication is done through virtual means.

Establishing clear communication channels in a hybrid workplace requires intentionality and effort. By using appropriate tools and strategies, organizations can foster effective communication, enhance collaboration, and build a strong sense of belonging among all employees.

Step 2: Foster a culture of inclusion 

The importance of inclusivity in a hybrid workplace  

Inclusivity is vital in a hybrid workplace for several reasons. First and foremost, it creates a sense of belonging and safety for all employees, regardless of their location or background. When employees feel included, they are more likely to feel valued, respected, and supported in their work, which can lead to increased motivation, productivity, and job satisfaction.

Inclusivity is also critical for promoting diversity and innovation in a hybrid workplace. When employees come from diverse backgrounds and bring different perspectives, they can offer unique insights and ideas that can drive growth and success for the organization. Inclusive workplaces foster an environment that encourages diversity and can attract and retain top talent, leading to a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

In a hybrid workplace, inclusivity can also help bridge the gap between remote and in-person employees. By promoting communication, collaboration, and connection, inclusivity can ensure that all employees feel like they are part of the same team and have an equal voice in decision-making processes.

Furthermore, promoting inclusivity in a hybrid workplace can also lead to better customer service and satisfaction. When employees feel included and supported, they are more likely to provide exceptional service to customers, which can drive repeat business and positive word-of-mouth.

Inclusivity is critical in a hybrid workplace because it creates a sense of belonging, promotes diversity and innovation, bridges the gap between remote and in-person employees, and leads to better customer service and satisfaction. By fostering a culture of inclusivity, organizations can build a strong, engaged, and high-performing team that can thrive in today's fast-paced and ever-changing business environment. 

Examples of ways to foster a culture of inclusion, such as recognizing and celebrating diversity and creating opportunities for collaboration and connection 

Fostering a culture of inclusion requires intentional effort and a commitment to creating an environment where all employees feel valued, respected, and supported. By recognizing and celebrating diversity, encouraging collaboration and connection, providing training and resources, fostering open communication, leading by example, establishing ERGs, and offering flexible work arrangements, organizations can create a more inclusive and engaged workforce that can thrive in a hybrid workplace.

Let us see here some examples of ways to foster a culture of inclusion in a hybrid workplace. 

Recognize and celebrate diversity 

Acknowledge and appreciate the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives of your employees. Celebrate cultural holidays and events, highlight employee achievements and milestones, and provide opportunities for employees to share their unique stories and experiences.

Encourage collaboration and connection 

Provide opportunities for employees to connect and collaborate with each other, regardless of their location. Use technology to facilitate virtual meetings, brainstorming sessions, and team-building activities. Encourage employees to use tools like instant messaging and video conferencing to stay connected and engaged.

Provide diversity and inclusion training 

Offer training sessions and workshops that help employees understand and appreciate the value of diversity and inclusion. Provide resources that help employees recognize and address bias and stereotypes, and promote a culture of respect and inclusion.

Foster open communication 

Encourage employees to speak up and share their thoughts and opinions in a safe and respectful environment. Promote active listening, ask open-ended questions, and provide opportunities for feedback and dialogue.

Lead by example 

Model inclusive behavior as a leader by demonstrating respect for diversity, encouraging open communication, and promoting collaboration and connection among all employees.

Establish employee resource groups 

Create employee resource groups (ERGs) that support different identity groups, such as LGBTQ+, women, or people with disabilities. ERGs can provide a platform for employees to connect, share experiences, and provide support to each other.

Offer flexible work arrangements 

Provide flexible work arrangements, such as remote work or flexible schedules, that accommodate the needs of all employees. This can help create a more inclusive workplace that supports work-life balance and employee well-being.

Step 3: Invest in employee engagement 

The challenges of employee engagement in a hybrid workplace 

Employee engagement is an important aspect of any workplace, but it becomes more challenging in a hybrid workplace, where some employees work remotely while others work on-site. There are some challenges of employee engagement in a hybrid workplace as mentioned below. 


Communication can be a significant challenge in a hybrid workplace. Remote employees may miss out on informal conversations and interactions that occur in the workplace, while on-site employees may miss out on important updates or discussions that take place during virtual meetings.

Work-life balance 

Remote employees may struggle to separate their work and personal life, leading to overworking or burnout. On the other hand, on-site employees may have a better work-life balance but may also feel like they are missing out on the flexibility of remote work.

Isolation and lack of collaboration 

Remote employees may feel isolated from the rest of the team, leading to decreased motivation and engagement. Additionally, remote employees may not have as many opportunities for collaboration or team-building activities.

Technology issues 

Technical issues can be a challenge in a hybrid workplace. Remote employees may experience connectivity issues or have trouble accessing the tools they need to do their job effectively.

Different communication preferences 

Different employees may have different communication preferences, and these preferences may vary depending on their location. For example, some employees may prefer email or instant messaging, while others may prefer face-to-face communication.

These challenges can make it difficult to engage all employees in a hybrid workplace. However, by understanding these challenges and taking steps to address them, organizations can create a more engaged and productive workforce.

Tips for investing in employee engagement, such as offering professional development opportunities and creating opportunities for social connection 

By investing in employee engagement, organizations can create a more productive, motivated, and loyal workforce. By offering professional development opportunities, creating opportunities for social connection, fostering clear communication, recognizing employee achievements, prioritizing work-life balance, and providing resources for collaboration, leaders can engage all employees, regardless of their location. 

Investing in employee engagement is crucial in a hybrid workplace. There are following tips for investing in employee engagement as mentioned below. 

Offer professional development opportunities 

Providing opportunities for professional development can help employees feel invested in their careers and motivated to contribute to the organization's success. This could include access to training courses, mentorship programs, and coaching sessions.

Create opportunities for social connection 

Social connection is essential for employee engagement. Leaders can create opportunities for social interaction, such as virtual team-building activities, virtual coffee breaks, and social events. Encouraging informal conversations and creating a supportive, inclusive culture can also help to build social connections.

Foster clear communication 

Clear communication is critical in a hybrid workplace. Leaders should create open lines of communication, provide regular feedback, and use communication tools that meet the needs of all employees. Leaders can also schedule regular check-ins with their teams to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Recognize employee achievements 

Recognition is a powerful motivator. Leaders can recognize employee achievements through employee recognition programs, awards, and incentives. Recognition should be based on a variety of factors, such as performance, teamwork, and innovation.

Prioritize work-life balance 

Leaders should prioritize work-life balance to avoid burnout and promote engagement. This could include offering flexible work arrangements, providing mental health resources, and encouraging employees to take time off when needed.

Provide resources for collaboration 

Collaboration is essential for success in a hybrid workplace. Leaders can provide resources for collaboration, such as shared digital workspaces, project management tools, and video conferencing software. Additionally, leaders should ensure that all employees have access to these resources and are trained to use them effectively. 


Building belonging in a hybrid workplace is crucial for creating a productive and engaged workforce. It involves fostering a culture of inclusion, investing in employee engagement, and promoting open communication and collaboration.

The 3 steps for building belonging in a hybrid workplace are as mentioned below. 

  1. Create a sense of belonging through shared values and purpose

  2. Foster a culture of inclusion

  3. Invest in employee engagement

Creating a sense of belonging can be achieved by clearly defining shared values and purpose, fostering open communication and collaboration, and providing opportunities for social connection. A culture of inclusion can be built by recognizing and celebrating diversity, creating opportunities for collaboration and connection, and promoting an inclusive culture. 

Finally, investing in employee engagement can be done by offering professional development opportunities, prioritizing work-life balance, and recognizing employee achievements.

As we navigate the challenges of hybrid work, it is important to continue to build a sense of belonging and connection in the workplace. We can all play a role in creating an inclusive culture by being aware of our own biases, being open to different perspectives, and promoting a sense of community and belonging.

I encourage readers to share their own tips and experiences for building belonging in a hybrid workplace in the comments section. By sharing our knowledge and experiences, we can all learn and grow together.


How to Engage a Hybrid Workforce by Harvard Business Review

5 Ways to Build Employee Engagement in a Hybrid Workplace by Gartner

Also Read 

Kaizen vs. Six Sigma: What's the Difference and Which is Right for Your Business? 

The 5 Key Principles of Kaizen and How to Apply Them in Your Business

The Impact of Kaizen on Employee Engagement and Job Satisfaction 

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