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Adapting Internal Communications to Accommodate Hybrid Work Environments

Discover the importance of internal communications in a hybrid working environment. What do you need to consider to accommodate your hybrid teams?

Internal Comms

The last five years have seen profound changes in how we work. Many companies have switched to new models, with employees working remotely - often from home - and hybrid working environments have become the new normal for many businesses.

This change brings many benefits - for the business and its employees. But it needs careful navigation. Effective internal communication will help - yet the transformation can also raise challenges for internal comms. This article explores why internal communications must adapt to support hybrid working and suggests some approaches to take.

However, before that, it's worth establishing the fundamentals of internal communication: why is it so essential for every business?


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Effective internal communication strengthens teams

First, effective internal communication serves an important day-to-day operational function, supporting the productivity of your teams. For example, effective internal communication ensures all your employees understand new procedures if you change your IT helpdesk workflows.

Second, good internal communication establishes organizational goals and objectives throughout the company, preventing teams from becoming siloed. Increased communication between teams helps workers better understand how the jigsaw fits together and the overall business aims. For example, many non-IT teams may question the purpose of data warehouse projects in your business. But good comms can explain how organizational effort directed there will ultimately help many operational teams - from customer support to marketing.

Third, internal comms can promote a healthy culture of business-wide dialogue. At its best, it is a two-way process, inviting feedback: listening, not just telling, and helping the organization's culture to evolve positively. It also builds resilience. Has your business found itself in a crisis? Robust internal communication is a massive asset at such times. Internal communication helps keep employees informed, calm and focused during difficult times. It also prevents harmful rumors and misinformation from spreading.

In short, internal communication is critical in building a strong, engaged, successful, and resilient organization. But how has the rise of hybrid learning impacted all this?


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The rise of hybrid working environments and what to consider

A hybrid working environment encapsulates a wide range of possible approaches. However, they have the following in common: some employees will be working (for at least some of the time) away from the office. 

Remote working has become increasingly common owing to its numerous benefits. Employees who work remotely can enjoy greater flexibility over where they work and (in theory) a better work-life balance. That can lead to increased morale, productivity, and job satisfaction. And businesses can also benefit from hybrid work. It can help reduce costs and foster happier teams while giving an edge when recruiting and retaining talent.

But at the same time, workers still value being able to come together to socialize and bond. Highlighting a need for less but better office time. Employees and job hunters are thus looking for a business that offers them the right balance.

So, perhaps you've found the perfect IT developer for a role - complete with the Databricks certification you need - but do they want to work for you? Flexible working arrangements are now expected for many jobs, and your internal comms must take a positive and constructive stance on this.

Meeting the needs of your team

There is often significant diversity in how hybrid working environments are experienced by employees - even in the same organization. There will be a wide range of experiences, circumstances, and expectations. Your internal communications must work with that - listening to employees and then pulling them into a unified team.

Firstly, some roles will be more suited to flexible arrangements than others. Some jobs cannot be done remotely - for example, in factories or customer-facing posts. Consequently, questions of fairness can arise within an organization. Employees with little flexibility in their roles may envy colleagues who enjoy more. It is a point that needs sensitive management in your communications.

Secondly, circumstances will vary. For example, a new starter or someone returning from maternity leave will have different needs from a colleague who has been working in their role consistently for a long-time. Your communications must cater to a range of employee profiles.

A hybrid working environment can meet employee expectations and help the business. Your internal comms need to embrace it. But it must work hard to navigate its inherent complexities and challenges - pulling everyone's experiences together.


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Communication Challenges of Hybrid Working

So what should effective internal communication aim to achieve? 

Avoiding siloes

Building relationships and creating a sense of community can be challenging with remote employees. For example, your marketing crowd may obsess over the personalized, omnichannel customer journeys they manage but never ask 'what is snowflake schema, and how does it support our marketing work?' Myopia can spread. It is easy to become siloed and lose sight of the bigger picture. Effective internal comms can help broaden these horizons.

Effective dialogue

Effective communication at all levels is vital in a hybrid working environment. Colleagues must liaise and collaborate on projects - sharing ideas and encouraging efficiencies and innovation. 

There also needs to be a healthy dialogue between the business (as an organization) and its employees. Are your employees listened to? How does it happen? And does their voice have an impact? For example, you may uncover frustration across your sales and marketing teams - perhaps because they're spending so long prospecting. Then, with such insights, improvements can follow (e.g., the business can explore prospecting tools).

Visual communication tools such as employee headshots in video calls or virtual team-building events can also help build relationships and promote a sense of community among remote workers.

Catering for all  

Organizations consist of people in diverse roles - with different needs, hopes, and worries. For example, some will enjoy the benefits of hybrid working. Others will find it more difficult. Some will wish they had more flexibility in their roles. Your internal communications must be sensitive to these differing perspectives.

Roadmap what hybrid working means for your business

Navigating this new world can be complicated. Planning is crucial: what is the overall intention, and how will it be achieved? This roadmap will help you to meet the needs of both your business and your employees.


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Consider the following key factors:

  • The needs of the business: What are the business's goals for hybrid work? How will hybrid work help to achieve broader strategic goals?
  • The needs of the employees: What are the employees' needs and preferences for hybrid work? How can the business remain competitive when hiring and retaining talent? Your plan must cater to all employees.
  • The technology infrastructure: Does the business have the technology infrastructure to support hybrid work? What gaps are there?

Be strategic. Be clear about where you are heading. Break the journey into phases. Your internal comms should be a central component of your roadmap - specifying how you will maintain a dialogue with your employees.

As your organization navigates this new world, effective internal communication will be crucial in successfully implementing and adapting to the hybrid work model.

How to Adapt Internal Communications for Hybrid Working

The following key ideas can help internal communicators address some of the issues and challenges noted above.


Internal comms should not be a one-way process! It should also strive to understand your employees' needs and worries. Listen to them and gather their feedback. For example, has your business got the right balance between remote and in-house? Use employee surveys and polls. How can you best support them to succeed in their roles?

And what do employees want from internal comms? Is your approach working? Adapt your communication strategy to suit their views and needs (rather than imposing a top-down approach).


Develop a comprehensive plan for hybrid working and be explicit about how internal communication will support this. Share this roadmap with your employees. Everyone needs to understand it. Change and adapt your plan over time as you listen to feedback.

Over time, listening to feedback, consider creating and refining a range of communication templates for your internal comms. Doing so can improve the consistency and efficiency of your communication strategy.


Different people have different needs when it comes to internal communication. Segment your employees into various groups based on their roles, locations, and communication preferences. Tailor your messaging to suit them - ensuring they receive the information they need.


What format would your employees prefer internal comms to take? Email newsletters? A blog? Videos? A mixture? It may depend on the nature of the information covered. Gather feedback to understand this.

People tend to engage with videos better than text. Create engaging visuals and videos that convey your message in an accessible and engaging way. What about an infographic? Making an effort to choose the best format will help engage employees with your comms.


Free to use image sourced from Pixabay


What channels do your employees prefer? How are you supporting this? That might include video conferencing software, internal messaging apps, or project management tools. Provide the equipment and platforms they need for effective communication. Again, segment to provide a range of approaches.

Understand your teams! That means ensuring your HR and comms teams also have the right tools. For example, a Human Resource Information System (HRIS) can be beneficial - especially for larger organizations (e.g., look at Paylocity).

Align your teams in a hybrid world

Hybrid work is the new normal, and it's here to stay. Internal communicators need to adapt their strategies to support this new model. Through listening and careful planning, internal communicators can help to unify disparate team members. And, with creativity, internal comms can be crafted to engage your employees - whatever their circumstances.

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