The culture of an organisation is key to employee engagement and empowerment – with 94% of executives and 88% of employees saying in a recent Deloitte study that they believed a happy, healthy company culture was key to a business’ success.
However, any company culture built can quickly fall away in times of uncertainty and change: the current pandemic indeed being one of those times. When most, or even all staff, are working remotely and therefore the workplace changes in dynamic, location and profile, it’s important to maintain, or even re-build, an inclusive working culture that keeps employees feeling valued and part of the team.
Of course, with remote workers there’s no two same workspace scenarios: some staff will live alone, some in a house full of people, some staff will have a full desk set-up, some will be perched on the corner of a kitchen table, some staff will be able to commit to an unchanged 9-5 schedule and some will have to work more unusual hours to fit around their responsibilities elsewhere. This doesn’t make sustaining a corporate culture easy, but it does demand an inclusivity that truly allows all to carve their own place in the business.
Corporate Culture Isn’t All Business
Whilst of course there needs to be a continued business focus throughout the workplace, it’s important to acknowledge the lack of ‘watercooler’ chat and desk-to-desk idea bouncing. If your teams would usually have lunch together once a week or drinks in a bar together once a month, keep those dates – host them via web conferencing, ditch any professional dress codes and maybe even consider sending your staff some snacks and drinks in the post. Allowing people the space to converse on life, love and laughs is hugely valuable for human connection and relationship building.
Whatever People Love, Keep
Ask your staff what they like best about working for your company – and then make sure you maintain it. Existing processes can be adapted to continue with technology and providing communications remain clear and open, there’s no reason why you can’t involve staff in the re-shaping of existing working practices. It’ll also give a feeling of empowerment and involvement, which is all too easily lost when there’s not a physical office gathering.
No two people in your organisation will now have the same working set-up, so it’s time to embrace that rather than discriminate against it. If you don’t already, now is the time to introduce flexible working and to ensure that everyone still has their place within the larger team. Flexibility and adaptability demonstrate the value you hold for staff and ensures that they’re entrusted to complete their duties no matter where the world takes them. When the time eventually comes to return to the office, those who have been able to work in a way that suits them will be much more likely to hold loyalty to the business and to continue to perform well.
However you shape your company’s culture in these uncertain times, do so including everyone – you, and your staff, will reap the benefits of it.