COVID-19 has hit every business in a unique way, meaning that we’re all having to look at rebuilding our company culture. For many, the lack of work has meant that they have had to let go of staff or place them on furlough so as to cut costs and for others they have been running the business on a remote basis.
This means that in the coming months as we recover from the pandemic, there may be a lot of employees back at work who haven’t been working at all recently, or have been working from home in a very different way to their pre and post COVID work style.
This is of course going to be a culture shock when things go back to ‘normal’, however, it presents us with a unique opportunity to create a new normal. As business leaders, we are being called to iron out any issues with the company culture and ‘reboard’ our employees in a way that will be more aligned with the company we want to build.
Here’s our take on how rebuilding the office culture might look, post COVID-19.
This is the question that everyone seems to be asking.
There will definitely be some changes to how we work moving forward, and this change will likely come from both parties. Both the employer and the employee have had their eyes opened to new possibilities of working, which for the employee has meant more freedom and for the employer has meant they’ve seen the opportunity to cut costs by having people work remotely.
It’s likely that when we rebuild our company culture, remote working will be a big part of it. Whether that is allowing flexible working or moving to an entirely remote model, now that the world has been forced to try the remote work style, many have realized that it does work.
Employees have realized that they are enjoying not spending time in traffic, instead starting their day early and some even putting in more hours than they normally would if they were working from the office. Others have been missing interacting with their colleagues by the coffee machines or extended lunch hours.
Meanwhile, generous unemployment benefits have discouraged some staff from returning to work. Those who are getting an additional $600 a week unemployment benefit have seen little or no motivation to work the last few months and this is causing cultural issues amongst those who are working. The furlough culture has often divided teams – with half of them working very hard to make up for those who are off and the other half being off work but still being paid. It’s a recipe for a company culture disaster.
One good thing that has come of this is that the fear around remote working has been dispelled, leaving many business leaders wondering why they even have an office anyway. With Zoom meetings becoming seamless, and the lack of distractions actually improving people’s output, there has been a lot of talk of businesses moving away from the office work style altogether.
It’s likely that the new company cultures we’re building will centre around how we manage remote work better, as opposed to trying to fight it and keep everyone in the office. We’ll see a rise in project managers and operational team members who will help to conduct teams, and a move to hire the top talent from across the globe who are then managed by these individuals.
Now that leaders have moved to a more remote work model, they are realizing that there is no point in reducing their talent pool to people locally, when they are going to be working remotely anyway. This shift has made it obvious that it doesn’t really matter where a person is, so long as they can do the work.
Plus, many businesses have realized that by creating a more remote work model, they are able to work with the top talent across the globe – often for less than they were paying originally.
Whilst this isn’t to say that people will do away with in-house teams altogether, there is a chance that businesses will start to outsource their teams and keep in-house team members for the more operational and decision making roles. This is simply because there is top talent out there, that can now be accessed in a way that businesses trust. The reluctance to hire remotely has completely disappeared, and this is likely to create a shift in how we hire.
Here are the top ways that we think businesses will be able to rebuild a positive office culture.
This is one of the main changes that we think all offices should adopt. Your people have been working remotely and in most cases have made sacrifices in order to keep your business alive. In this sense, it’s important that you allow remote and flexible working in order to respect their commitment to it over the past months. This will also help lower business costs and by building a solid remote working model you’ll be much more likely to succeed if something like this does happen again in the future.
Introduce processes that require documentation of processes and also new communication techniques that have clear intentions and expectations that makes delegation easier. Such processes also ensure you are now prepared to work with top remote talent. You may also want to create Work from Home (WFH) policies and do’s / don’ts to help people stay on track.
Hiring a remote team means that you’re able to gain flexible access to the top talent across the globe. This will strengthen your team on the ground and mean that you’re able to take on any project that you need an extra pair of hands with.
When rebuilding an office culture, it’s essential to get feedback from your employees on what they want. Conducting regular surveys, discussing new options, and working with your employees to create a company culture that serves them is an essential part of creating a positive office culture.
When rebuilding an office culture, one needs to consider introducing cultural activities that involve working lunch, happy hours, games over zoom. Whatever will get your team motivated and psyched to be working together from afar, will boost the company culture.
Are you keen to learn more about how remote working can boost your team? We help businesses work remotely and build out their teams in order to tackle any project. Learn more about us, or reach out today to enjoy a free trial.