February 16th, 2021
We’ve redefined ways of working and living in the world of COVID challenging our outlook on what the future of work looks like. Workplace culture was suddenly disrupted and brought into question asking, leaders, “How do we continue to flourish in a remote environment?”
The changes organizations have made have not only been in response to what’s happening on the global stage but what’s needed to thrive and to meet the ever-changing needs at an individual level.
What once defined a company culture can no longer simply be based on an in-person office environment alone and instead should include a culture that thrives and flourishes without limits.
Virtually. No matter where anyone is based holding, true to the shared values and beliefs that bond people together. A company culture without borders that is felt.
If you look at what you learned over the past year from your leaders, peers and colleagues, I’m hoping you’ll be able to share more than just changes to business and their roles.
Maybe you learned when their kid’s birthdays are or what grade they graduated from, a hobby they have, what pets they own, what time they go for a walk, the wall colours of their home and how many different rooms they have (from all the Zoom calls) that took place from one room to the next on any given day of the week. 😉
These changes reinforce how human we all are and, in a year where the world continues to climb out of a pandemic, a company culture means so much more.
Highlighting the need to examine how it looks outside the walls of traditional work environments and how do we define culture in the future of work.
Research suggests 68% of U.S. executives believe employees should be in the office at least 3 days/week to maintain a strong company culture according, to an article by SHRM.
A hybrid work model in the future of work seems highly likely regardless of the preference of days/week of being in the office between employees and executives.
The time has come to shift how we’ve been defining a workplace culture and expand our perspective. It serves as such a powerful reminder that culture is not your work environment but what you share, do and believe as a group.
It’s the heart of your organization that should be felt regardless of where your people work which takes shared commitment, care and dare I add – love.
How does it emulate and show up in your actions as a leader and as a team?
Organizations like IBM have taken their culture of inclusion and employee initiative and came up with a “Work from Home Pledge” that specified how employees should support each other while working remotely.
This initiative brought employees closer together and was enough to prompt HR to consider how to embed more of this into their culture long-term even as employees make the return to work.
When thinking about redefining workplace culture as we know it, it’s important to embrace the unknown and plan to fail! Unless you’ve effectively maintained your company culture with a widely diverse work environment, there will be successes and failures.
What’s important is to consider the learnings and lessons from both that are worth carrying forward and which to leave behind.
Below are 5 questions to consider when thinking about redefining your company culture:
- What can you continue to strengthen and reinforce as a cultural mark in your organization you can continue to optimize?
For example, you might consider what activities or celebrations were widely known in your organization you can continue to honour in a hybrid environment and make more memorable?
2. When you think about redefining culture across multiple locations and geographies in a hybrid environment, how do you ensure shared values, beliefs and practices that exemplify your culture are well understood?
Consider communication and how you communicate, making higher levels of investments in technology to support workforces both in-office and remote workers, inclusion is a top priority and doesn’t get lost in the changes!
3. What new values will you consider embedding in your culture that can be demonstrated in a hybrid work environment considering the learnings from the pandemic?
Keep in mind as leaders, you’re both leading the way and modelling behaviours others can model. Make sure you’re modelling the right behaviours that will strengthen your culture!
4. Many organizations have noted a culture shift since the pandemic. Naturally, this was to be expected regardless of how big or little the shift was. Is there anything that stands out worth infusing more of into your company culture as you look ahead?
5. Where connection, community and work/life balance were common themes throughout the year, how will you preserve these and/or insert more of them in your culture in a hybrid environment?
These are just a few questions to consider as you think about what a new era of work will look like and the impact on workplace culture. There’s so much opportunity ahead!
Your company culture should be exciting and felt throughout the organization. It shouldn’t be hard, or worse toxic, words too often heard when describing some workplace cultures.
Keep an open mind if you dare to make these cultural shifts and leverage your greatest asset – your people to contribute and be part of the change.
I’d love to hear from you!
Do you think workplace culture needs to be redefined as the future of work moves into more of a hybrid work model? If so, what stands out to be an important factor leaders need to consider?
With all my appreciation,