Will Remote Work Destroy Your Culture?

Will Remote Work Destroy Your Culture?
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Is Your Culture at Risk?  Will Remote Work Destroy Your Culture?
COVID has monumentally changed the way we operate in our personal and professional lives. For most of us, the virus has dictated that we work from home and avoid exposure to the colleagues we were used to seeing every day. Our opportunities for relationship-building at work have been severely restricted. As a result, the work culture as we knew it has changed.

What Are the Consequences?
The results of a recent Gallup poll point out some of the cultural consequences to employees only working remotely. The survey found that workers who are not in the same location as their manager are 10% less likely to feel someone cares about them at work and to feel recognized for what they contribute.  Worse still for employees who really value working side-by-side with their colleagues, they can feel so disengaged that they are 17% less productive and 24% more likely to leave.

The Importance of Culture to Business Success
We know how critical culture can be to the success of an organization. Culture represents the way things truly get done in an organization. Culture can be measured by understanding the way people think, behave, and work.  This includes the known and unspoken core values and assumptions that drive key business practices and behaviors.

  • A Harvard Business School research report described how an effective culture can account for up to half of the differential in performance between organizations in the same business.
  • And our organizational alignment research found that cultural factors account for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies in terms of revenue growth, profitability, customer loyalty, leadership effectiveness, and employee engagement.

Clearly, culture matters.

What We Can Do
There are some actions you can take to lessen the negative effects on your culture of working remotely.

  • Identify Culture Drivers
    Be clear about what drives your culture. What aspects of your working environment do you need to protect in order to ensure your employees feel engaged and committed?

    For instance, if you determine that deep relationships built through working together are a foundational aspect of your culture, you need to find ways to link people together virtually. Set up systems that connect individuals and teams on a regular basis – whether by phone or Zoom-type meetings. And consider ways to get together safely following current health guidelines so employees have a sense of continuing camaraderie and mutual support.

  • Measure Culture Drivers
    Conduct frequent mini-surveys to get feedback from employees on what matters most to them. Establish a baseline measure so you know where your efforts are paying off and where you need to concentrate more effort.

    In the example above, you should ask such questions as, “Do you have meaningful personal partnerships at work? Does your department cooperate easily with other departments? Does your team think about and discuss how to make things better? Does the organization as a whole encourage collaboration?”

The Bottom Line
Organizations with strong, healthy, high performing cultures need to work at preserving those cultures despite the strains of remote working. Remote work need not destroy your culture, but you can’t afford to ignore the threat.

To learn more about building a healthy, high performing, and aligned corporate culture, download 3 Research-Backed Levels of Culture to Get Right

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