New ways of working
For those of us that now find ourselves working from home during the pandemic, and now also coming to an understanding that this may well continue after the virus is under control, how does company and workplace culture matter if we’re not physically in an office environment?
Does company culture matter less or is it now more important than ever? Are we now moving towards developing ‘homeplace cultures’ based on the existing principals set by our preceding workplace culture?
I would argue that company culture is now more important than ever.
If your company culture is more than beer and chips on a Friday arvo in the office i.e. your company culture defines your way of working; then this underlying operating framework will be the key to a successful transition that most previously office-based workers are experiencing.
A culture of trust
Leaders must implement and be comfortable with a culture of trust, as they simply can now longer use visual reinforcement of whether people are present and engaged. Never has trust and empowerment of your team being a more important element of a successful operating culture.
A culture of change and innovation
Leaders should be considering whether they have a culture of change and innovation, to ensure their team possess the drive and willingness to do things differently. Change has replaced stability. We need to equip and empower our people to accept that change is ok, inevitable and quite possibly continuous.
A culture of social cohesiveness
Work is now playing an even more important social role in people’s lives. Leaders must embrace and invest in driving increased social interaction between team and company members. For those with large numbers of introverts in their teams, this may be less critical, but for those with a team staked with extroverts, extra attention should be applied. Wednesday nights at pub trivia is now on hold indefinitely, what are we doing to replace these important team bonding activities?
A culture of tolerance and understanding
There is no playbook for the current circumstance and exceptional circumstances demand and exceptional response. People are working whilst home-schooling the kids. Anybody who has attempted this will understand the frustrations and stress associated with this environment at home. Leaders should consider whether they are driving an operating culture that exposes tolerance, patience and understanding.
A well-developed culture, that works for your unique organisation, will drive productivity. However, as leaders we cannot ask employees to be ‘productive’ if we do not first know whether ‘they’re okay’! Developing a culture of listening, feedback and action, has never been more important. Checking for well-being and mental state, individual and team sentiment, overall engagement of your workforce, is now critical. It is our responsibility to ensure our workforce is mentally fit to perform.
There are no set rules or processes or procedures that can deal with this current situation, but pragmatism and common sense are paramount. Leaders who are highly aware of their employee’s needs and feelings will further support broader organisational success.