How will the working environment be in the future – and how will it influence the culture in companies? Over the past decades we have seen office hubs popping up everywhere. Physically working together in modern offices with a large attention on amenities, was a strong focus for both employers and employees, but Covid-19 has changed that.
So what now? How will the changes influence organizations and their culture in the future?
With Covid-19 we have fast forwarded into a new reality where organizations see employees working from home and not having the daily dose of intersocial activity and rapport by the water cooler or the coffee machine. Work is still being done and to some extend in an admiring, yet sometimes alarming way. We have adopted new technologies into our daily routines, and suddenly it is not required that we are in the office every day or attend meetings with a physical presence.
In my work as a trusted advisor, I have seen that our new normal can work, but it takes an effort. It takes an effort to build trust to new business partners and colleagues, and you must pay attention to how you communicate.
I have spoken to my network, to get you some answers!
Vertic – a digital marketing agency helping F500 companies with their digital journey – have successfully recruited new employees global working remote from the head quarter. They have had a head start in working on the distance and using all digital tools available. It is working in a way that they are planning to use remote hubs even more when bringing in new competences, not being limited by geographical distance. Still founder Mads Petersen is aware of the importance to bring in new colleagues in order to get to know each other, form trust and feel the culture.
Focus on mergers and acquisitions often is on numbers, optimizing business processes to reach the strategy, while employees and culture are often neglected. Studies show that Covid-19 has made it even more difficult or close to impossible to engage in the forming for a new culture and on-boarding new employees. However new tools and ways of working have been introduced and have become routine. You don’t have to be at the same location to work together saving a lot of time and money travelling. And the transition from one location to another has been easier than expected. Despite that the necessity of meeting in person, bonding and building trust is essential to grow a culture, and some employees have a hard time adjusting, lacking the trust amongst one another.
For McKinsey & Company, Covid-19 has brought different kind of assignments and projects along as well as they see a vast demand for their services. But the company has become more aware to have a focus on how their human capital is coping. New colleagues have been seen having a hard time adapting to the organization, when only working remotely and consider leaving the company within a year, due to it is hard to getting to know your colleagues and clients furthermore don’t expect you to be on site in different cities across the globe when you are working on an assignment. Hence HR and management are taking the temperature on the employees’ mental health weekly to look after their most valued asset. Employees have a hotline to the HR Manager and is offered professional guidance and help without having to document that they are not feeling well to the authorities or a doctor. Small groups of employees that don’t know each other are formally being put together for dining to small talk, exchange ideas and getting to know each other. Employees are encouraged to take a walk with a colleague or in a group whom they don’t socialize with on a regular basis.
Organizations have been quick to adapt to the new circumstances. New ways of working and technologies have been adapted quickly - and it is working – results are achieved – but it is important not to forget the human factor and to meet in person, if we want build trust, exchange ideas, and build and nurture the culture of the organization that bind us together.
Jacob Gylling Mahler