The New Office – Home of Culture
The office has performed a massive role in the early history of commercial business, and as more people became involved in non-physical work, in the fields or on the factory floor, the use of offices grew. Representing an organized way to bring people together to communicate and collaborate. Being together gave way to office cultures and traditions but as we begin to move into more remote working patterns, how do we keep our scattered teams, together?
The invention and development of telephony was the first real method of liberating people from the office, but the limitations didn’t really dent the draw of the physical locations. With the addition of workers being given personal computers with access to their emails, task and communication apps, digital forms of communication overtook telephony. However, many management teams found it hard to accept and trust that the productivity of remote staff could be just as good at home as it was in the office.
The real revolution in remote working came with the mass adoption of collaboration platforms like Teams, Webex, Zoom and others during the Covid-19 pandemic. Forcing many companies to adopt remote working and management teams to see that productive communication and collaboration was possible and could be trusted. Could this be the start of the eventual decline of the traditional office? There are environmental benefits, parenting benefits, economic benefits and for some mental health benefits. All of these factors leading many organisations to question their investment in bricks and mortar but is there one key consideration that may turn this on its head.
The Power of a Company Culture
There are many logical parts to a business, interlocking in a structural way but at the end of the day the real power and the sustainability of a business comes from its culture. In any business staff will work for their pay, but where the culture is right the staff work harder, want to work in a more involved way, care more about the results, support colleagues in a more complete way and act as evangelists when it comes to recruitment or even new business generation through social media.
Culture is a human thing, an emotional thing, something outlined in statements but made real by actions and shared experiences. It can exist in a virtual world, but it flourishes, grows and delivers so much more in the physical world. As we plan the balance of office, remote and mobile working we must not forget to consider culture, for current staff but perhaps most importantly for the staff that join us in the future. How do they become part of the team? How do they get to feel how we feel?
Tips on Building a Remote Team Culture
- Create time for watercooler conversation – Beer o’clock would usually mean going to the local pub but now it’s easier to invite your remote team along for a regular chat together on a Friday afternoon, ensuring no one feels isolated. With Webex, you can create a casual Space in which you can share links, chat and keep the office banter alive.
- Giving time – making sure your team feel comfortable to be able to cold call anyone in management. There is nothing worse than feeling like you are ‘bothering’ someone. Allowing your team to feel heard is important so that collaboration doesn’t end when they feel stuck.
- Make meetings more interactive – Webex allows you to connect a multitude of third party apps. Why not try to incorporate Slido to your next meeting and get everyone to engage in a new way
The conversation about hybrid working goes on, but as the commercial and logistical questions settle down, the X-Factor of truly motivated humans will become the central talking point.