In today’s digital landscape, a company enforcing mandatory full-time office attendance can leave employees confused, annoyed, or outright angry. This ‘company culture conundrum’ highlights the delicate balance needing to be struck for work-from-home policies to be successful.
As digital communications technologies continue to streamline our collaborative and communicative efforts across the globe, commutes are being steadily replaced with full or hybrid remote schedules, also known as the work-from-home movement.
The traditional office commute is quickly becoming a thing of yesteryear, especially given the rise of remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic. For many workers, gone are the long drives, traffic jams, and other general stressors that often contributed to the sense that going to work every day was to be a dreaded, frustrating experience.
As may have been expected, workers have largely appreciated the shift to work-from-home or hybrid models.
The flexibility of a remote workplace opens up workers’ schedules and resources to maintain a better work-life balance.
Problems like childcare, appointments, and the like become much easier to handle when workers have more autonomy and control over their day-to-day lives. The opportunity to work remotely can invite current and potential employees to see your company culture as trusting, reasonable, and flexible.
Remote Work Takes Work
Consequently, thanks to the relief remote work offers, some businesses have seen dramatic shifts in their employees’ attitudes – and productivity – for the better. In today’s digital landscape, a company enforcing mandatory full-time office attendance can leave employees confused, annoyed, or outright angry, as companies like Apple and Twitter have recently discovered. This ‘company culture conundrum’ highlights the delicate balance needing to be struck for work-from-home policies to be successful.
Remote work policies can easily be mishandled in a variety of ways. Altering, adapting, or abandoning the traditional corporate structure comes with much to consider for both employees and the organizational culture at stake.
Not everything remote work offers contributes positively to organizational culture. For all the positive effects work-from-home can offer a business, it can offer as many potential pitfalls. Here are a few concerns business leaders should consider when deciding if a remote or hybrid work model is right for a workplace culture.
1 Inaccessible Resources
Work-from-home models require that employees access some form of technology – either personal or company-provided. When these technologies break down or require repair, the extra time it takes to coordinate and perform the necessary maintenance can impact efficiency and productivity. With remote work, any simple need an employee has can easily become a frustrating experience trying to contact the right department or staff. Frustrated employees can become embittered or exasperated and begin to resent their employer, significantly impacting company culture.
2 Communication Challenges
Communication can be more challenging in a remote work environment. Misunderstandings can lead to a breakdown in trust among a workforce, or between employees and their supervisors. Digital communication may feel instantaneous and reliable today, but that is not always the case. Without the ability to have impromptu conversations and check in with coworkers or supervisors live and in real-time as needed, remote workers may feel disconnected from the rest of the company and less invested in its culture.
3 Lack of Face-to-Face Interaction
Remote work can lead to less face-to-face interaction and collaboration, which can have a negative impact on company culture. This can result in a sense of isolation for employees, making it more difficult to build relationships and foster a sense of community within the company. And, without face-to-face interactions, workers often communicate through email and text message, which can quickly devolve into misunderstanding – in tone, if nothing else.
4 Work-life Balance
When working from home, it can be difficult to separate work and personal life, leading to burnout and decreased work-life balance. Employees may relish the chance to handle a few household chores while on the clock, but can potentially feel overwhelmed or exhausted from adding personal responsibilities to their work day. Conversely, employees may try to accomplish more in a given day with the extra time, but may find themselves working during time they otherwise could dedicate to their personal lives, and can become resentful. This can impact employee morale, motivation, and overall well-being, potentially damaging the company culture.
The Importance of Understanding
Remote work certainly is not going anywhere. If anything, as technologies continue to streamline our work, we should consider how to use these and other tools to offer innovative and nuanced methods for reinventing company culture to meet current workforce requirements.
A work-from-home structure offers businesses and employees various tools to adapt to modern working needs, and can help employees feel more relaxed and in control of their daily job schedules. Yet, remote work certainly is not without its problems. If a company shifts from an office to a remote model, business leaders should stay mindful of communication and logistical concerns that may not only disrupt the work itself, but may also disrupt a sense of cohesive company culture.
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