Covid-19 has brought about many changes, not least the way people interact with each other. This impacts workplace culture too. Social distancing, the deterring of unnecessary physical contact and increased hygiene practices have all had an impact on the way we behave, both individually and around each other.
As employees begin to integrate back into the workplace, this shift in attitude is likely to have far-reaching consequences for the culture many organisations have carefully built over the years.
A Culture of Workplace Health and Wellbeing
Health and wellbeing, whilst always a focus area, is now considered an organisational priority, as has the need to respect the connection between the workplace and home working. For many, new ways of working have been established, creating a perceived better work/life balance and for those returning to the office, it is going to be important that these can continue.
Culture and Hybrid Working
So, what do employers need to think about as they pivot their post-lockdown workplace culture to respond to a new era of hybrid working?
Your business purpose: The lockdown period brought with it a huge amount of innovation and entrepreneurship as businesses diversified to deliver what their customers needed. If this flexible approach is now embedded as a part of your business model, it’s important to take time to build this into your purpose. Employees need to understand the new company direction and the contribution they can make to feel truly engaged.
Vision and values: Amidst the turmoil and challenge of recent times, it’s possible that employees have lost their connection with corporate vision and values. As you embrace a hybrid model, it’s an ideal opportunity to reflect on what is important, not just at an organisational level but also for the employees who work for you. This needs to be comprehensively shared and reiterated to ensure everyone is striving towards the same outcomes.
Employee proposition: Attitudes and behaviours have shifted as a result of the pandemic and prospective employees are now seeking a different kind of proposition. Your stance on flexible working, your attitude towards corporate social responsibility and your sense of purpose are all things that are increasingly important as candidates make employment decisions, so make sure you both understand your proposition and can articulate it when it matters.
Inclusive communications: Managing a blend of home and office-based employees isn’t without its challenges, but it’s important that everyone in your organisation feels involves and included regardless of where they are based. Careful consideration should be given to technology platforms and collaboration tools to ensure that when employees are working, they are properly connected wherever they are.
Empower your workforce: With the shift to lockdown working, employers demonstrated great trust in their employees to get the job done. With a shift to hybrid and agile working, it’s important that this sense of trust is not undermined by actions that suggest the autonomy was only ever temporary.
Workplace Culture after Lockdown
No matter how established a company culture was pre-pandemic, it’s crucial to recognise the change that society has been through and the impact this has on your ‘new normal’. It won’t happen overnight, but by being proactive and involving your whole organisation, it is absolutely possible to rebuild the sense of cohesion that defines your company culture.