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How is remote working impacting company culture

For many employees, remote working has been a positive change and they may prefer to continue working remotely in the long term. Some companies are now embracing the idea that remote working might become semi-permanent. Facebook and Google announced that employees don’t have to return to the office in 2020, while Twitter said that their employees can do their jobs from home for good. But the shift to remote working also means that for many organisations company culture might be at risk.

Adapt to keep culture alive

The organisation’s ability to innovate, experiment and quickly take advantage of new opportunities is even more important in the current climate and leaders need to cultivate the organisational culture to keep employees focused, even as they face difficult circumstances presented by the pandemic.

Gallup’s recent research discovered that employees who don’t work at the same location as their managers are less likely to say someone cares about them at work or feel recognised for their contributions. The data has also shown that about 60 percent of employees, even before shifting to remote working, don’t fully understand what their organisation stands for and employees who work remotely are even more disconnected from the cultural components.

A different study has shown that even when companies create a culture that is strategically aligned and strong, it might not survive in the long run unless they also develop a culture that is adaptive in real time. The findings uncovered that organisations that were strategically aligned, strong, and had built in the capacity to adapt quickly to dynamic environments earned 15 percent more in annual revenue compared to those in the same industry that were less adaptable.

Focus on culture drivers

Culture drivers, such as values, structures and behaviours that make up the employee experience either help or hinder employees’ ability to perform. In the long term, upholding corporate culture and productive output means putting the company’s guiding values at the forefront of every action. Leaders also need to focus on the ties that bind their employees together. To maintain the company culture, they should define and protect the drivers that create it to ensure sense of belonging and psychological safety.

With remote work increasing the risk of cultural breakdown, it increases the need for frequent feedback. Whilst feedback might be perceived as an uncomfortable task, for both leaders and employees, when it becomes a two-way conversation powered by partnership, the landscape shifts. Not only does it lead to better relationships between leaders and teams, but feedback may even produce greater joy, instead of worry.

Encouraging people’s strengths by providing specific feedback on the impact they are making helps them and your organisation to thrive. In return, a positive workplace culture drives employee engagement and productivity. There are several ways leaders can improve how they deliver powerful and productive feedback– focusing on how they would want to hear it themselves, understanding the recipient’s position and emotions, linking it to the future and what the employee can do to move forward; to name a few.

Becoming a good feedback-giver means proactively developing the skill of giving praise as well as constructive criticism. Giving positive feedback shows that leaders care about their team’s success and makes negative feedback less stressful and more effective. At Acumen we have over 21 years of experience in designing and delivering leadership development programmes that give leaders at all levels the practical tools to help solve real life challenges. For more information about our programmes please contact Simon at

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