Retaining Corporate Culture amidst the Remote Working
The unprecedented pandemic situation led to restricted people movement and people being confined to home indefinitely and as a consequence “Remote Working” became a commonplace phrase in organizations across. Just the way Covid 19 has been non-discriminatory, the rush to explore the idea of remote working was not confined to organizations of any particular size or sector. Small and large enterprises alike worked tirelessly to facilitate the remote working to making it a success. Managers have been busy keeping their teams occupied and engaged and exploring newer ways of managing their teams efficiently.
While the focus has been entirely on making the remote working work, the journey has had its own repercussions. The following implications have been observed in many of the organizations.
Focus on Urgent
Never ever has the urgency took precedent over everything else. The reactions of organizations have not been lesser than dealing with a catastrophe. For the organizations it was critical was to ensure business continuity and the focus and attention was all towards getting the businesses operational. Hence it has been now or never approaching that could be witnessed all across.
Attention to Tech Enablement
The pandemic did different things for different organizations, but one thing that took a lot of management mindshare was the use of technology in making remote working more feasible and efficient. Hence, the attention was towards the technology enhancement and the planned and unplanned tech investment made its way in the current year budget. But for the situation, tech enablement would not have seen the kind of attention and commitment that it has got in the last few months.
Not sure when in the past we would have witnessed the kind of staff engagement when it came to training. The staff training initiatives have always had its challenges and getting employees to train and develop has been one of the most difficult tasks that Firms faced. All that seems like past as suddenly we had kind of captive audiences ready and willing to learn. They no longer had the usual work-related reasons for not being able to attend the training that the organizations wanted them to attend.
Each and everything that the organizations have done since the pandemic has been subjected to severe efficiency testing. The budgets have been re-jigged and while tech spends increased, revenues faced headwinds, fixed costs and depreciation stayed constant, the organizations had to weigh all the options available to ensure the sustenance especially since there has been no visibility on when the situation will normalize and even if does what are the things that would get altered permanently. Hence it became pertinent to ensure efficiency while the staff worked from home largely.
Impact on the organizational cultural fabric:
While organizations have been struggling to keep pace with the situational demand and doing all that they could do to ensure continuity and sustenance, the measures have had their own repercussions. And as the Firms have tried to fix urgent, the importance seems to have become an immediate casualty. One of the most critical elements, the aspect of organization culture, has come under severe stress in this process of massive change measures that the organizations have adopted to deal with the current challenge.
The staff in most places were not trained or acclimatized to be home confined for such long duration and similar organizations were not ready to manage them remotely. The change happened too fast and without any warning when both stakeholders were least prepared, to say the least.
The organizations that built their cultural overtones over the years and decades didn’t even realize when its culture faced its greatest challenge ever. Accessibility to management vanished, communications have become impersonal, objectivity has prevailed over subjectivity, trust has been replaced by fear, organizational tolerance has gotten replaced by decisiveness and overall organizational life has become far more impersonal. These changes are bound to alter the organizational cultural balance.
But will the damage last?
The organizations will realize this misalignment quickly and will do all that is in their gift to fix it quickly. In fact organizations with great leadership had anticipated or have noticed the challenge and have taken measures to fix the damage by reaching out to staff and by taking affirmative actions. And there would be some organizations who will fix their story no sooner we would get back to the post-pandemic environment as they may not have any choice left to avoid staff disengagement.
The pandemic has proven to be a great learning experience for organizations. Let’s hope that the current stress on the culture is temporary in nature and without the tension post-pandemic, we would get back to original size and shape with the same zeal, enthusiasm, and hope.