Work from home till the onset of the pandemic was generally thought by the non-IT world, mainly allowing you to work easy from your home environment. It was to happen once in a while, where there were serious issues to commute or the person could not leave his / his home because of some personal exigency. But he could manage to work. That work can shift to home was in nobody’s imagination and more so that there can be an emergency which would literally lay siege over the whole world. Even travelling from one room to the other was a big No, at times. One house to the other was more difficult than getting through the most difficult visa process. How has work from home impacted the corporate culture, each successful corporate valued it so much, after it all, it was created with so much effort, making that organization distinct from others.
Without getting into exceptional corporate cultures that were created, the challenge today is, whether the generic corporate culture is on its way out? Can it survive if WFH stayed on for long? Some digital social connects; event / activity types, are certainly being tried upon, with very tepid response, after a little vigour once or twice. The disconnection has been gnawing, the people who have had worked in the pre-CVOID days are carrying the connects based on those office / official reminiscences*, but what about the new entrants to the corporate world in the last two years. Are they even able to imagine an office environment and the way life used to revolve around it. Do the employees who have been baptized into this culture from day one, be able to gain a sense of belonging,
That the employees would ever miss office, was in the zone of the surreal. But today there are vast majority who are missing it. That physical space was not an anonymized general physical space, it had immense professional, knowledge and growth meaning. The social connections which emanated out of it, is what people have been missing most about their offices. A dedicated workspace, face to face meetings, even travel, and a variety of official / social interactions. People get associated with the physical space and environment of the office too. The employers got a chance to show their concern for the employees, in a physical space which was their own. From food to cycling to open spaces and world class architecture, there was enough for the employees to connect. The real estate footprint of quite a few corporations has been massive.
With employees working on their home desk / work space silos, how can corporate culture be created. The general tenor of dress could give a feeling of the sector and quality of corporate, you were working for. The world also got an idea of the corporate, based on its employees’ interface with the outside world. How much of corporate grooming can happen and be of use in the WFH environment? Can a computer screen be in lieu of everything what being a corporate employee meant to be in the pre-pandemic world? ”Employees who don’t know their co-workers, don’t interact with people beyond their team, or don’t have strong ties are far less likely to stay in a job.” Finally, it is not an employment, just a job being attended to, more so it can be called a list of tasks, a transactional relationship. It is one laptop versus the other. Company loyalty cannot be created virtually.
WFH PULLED US THROUGH THE CRISIS OF THE CENTURY, THE NEXT MODE OF WORK, WILL DEFINE OUR CORPORATE CULTURE.