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WorkSpace Wednesday: Whither the Collaborative Culture?

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WFH all but monopolizes conversations around the workplace today, and that leads us to wonder: Can corporate culture survive the splintering effect of pervasive remote work?
 
This question is particularly relevant for us over at our sister site, WorkSpace Connect, given that we created the site to focus on the connected, collaborative workplace. Many companies have spent years building up their cultural identities around the idea of collaboration, knowing that facilitating off-the-cuff and formalized conversations among employees can lead to greater innovation, increased productivity, and other positive performance metrics.
 
As I explore in a recent WorkSpace Connect post, a culture of collaboration needs to be a cross-disciplinary effort. Yes, No Jitter readers, enterprise IT must absolutely be involved — but so too do HR and facilities/real estate. Creating a collaborative culture takes the convergence of thoughtful HR programs aimed at encouraging employee engagement with communications technology that enables collaborative work in office spaces that support such technology as well as foster positive, mindful experiences.
 
The good news, as I shared, is that corporate culture does seem to be surviving our grand WFH experience, pretty much intact. That’s what publisher Quartz and employee experience management firm Qualtrics discovered in a recent study of 2,100 adult workers in 11 countries, including the U.S. Among the respondents, 37% reported that their workplace culture had improved since the pandemic’s onset, with fewer than half of that (15%) saying culture declined. The remaining 48% indicated that they saw little change in company culture, as Quartz reported.
 
While its research was purely quantitative, Quartz/Qualtrics shared a few ideas about why people might be registering improved cultural experiences outside of the office. They include:
 
  • Increased productivity (more, but shorter meetings)
  • Improved corporate communications, which makes employees more connected
  • More “intimacy” — i.e., the outgrown hair-dos and makeshift home-office spaces lead to a greater understanding of and empathy for colleagues
 
Naturally, as Quartz/Qualtrics found, people that rated corporate culture positively pre-pandemic were more likely to report a cultural improvement during this WFH period — and likewise on the flip side. A negative pre-COVID cultural rating was likely to signal that the respondent would see a decline in culture during this time, they reported.
 
A lot of this is intuitive, but the data does provide some reassurance. Continuing to sponsor values like collaboration shouldn’t go to the wayside with WFH.
 
Visit us at WorkSpace Connect to see what else you missed!

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