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Culture Doesn’t Need Walls

May 27, 2022

By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Workplace cultures have changed since the start of the pandemic for 65% of U.S. employees, according to a new research report released by Quantum Workplace. Not surprising, right? The report, Unpacking Organizational Culture in a New World of Work, provides a new perspective on the vital role company culture plays in organizations—including the impact of remote and hybrid perceptions of culture.

Key highlights of the research, which surveyed more than 32,000 individuals, include:

  • While remote (45%) and hybrid (44%) say their cultures have improved, only 37% of onsite employees say the same.
  • 28% of onsite workers say their culture has declined since the start of the pandemic.
  • 70% of remote and hybrid employees say their culture is positive while only 58% of onsite employees say the same.
  • Only 28% of employees indicated they felt culture most strongly in the physical workspace.
  • Employees felt culture most strongly in their organizations’ mission or values statement, recognition and celebrations, and approach to employee performance.

“It’s no secret that work has changed amid COVID-19. With the rise of remote and hybrid work, teamed with a tight labor market where there are millions more job openings than unemployed people to fill them, executives are understandably concerned about their company cultures. Our research shows that organizational cultures can greatly impact employees’ engagement and willingness to stay in their current jobs. Companies will need to be more intentional with company culture to keep their employees engaged, retain key talent, and be competitive in attracting new workers,” explained Quantum Workplace Lead Researcher Shane McFeely.

Culture isn’t about being together in one workspace or about perks at work.  It’s defined by the everyday interactions with those you work with – whether it be remote or in the office. It’s about the day-to-day attitudes, actions, and behaviors at an organization. Essentially, it’s how work gets done within a business, including:

  • The way you make decisions
  • The way you communicate
  • The way you celebrate employees
  • The way you behave
  • The way you reward and recognize others

Remote and hybrid work environments are becoming the norm. While many leaders believe that culture suffers outside of the physical workplace, this new research provides a different perspective. According to the report, those offered flexibility in the workplace are likely to see culture more favorably.

Views on culture: Remote Vs. Hybrid Vs. In-Person

My organization has a very strong culture.
Remote: 73%
Hybrid: 70%
In-Person: 65%

The culture at my organization is very positive.
Remote: 71%
Hybrid: 70%
In-Person: 58%

>The culture at my work positively impacts my behavior and work everyday.
Remote: 69%
Hybrid: 67%
In-Person: 60%

According to the report, the top 5 words employees used to describe an ideal culture are:

  1. Flexible
  2. Inclusive
  3. Supportive
  4. Collaborative
  5. Caring

57% of employees surveyed stated they believe HR is responsible for creating company culture.  But it must start from the top down in order to be successful. Leadership should provide a flexible, inclusive, supportive, collaborative, and caring environment where employees can thrive. And according to this research, the walls the work is performed behind matter less than the overall culture including employee recognition and organizational values.  Location does not make or break a culture.

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