How Remote Work Is Shifting Company Culture & Values

From being more transparent about employee expectations, to making in-person meetings count — companies are changing their ways for good.

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By the Offsyte Team, December 10, 2021

The labor force is undergoing a major transformation as remote work starts to become the norm. Industries and companies capable of sustaining a work-from-home model are giving it a serious try. As a result, there’s been a shift in workplace dynamics that’s hard to ignore.

2021 witnessed the Great Resignation, where millions of Americans quit their jobs in search of more flexible schedules and greater autonomy over their work. Workers are no longer keeping quiet about their desires to get back home in time for dinner with their kids, or take a mental health day as needed.

Employees in today’s workforce might have more leverage than ever before. Companies are starting to react to this shift in power by reevaluating their workplace environments, and making sure those environments are supportive of employee needs.

Below are a few ways in which companies have started to change their day-to-day operations in order to accommodate their workers:

Going Digital-First

As remote work has started to creep into even the most traditional workspaces, employers have had to reassess their workplace resources. Employees are now checking into a decentralized, virtual office space where no two workstations are alike. Several companies have decided to go “digital-first,” in an attempt to streamline and standardize workplace tools.

Going “digital-first” means giving employees all of the tools and resources necessary to get work done from home, or wherever else they may be. This enables employees and employers to reimagine collaboration in the workplace.

Chief People Officer at Paddle, David Barker says of his employees, “They can choose to work in the way that is best for them; whether that’s coming into the office, working from home or some combination of the two.” It’s an approach companies all over the world are taking in an effort to keep valuable talent at their offices — even if only virtually.

Publicizing Company Culture & Values

Whether they be verbally communicated or visibly displayed somewhere in the office, most companies have a set of company values outlined. Employers generally understand the need to rally their employees under a few common themes in order to boost morale in the workplace.

Now that employees are working from home part-time, full-time — or leaving their employers all together — companies have decided to publicize their company culture and values. A number of firms have started to make their company values explicitly known online, with the hopes of attracting competitive talent to their teams.

One of the best examples of a company openly promoting their company culture is “Netflix Culture: Freedom & Responsibility,” a set of slides published back in 2009 by Netflix CEO & Founder, Reed Hastings. The slide deck has garnered 12 million views since its debut and has proven to be a strong branding tool for Netflix, positioning the company as a highly-desirable employer.

Other examples of impressive company-culture slide decks are:

  • Grammarly’s Culture Code
  • LinkedIn Culture Deck
  • The HubSpot Culture Code

Being Explicit About Employee Expectations & Accountability Practices

Perhaps one of the most helpful “pressures” placed upon employers in a remote-work setting is the need to be clear and direct about expectations and accountability measures. Frustrations in the workplace are often attributed to miscommunication, however, problems also arise due to a misalignment of expectations.

Employees’ first understanding of what is expected of them comes from the job posting to which they applied. As they step into their new roles, employees may start to notice aspects of the job that weren’t obvious in initial conversations with their superiors. It’s expected that as time goes on, employees adjust and assimilate into their roles through context.

With less time spent in the office (if any at all), employees are left with minimal examples of what their roles are supposed to look like. By listing out explicit guidelines and procedures, employers help employees better understand what it looks like to:

  • ask for help from a colleague;
  • receive feedback from a manager;
  • go through the chain of command to report a complaint;

and deal with other workplace nuances that aren’t so straightforward from the onset.

Embracing Hybrid Models for the Long-Term

Future Forum recently conducted a workplace-culture study across six countries. It found that the vast majority of knowledge workers value flexibility. 72% of the individuals surveyed preferred working within a hybrid remote-office model, with only 16% wanting to be fully remote and 12% wanting to return to the office five days a week.

Employees are eager to avoid arduous, daily commutes into the office and establish work-life balance. Keeping this in mind, employers are not considering remote models as temporary fixes to a pandemic-affected world, but rather as long-term solutions to a workplace culture that is clearly transforming.

It’s important to keep in mind that employees are not the only ones benefiting from these changes. Companies going remote are now able to hire from a much wider talent pool, reduce their real estate expenses, and operate more efficiently. Several high-profile companies have publicly admitted they may never return to an office-centric culture including:

  • Deutsche Bank
  • FlexJobs
  • Starbucks
  • Twitter
  • Infosys

Hosting Meaningful In-Person Meetings

“That meeting could’ve been an email.”

If you’ve ever worked in an office you’ve heard that phrase at least once! You may have even whispered it to a co-worker after leaving an unnecessarily long check-in with your team.

Now that in-person interactions in the workplace are being reduced, employers are feeling pressured to really make those in-person meetings count. Hybrid and remote models make it harder for teams to meet up. In order to get employees out of their homes and into the office, there needs to be a clear and important reason for an in-person, team meeting.

“The value of face-to-face interaction is heightened in this work environment, so it is crucial that this is utilized to its full potential,” says Allison Hill, co-author of Work From Anywhere and CEO of Pragmatic Thinking.

We’re living in a time where employers are recognizing the need to create workplace environments that are flexible, supportive, and enjoyable. Companies are also realizing that not only do their employees benefit from remote work, but business operations benefit as well. It’s a great time to enter the workforce.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article!

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