Develop corporate culture in remote work environments

Jason English

Over the past twelve months, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives. As businesses look to the future, many companies are learning from this period and using them to rethink the traditional archetypes surrounding the way we work. With stay-at-home orders still in effect in many parts of the world, more people than ever are now officially work from home, and this is a trend that is expected to continue long after the pandemic is over.

In a post COVID-19 era, business leaders will need to decide whether remote working has been of benefit to their business and how they will adapt their business practices to the reality of remote working. We can already see changes being implemented within large companies like Google and Facebook who have extended their work from home policies until 2021, with Google already making plans for a hybrid work model in the future. Twitter and Square went further by telling employees that they will be able to continue working from home indefinitely.

The reality of remote work

According to a report by Boston Focus Group, in Europe, nearly 80% of white-collar workers have worked remotely to some extent since the start of the pandemic, a figure that was below 20% before the crisis. In their Future of Work Survey, BCG collected data from more than 1,500 managers and 7,500 employees to assess the status of remote work. Their findings were overwhelmingly positive, with nearly 40% of managers stating that productivity within their remote workforce had actually increased, and many stating that they expected to follow some kind of hybrid work model. even after the end of the pandemic.

While 99% of all remote employees found at least one benefit of working from home, there were challenges recognized by both employees and managers. These understood that it was harder to control and boost productivity, ensure team engagement and connection, and perhaps least surprisingly, 51% of employees believed it was harder to maintain a work culture while working remotely.

If we look at the workforce cultures of the past, a physical presence in the office wasn’t just about the value of getting the job done. The value of an employee was strongly related to the time he perceived be at work. Someone who was willing to work late demonstrated their commitment to the company. Likewise, being physically in the office gave people the opportunity to chat and bond with their colleagues, creating a kind of social glue that effectively activates cultures within organizations.

In the new remote working environment, companies virtue signaling and physical interactions have become obsolete. The opportunity to show value through attendance, or to chat between meetings or during a break has evaporated, leaving many employees feeling isolated and disenfranchised. For the new remote workforce to be truly successful, one issue could be the key to productivity in the business world for at least the next ten years.

So how exactly do you build the corporate culture within a remote team?

In the McKinsey Quarterly item Reinventing the postpandemic workforce, the authors examine the best ways to fit a hybrid virtual model into a business. Here are some of the top tips for executives:

· Need to define and adopt new behaviors as well as to guide, inspire and empower small teams.

· Make sure you create a level playing field between remote and on-site workers.

· Encourage a culture of openness and informal interactions, especially within your remote teams to help create a cohesive environment.

· Create “safe” spaces to learn from mistakes and vocal requests.

As the business world enters a post-COVID economy, it will be extremely important for leaders to choose a hybrid model that best fits the needs of their organization. Getting it right could lead to a number of positive outcomes, including better access to talent, increased productivity, lower costs, greater individual flexibility, and even a decrease in a company’s carbon footprint.

The rise of the leader from a distance

Going forward, organizations will need to identify how best to manage remote teams while taking steps to ensure morale remains high. Executives will need to be proactive in developing and maintaining team culture.

Jason English, CG Tech’s Ecosystem Director, understands a thing or two about team building. In fact, the South African entrepreneur has distilled his idea of ​​clear and transparent leadership as the key to creating compelling corporate cultures. In his book The Oros effect, due out later this year, English describes how a leader Oros (their ideas, beliefs and knowledge, named after the famous South African orange concentrate) is the key to establishing a positive corporate culture in which each team member instinctively understands their purpose and is able to work seamlessly with colleagues to achieve a common goal. In the new paradigm of remote working, it is an approach to corporate culture that has led some to compare Jason English to the Simon Sinek of the digital age.

“In these difficult times with the pandemic, it is your employees who will ultimately move your business forward. If you haven’t built a strong team, difficult situations quickly become untenable, ”explains English. “The world is changing rapidly and you want to allow the forward-thinking people in your corner to recognize trends and pivot when necessary,” says English.

This forward-thinking approach to business is part of CG Tech’s operating model. Founded in 2012 by President Niall Carroll, CG Tech is an investment holding company with interests in oil and gas, industrial events and services, technology and e-sports. Under the leadership of Carroll and English, the company has taken a unique approach to managing its diverse portfolio, with a board of directors made up of the owner-operators of the portfolio companies, creating a culture of total openness, shared decision-making. and community. .

Jason English and his partners have adopted a ecosystem thinking within the group of companies, which CG Tech has used to recognize synergies between their organizations. A good example is The Virtulab, a subsidiary of CG Tech and creator of Virtuworx Platform. By relying on virtual environments based on avatars, the solution aims to bring remote employees into teams. What was once an in-house solution for CG Tech is now proving its value in the marketplace, with a number of companies already leveraging Virtuworx’s capabilities to bring their teams together to create the corporate cultures of the future – remotely.

As we enter the second year of the pandemic, the question of how we might design corporate cultures in remote environments will remain a top priority for businesses. With companies like CG Tech and executives like Jason English leading the way, their examples could serve as role models as we navigate this new, remote and knowledge-based economy.

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