From Trends to Truths: 6 Changes to Corporate Culture in A Post-Pandemic World

Lily Tomlin in *9 to 5* foreshadows major changes in the corporate world.

1. WFH IS THE RULE, NOT THE EXCEPTION

Let’s start with the big one. Whether it’s bringing employees back or conversing with candidates, expect the script to have flipped from “how many days are employees allowed to work from home” to “how often will they be expected to come to the office.”

2. ALL WORK FROM HOME MAY NOT BE ALL GOOD

After a full year away from our desks, I can confidently state that the initial celebrations of WFH productivity were premature. Yes, working from home is terrific for tackling low-cognitive load tasks like email or focused projects like writing, but anything more collaborative or creative requires coming together.

3. IT’S TIME TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT CREATIVITY

Through the pea-soup of the pandemic, we’ve all experienced the limitations of video calls. When companies finally go into flex mode, leaders serious about creativity and collaboration will develop rules and tools to foster the hybrid work patterns. The most explicit example of this trend that I’ve seen is investing in function-specific office spaces, like global ad firm R/GA has done.

4. PLANNED SPONTANEITY AND RELATIONSHIP BUILDING

Pre-Covid, physical offices facilitated human connection. We didn’t realize how vital coffee station greetings and accidental run-ins were. Those collisions are gone, and with it, our primary method for building and strengthening our relationships. When teams are apart, there’s no swinging by a colleague’s desk to chat. Companies will need to schedule times and experiences that inspire the kind of insight and relationship-building that casual collisions once did.

5. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR OWN BOUNDARIES

Boomers, Gen X, and elder Millennials began their careers when office and home were clearly defined, a settled part of the landscape we never questioned. But when work emails started to sneak into homes on the backs of Blackberries, these physical barriers began to fall. Now that we are at work at home, the borders are not only gone, in their place is a neon sign buzzing “Open 24 hours”.

6. NON-LINEAR WORK DAYS

With so many people working across further-flung time zones, expecting all employees to work at the same time has become unrealistic. Dropbox, among others, has begun to set core working hours — those times when everyone must be present for live meetings and conversations. Beyond that, anyone can work anytime as long as the work gets done. Non-Linear Work Days is a great description because it makes explicit the unstated truth that nobody is capable of working straight through the day, and it makes it clear company policy that’s acceptable. What a relief to ‘allow’ what’s been happening for a while. h/t to Dropbox for calling it that and calling it out.

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Josh Levine

Josh Levine

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Author of Great Mondays: How To Design A Company Culture Employees Love. You don’t have your copy yet? Well what are you waiting for? https://amzn.to/2snC2mN