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Our Blog – The Lemonade StandYour Culture is NOT your Building

Your Culture is NOT your Building

There is so much chatter about the return the physical office with such a varying degree of responses. On one hand, I’m hearing absolute resistance because people have had to change their lifestyles and the way they manage their families to adapt to Covid and working from home full-time.   They’ve created new habits, reduced cost of childcare (potentially) and set up their environment to support their new normal. And Now, their employers are asking them to come into the physical office either full or part time.  On the other hand, I can see people chomping at the bit to get back to their old normal and create some distance between home and office.   Somewhere in the middle is the opportunity to create the next normal which is absolutely blended. 

Getting people back to the office:

The challenge is real.  I’ve heard several approaches, but a couple felt more genuine and interesting.  An MD of a Consulting Firm was determined to create the right environment that invites people back into the office and offered to buy the first coffee of the day.  I spoke to a fabulous regional HR leader who, along with his leadership team, really clearly defined the new expectations – that having employees in the office working with their teams, at least 2 days per week, was important to their culture of innovation.  In both these examples, they’ve communicated their intention and rationale very clearly.

Important question: Are we asking employees what they want and what is important for them personally? 

One size does not fit all.  Every employee is different and will have different needs.  Where do our employees do their best work and at what times?  What are the elements that need to exist for employees to have the best mindset and be their best self?  After all, we are measuring outcomes and creating a culture of accountability, right?  Not just measuring presenteeism.

Are you thinking about your Culture and what the office needs to represent to support that?

This COVID thing has turned this conversation on its head and asked us to think more deeply about culture and how to achieve it.   Some great questions to prompt thinking:

 

  1. Have you clearly defined your strategy and culture – do they align?
  2. What’s the purpose of the office for your organisation? Is this the old or new purpose?
  3. Is it organised and functional to support that purpose?
  4. What are the habits and rituals that need to change and how will they show up in both the physical and remote working environments?
  5. Wellbeing and resilience are a hugely important consideration in this conversation – are you including this in planning?
  6. How are you working with your leaders to ensure they have the skills and capabilities to manage the complexity of blended work environments?  And by the way, it’s not good enough to say, well they’ve been doing it since 2020.  Mental and physical wellbeing is huge part of what leaders have been dealing with for the past 15 months.  We’ll need to do better than that.
Why do we want people back in the office or working face-to-face?

Spending time in offices or face-to-face feels good to build relationships, have fun, create chatter, and that interpersonal connection builds trust and provides levity and joy in our work. There is something so energising, when you are in a room with smart people co-creating and bouncing ideas of one-another.

I often find that when I’m sitting on Zoom meetings all day, it is just so easy to be distracted.  It’s exhausting.  I have to remind myself each meeting to check-in and ask how people are and make space for stories.  Now there is definitely some upside to working at home – no commute.  This is good and bad. 

For me, I need to work in different settings.  I love working outdoors because I’m energised by the natural light and fresh air.  But I also like a stand-up desk when I’m doing important meetings so working in one office, with one type of desk and one light source will not do. 

COVID has handed us a gift (or opportunity) to think about the best way for people to work.  Let’s use this opportunity to understand employees better and how to create the best culture (either remotely or physically) that supports that. 

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Lemon Co was created to help you make your change, the way you want, in a really people-centered way.

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style

Maya Angelou

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