Culture change at companies as a result of the coronavirus16. September 2020 Published by Raphael Doerr
The beer gardens are open again, while a bit of life and normalcy are slowly returning to many offices. But might that normality have long been a thing of the past? Will Corona bring about a culture change in companies?
We’ve learned to work together in cross-functional teams in the past weeks. Until recently, we used to sit with our colleagues in an open-plan office or meeting room and were assigned tasks we performed in silence at our workplace. But now, due to the current situation, we’ve learned how to delegate and collaborate on tasks more sensibly and efficiently.
Despite the physical distance from our colleagues, it seems as if we’ve grown closer together and are more willing to share our know-how, provide help and better coordinate ourselves and employees we’re in charge of. The result is a high degree of solidarity that was unprecedented in this form before. Colleagues who used to turn up at a meeting late, if at all, now dial in to the upcoming telephone conference on time. Customers, employees or service providers reply to e-mails faster on average, and people pick up the phone more often to consult quickly instead of the more roundabout way of sending an e-mail. There is the feeling that no one want to put an extra strain on someone else in what is already a tough situation.
Another positive aspect: There are intensified efforts in many industries and offices to abolish the presence culture, and the home office is increasingly a part of the new normalcy: Many teams and, in particular, bosses have realized that staff can also work dependably from the home – and in some cases even more productively and diligently than in the office itself.
So we hope that what counts moving ahead is no longer our presence in the office and the hours we put in there, but what we’ve achieved at the end of a day or week. The focus in the future could be more on actual results than on supervising work processes. As a result, flexible ways of working might be accorded even greater importance and assume a key role in our everyday professional life. It goes without saying that we have to observe core times and that customers must be able to reach us. But some of us are more productive early in the morning and others in the late evening. Is the time at which we work best really important? I believe not.
Sure, one day we’ll all be back together in the office and revert to our old ways to some extent. That will feel like normality to us. Yet perhaps we’ll manage together to preserve the positive habits – cough and sneeze etiquette, washing our hands more often, or efficient, friendly communication in our day-to-day work – and integrate these changes in our business environment.
Ralf Lueb June 2, 2020