Don’t cling on to pre-pandemic working cultures. They’re gone.
I’m seeing a number of articles on “maintaining your company culture when hybrid” recently (mostly posted by coworking businesses, but I’ll let that lack of impartiality slide).
I think they’re completely wrong. Your company culture has changed. If you think that the culture of your business is the same post-pandemic and post-hybrid, you’re blindfolded.
Firstly, a “company” doesn’t have a monoculture — different teams have individual cultures, which need recognising and embracing and designing for. You already know this. Your sales team has a radically different culture to your engineering team, for instance. Your company is a collection of cultures.
Secondly, your organisation’s culture (as has been said many times) is how people behave when you’re not looking — and right now, you’re not able to directly look at or see how people behave any more. Rethinking how you can support positive behaviours, foster collaborative behaviours, embrace individual behaviours, identify negative behaviours and shift to outcomes over attention is critical.
Finally, culture was NEVER about the space (i.e. ping pong tables and nice airy offices are not culture) but what the space enabled and supported. Now you’re no longer in control over the space, you need to actively think about how you can enable different types of spaces to support your people doing great work and being healthy humans. This means embedding support and services into spaces, not just providing spaces for work or connecting.
So, don’t aim to maintain your culture.
Look towards what modern work cultures really are — diverse.