Remote Working: How Does It Impact Company Culture?

The phrase ‘remote working is here to stay’ has been thrown around a lot since April 2020. According to sources, 50% of the UK workforce will be working from home or out of the office within the next few years.

That’s a BIG statistic!

Working from home has some clear benefits; no wearisome commute, spending less on lunches (and not having people steal them from the fridge!), reduced need for office space and a better work-life balance.

At Vivid Technology, we speak to many candidates and clients who are stating working remotely isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. They are more vulnerable to working longer hours, have a more intense work pace, lose the boundary between work and personal life, and find they are missing out on company culture.

Is Working from Home Diluting Company Culture?

Culture is the social order of an organisation. It describes the narrative, processes, ways of thinking, values and behaviours of a company.

Leaders are becoming concerned that workers now have little or no face-to-face interaction with their colleagues in a world where celebrations and events used to be in person. This brings up several concerns:

  1. How can colleagues build bonds that establish a lasting culture?
  2. How can we integrate new employees?
  3. Does company culture need to be redefined to match remote working? And what if we have a hybrid team?

A LinkedIn study found that 39% of leaders feel that company culture has already been diluted or damaged because of remote working, 37% are concerned about employees’ mental health, and 35% fear workers may be bored or demotivated due to continued time away from the office.

When Working Remotely, Is The Organisation You Work For As Important?

Let’s take Google as an example. Google has been named the tech company with the best corporate culture and ranked the number 1 company to work for.

Google’s benefits include:

  • Free wi-fi enabled shuttles to and from work (before the pandemic, only 28% of employees worked from home even though the company is genuinely flexible)
  • Onsite massages, free fitness classes, onsite doctors
  • In-house espresso bar
  • Strong and adaptive work culture
  • Four-legged friendly environment
  • Fun work environment
  • Shared values across the organisation and a clear purpose

One employee has said ‘the people are ‘shooting for the moon’ and constantly make you feel inspired. I was riding the shuttle one random day and met one of the engineers for the self-driving car project. He took me for a ride the next day – it was amazing!’

Another employee stated ‘We have great perks like free food, gym, onsite doctor, discounts and free onsite massages! We have a peer-to-peer learning program where Googlers teach other Googlers on topics that range from yoga to coding!’

So, the question is…

If you work for a company like Google but are 100% remote, do you feel like you work for Google? Do you get the same benefits? Do you have a sense of shared values? Will you get to meet those inspiring people?

Of course, not all companies can afford the same benefits in a place like Google, but the question remains the same – if you work 100% remotely, do you feel a part of your company? Could you work for any old company as the culture and benefits are no longer as important? Or, can company culture be the same and just as powerful even if you are a remote worker?