How to Ensure Organizational Culture Does Not Disrupt WFH

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Occurrences and changes make us come up with acronyms; sometimes an acronym will quickly fade away, but that depends on how it impacted people. One acronym that will remain with people for generations is WFH.

When an acronym derives from an experience that has transformed corporate and organizational culture, affected 7.9 billion people, almost crippled the world economy, and 97% of employees want to continue permanently, you won’t expect people to forget it in a hurry.

What is WFH?

WFH is an acronym for “work from home;” this has come to become a word that everybody uses since we embarked on remote work. The COVID-19 pandemic sent people away from the physical office; the home took over the role of the physical workspace; it became necessary for people to work from home and telecommute.

WFH could have been an abnormality some years back; a great majority of people have been conditioned to the 9 to 5 setting; that was the culture. But as nothing can be said to be static, especially when you don’t have the power to control certain events, all you do is to adjust to happenings and that was exactly what organizations did.

It became necessary to seek out new ways of doing things; organizations saw the need to integrate complex software capabilities that will enable them to run their business processes. The positive mindset and the doggedness ensured that businesses did not collapse. Now, we have a new dawn, the dawn of WFH.

Wherever an employee is, that can serve as the office. It’s no longer compulsory for your employees to operate from a physical workplace. Employees can effectively telecommute and get tasks done.

Organizational culture

Every organization has set-out ways of conducting business processes; when employees are hired, the first thing is to take them through the dos and don’ts of the organization. The distinctive way of conducting business processes by an organization is the culture.

Even where you have the same product or offer the same service, what sets you apart from the competition is your organizational culture. Your organizational culture proceeds from your tradition, history, and structure.

It embodies your identity and competitive advantage. It’s “the way we do things,” which is quite different from the way others do. It encapsulates who you are, your focus, values, and beliefs.

When customers decide to become your brand ambassadors, your organizational culture is very instrumental to such decisions. A new employee goes through the tenets, beliefs, and rituals, that sum up the culture of an organization as a step in the onboarding process.

It’s not usually easy to change the culture of an organization on a whim, but the pandemic and the WFH model have necessitated a dramatic and sudden shift from the norm.

The need for a shift in an organization’s culture for successful WFH

When there is a need for a shift or change in the culture of an organization, efforts should be made to allow such shifts. In certain instances, the shift may mean another new opening for the organization. A case in point is that of Jaguar, which changed its manufacturing culture for better-operating processes.

WFH is a change to employees’ cultures and other ways of doing things. To ensure you succeed, you may have to exploit the following steps:

1. Encourage employees to collaborate

In the physical workplace, it was easy for employees to communicate; they saw each other daily, and an employee could take a problem to another employee physically for input. The WFH model does not afford employees such opportunities directly.

But you need to ensure efficiency, and that can’t be done without employees collaborating. The truth is that employees should be encouraged to take ownership of their tasks, but they still need to relate with other employees.

It’s a new experience for a lot of employees; they should be encouraged to come up with suggestions and ideas that can make WFH more successful. They have gone through different experiences since you embarked on WFH; by making them share their experiences, you will be creating an avenue to achieve a common goal and improved customer experience.  

2. Alignment on vision

WFH is an innovation in the way work is done; it was necessitated by the pandemic, so there must be a vision from the organization, which translates to a new organizational culture. Where do you want to go with the model? What do you intend to achieve?

Every employee must know the vision of your organization, and there must be a concerted effort to make this vision the aim of every employee. Create a realistic vision statement that must include improved customer experience, product or service quality, increased productivity, flexibility, communication, and adaptability.

There will be the need to adopt new technologies and revamp legacy systems; you need the understanding and corporation of employees to enhance a resistance-free transformation. When you bring everybody to the table, you can ensure a more open exchange of ideas between lower employees, the middle managers, the senior managers, and the CEO ultimately.

3. Training employees virtually

Employees were not prepared for WFH, but that does not mean that you can’t do anything about it. A substantial change such as WFH requires that employees must be trained due to the integration of new technologies such as AI and machine learning.

Since it’s not possible to have physical workshops for this purpose, you can use video conferencing and other collaboration tools to enhance training for employees. Collaboration platforms have greatly made this easy, but there is the need to ensure that they have all the necessary cybersecurity updates.

Employees’ and customers’ sensitive information must be protected in the WFH model. This may call for a new organizational culture that every employee must adopt.

There must be new roles and new responsibilities for employees to adopt.