Is Company Culture Dead? Or Does It Have A New Name?

By Jessica Brewer  |  March 22, 2022

Prior to April 2020 most businesses believed company culture was the key to attracting and retaining top talent. Companies offered perks like bring-your-dog-to-work days or free lunches to make employees happy while in the office.

And then Covid happened, and the world shut down. Schools closed, some people quit their jobs, some lost their jobs, and some lost their businesses.

But through it all, we learned we could work from home. Even companies in legacy industries adapted. But everyone wondered: Is this sustainable?

As schools and businesses reopened, many employees didn’t want to lose their newfound flexibility, and for good reason. Sixty-seven percent of employees say they experienced an improvement in work-life balance once they began working remotely. This caused employees to rethink their relationship to their career and what was important to them when choosing a place to work.

But this new paradigm wasn’t just good for employees: studies show that companies that offer a good work-life balance have 25% less employee turnover and 50% fewer healthcare costs. Plus, 85% of companies that offer work-life balance programs for their employees report an increase in productivity.

But how do you design a culture around flexibility? How do you make it fair and consistent?

It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Not all jobs or industries are conducive to time or place flexibility. It’s important to understand what matters to your workforce and evaluate how you can offer more flexibility for all employees. It takes time and effort to design flexibility options that work across your workforce in a fair and consistent way.

That said, flexibility is no longer considered merely a nice-to-have. Eighty-nine percent of workers returning to the office say flexibility where they work is most important. 

Thankfully, 70% of managers say they’re more open to flexible models for their teams than they were before the pandemic. Why? We know how to do it now. They also recognized that this opens the doors to not just retain talent but to also attract top talent from around the country.

With 58% of the US workforce remote in some capacity in 2021, workplace flexibility will continue to play an important role in organizations looking to attract talented employees in an ever-evolving work environment.

But flexibility doesn’t just mean working from home. It can also mean schedule flexibility. According to a recent survey, 80% of respondents said they would be more loyal to their employer if they had flexible schedules.

Some workers want flexibility to focus on their physical health—to take a run, a walk, or just go outside when they need it. While others opt to utilize work flexibility to focus on their mental health and well-being. With 25% of the American workforce approaching job burnout, a flexible schedule could mean the difference between retaining or losing top talent.

Additionally, some workers want flexibility so they have time to invest in themselves, whether that be going back to school, getting a technical certification, taking leadership development classes, or just learning a new skill.

So, does all this work-from-home talk and flex schedules mean the office is dead? Heck no! The office is still a fantastic place to fill the face-to-face social needs we all have and desire. The office just has to adapt and become less about a physical space or set time and more of a platform for relationships.

How will you integrate flexibility into your company culture? Will you allow employees to work from anywhere? Or perhaps flexibility in when they work? Whatever you decide, make sure to communicate your new guidelines effectively so your team members understand what is available and are clear on the expectations associated with those benefits.

Ultimately, a flexible work environment is built on trust. You must trust your employees to approach objectives in their own way and on their own schedule, and although it may require us to rethink how we do business, isn’t a company culture built on trust and flexibility more rewarding than free lunches? “Trust,” Stephen Covey once said, “is the highest form of human motivation. It brings out the very best in people.” I don’t think the same has ever been said for pizza.

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