Does our environment shape corporate culture?

The culture of a business drives productivity, establishes the interpersonal relationships between management and employees, and ultimately makes the difference between success and failure. 

For many organisations, the pandemic has turned established corporate culture on its head and forced management and employees to rethink the way they work and relate to each other in the era of remote collaboration. 

Covid may not be over, but many companies are looking forward to a flexible or even full return to their Cape Town office in the coming year. If your business is one of them, you may want to consider how to reshape your corporate culture to meet the needs of clients and workers in the post-pandemic era.

Everything begins and ends with culture

A lot of people like to talk about company culture but what is it exactly? 

  • The culture of an organisation basically refers to a common set of beliefs and behaviours that everyone agrees are normal and which determine how employees and management interact in and outside of the office. 
  • Once this set of norms has been agreed on, it’s easy for rules and policy to be made in a way that doesn’t clash with the outlook and way of thinking of the people involved. 

Living in a multicultural country like South Africa we are often faced with the challenge of matching our corporate culture to meet the various values and belief systems of our people. But no matter what your background or language might be, the pandemic has probably affected your businesses at a fundamental level

If you’ve been scrambling to make things work in your company during the pandemic, you’re not alone

  • The past two years have seen decades-old management systems dissolve as companies found themselves going remote, with lengthy strategy sessions or boardroom meetings being replaced by impromptu zoom sessions.
  • While the shift to remote working or a hybrid model may have been difficult, it’s now such a fundamental part of our work culture that it will be difficult to go back to the way things were pre-pandemic. 

Let’s look at some of the compromises that management can make to create a dynamic and attractive company culture in the years to come.

Resetting coordination between teams

The shift to remote working has a profound effect on the relationships between employees in the same organisation. 

  • Typically, members of small teams found that they were communicating more than ever before using tools like Slack and Zoom to collaborate and seek authorisation from managers. 
  • On the other hand, outside of small teams, collaboration within the organisation tended to drop. If you’ve attended a zoom AGM recently and seen faces pop up on the screen that you forgot you even worked with, you’ll know just how alienating this era has been. 

Bringing teams back into the commercial space with a purpose, is one solution to this challenge. Some employees no longer consider the office a place to do routine tasks – but it could be an essential tool for collaboration and strategy sessions, especially when different departments need to get together to work on a large project.

Making office time feel necessary

One of the biggest eureka moments  to come out of the pandemic is that we don’t need to be at the office in order to do work. On the other hand, companies around the world have found that fully remote teams don’t perform as well as those who spend a significant amount of time in the office.

Productivity experts have been studying this phenomenon and there seem to be several reasons that could explain why office time is so important when it comes to getting optimal results

Whatever the reason, opportunities to collaborate and learn from colleagues (tacit knowledge) is something that most of us can only benefit from when we are in the office

Part of creating a healthy corporate culture during and after the pandemic is recognising the essential role that in- person interactions play in the development of strong competitive teams and healthy organisations. 

An office environment that’s physically and psychologically comfortable and welcoming will encourage people to come to work and make use of the opportunities for collaboration that simply don’t exist when working from home via Zoom.

Reboot your return to office & corporate culture with new office space

There’s nothing like a fresh, modern commercial office space to create a sense of purpose and encourage team members to come into the office. It’s a new space where they can collaborate and be the best they can be. 

If you’re re-opening your business in 2022, now could be the best time to secure a commercial property in Cape Town. Contact the Commercial Space team today to view our portfolio of office and industrial properties in the Mother City.