What has the pandemic done to your company’s culture? Was it strong enough to withstand the exodus from the office?  Or has remote working made your culture disappear? While we all value face-to-face collaboration, experts believe culture goes deeper. “Organizational culture is more about people and organization’s values and the behaviors and that lives regardless of location,” says Diane Domeyer, Executive Director of The Creative Group, a Robert Half company that provides talent solutions in marketing and creative. “Those organizations that had strong culture and values had to respond with their employees.”

Listen to Diane Domeyer discuss motivating the remote worker in our Shaping Culture podcast.

Veil of Secrecy Lifted

But how did companies respond? We know times of crisis test a company’s culture, but remote workers added a new and challenging question. “How do they keep that culture alive with disparate working groups, teams working from home or in new geographies?” asks Doymeyer. One way was to step up internal communications and find new channels for leaders to engage their workforce. “The last year has really lifted the veil of secrecy to the human condition,” says Domeyer. Lifting that veil played out on Zoom meetings where company leaders were no longer seen as inaccessible. They appeared side by side on the screen, in their homes, with their kids in plain sight and juggling work and life just like their employees.

Zoom Fatigue

We know when organizations improve internal communications, a culture of trust grows. But as much as Zoom brought everyone together at a time we all craved interaction, it also slowed productivity. Meetings were scheduled back-to-back-to-back, work was constantly interrupted, and “Zoom Fatigue” set in. Some companies reacted and created “Zoom-free” days.

Better Communications with Podcasting

Others turned to less demanding communications channels to engage their workers, with podcasting becoming the newest darling. “More employees are doing windowed working,” says Domeyer. That meant companies had to quickly realize their employees might not be available from 9 to 5. Their days now included homeschooling, caring for parents, making shopping runs, or booking healthcare appointments. “Employees were forced to work at various times to fit in the demands of their personal. Podcasting, for executive messaging, connections, and training programs, is definitely something we saw a lot more demand for.”

It’s a Matter of Trust

The remote working used to seem like a perk. But the pandemic has proven the effectiveness of working from home. A happier employee is more efficient, productive, and trusting. “Employees value flexibility of when, where and how they work and during the pandemic, employees also found value when, where and how they receive messages and podcasting was the best choice,” adds Domeyer. So the next time you see someone taking a walk with headsets on, don’t assume they’re listening to music. The smile on their face could be the result of listening to company messaging, hearing from leadership, learning new procedures or celebrating an employee of the month. These days, they’re doing it on their terms, when receiving this messaging fits their schedule and not while working on a deadline.