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Autumn Edition 2021


However hybrid and remote working pan out, one thing is certain: office culture will never be the same again. Indeed, for many it’s “Almost like having to learn the job all over again,” as it was described to me in a recent meeting. 


One group that’s strongly affected by the culture shock is those young people who joined the desk-based workforce during the pandemic. For them, the ‘employee engagement’ and the social element that comes from being in the office may be hugely welcome after the relative isolation of working-from-home (WFH), but the changes – and expectations – must still be carefully managed.


To go on, any organisation that’s been managing WFH properly is likely to have seen hierarchies flatten during lockdown. Traditional authority models and patterns will have shifted too, with good managers managing by results, not by time spent in the office. 


Dress standards have also changed. Those pyjama bottoms which were invisible on Zoom won’t be welcome in the office, but it’s clear now that few of us need formal attire to get the job done. We may even see the final demise of the suit, as those industries that hung on to it finally recognise its redundancy. A small point in itself, but a very visible sign of cultural change.


How will organisations help their people navigate these changes? It turns out that hybrid working isn’t just a matter of letting people telework a few days a week, it’s also a mindshift – a new way of thinking, collaborating, and everything else involved in office work. Interesting times, as they say.

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