The decay of company culture is a risk of extended remote working. The most productive people during lockdown have previously absorbed company culture by experiencing its physical environments and picking up social cues about “how things are done around here.” They have also built up relationships with colleagues and can understand the body language of key individuals even in a remote context.
Overheard conversations with clients and colleagues are a vital aspect of how we adjust to corporate culture that new starters miss out on in the current situation. It is also hard to synthesize the eye contact that is so important to developing relationships. Cameras are peripheral to our screens, so we have to look away from the other party’s face to look into the lens. A better result can be achieved by positioning further away from the screen but resolution is sacrificed.
While telepresence solutions go some way to providing a more immersive experience, they are based on preparing dedicated rooms, so they wouldn’t resolve the human connection issues of remote to remote conversations for people at home. Conferencing applications have undergone rapid evolution in 2020 but the great leap forward to remote human connections will require a hardware innovation.
In the meantime, as we await true sight and sound connectivity, it could be the trading floor that provides a partial solution to the issue of cultural decay. Traders are familiar with open channels that allow dispersed conversations and announcements to be made without disruption. These could be used to provide some of the background sound that enrich the corporate experience and help to develop culture and community. So, while banks will be looking to get traders back into controlled office space as quickly as possible, other industries may find a use for functionality trading floors and other command and control environments have used for years.