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Harvard Business Review

How to foster team culture in the hybrid and remote work era

Harvard Business Review
5 minute Read

Two-plus years into the pandemic, many leaders worry that remote and hybrid work are undermining their organizations’ culture. Their concerns aren’t entirely misplaced: a 2022 global study by the research and advisory firm Gartner found that just 25% of remote or hybrid knowledge workers feel connected to their company’s culture. But forcing employees back to the office is risky, as CEOs including Elon Musk and Jamie Dimon have discovered firsthand. Companies should take another tack.

“I find it ironic when leaders say they need to bring workers back to the office because of culture,” says Alexia Cambon, a research director in Gartner’s HR practice and a principal author of the study. “They’re going to get the opposite of what they hope for. Instead of viewing hybrid work as a disruption to the cultural experience, leaders should see it as an opportunity to build culture differently.”

Culture can be evaluated on the basis of two components, Cambon explains: alignment (meaning that employees know what the culture is and believe that it is right for the firm) and connectedness (they identify with and care about the culture).

A Gartner survey of more than 4,500 knowledge workers and 200 HR leaders showed that in-office mandates drove connectedness sharply down.

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