Does working from office really helps build a culture?

If you are working in an Organization and mostly working from home since the time of covid pandemic then you must have noticed that on every session and calls, organization management always encouraging employees to work from office more than home to build a culture. The idea is basically to end work from home culture and make sure to bring all employees to office to perform their duties.

Organization always flagged off lot of problems in tracking employees working from home and hence been trying to change this work from home culture. But in order to do so, the point which always being put forth is that it is required to be done to build a culture since a culture can’t be build in work from home mode. So the important question which comes here is that does working from office really helps build a culture? Let’s try to check more on this.


Does working from office really helps build a culture?

Does working from office really helps build a culture?

Also Read: Why an IT Organization never increases your basic pay in Salary?

While the question is worth looking at but the simple answer is it depends on where you work? I remember before pandemic when there was culture with most of the IT organizations to work from office only, it was almost a chaos around for employees to manage day to day activities in the name of working from office. Then there is another popular argument which has been put forth in support of working from office culture is that it will bring all employees face to face with managers so that it will be easy for them to manage a team and hence the critical work.

In reality, there are numerous organizations where team consists of people from all sorts of location, in those cases it does not matter if you work from office or not as they usually never manage to meet in person. Meeting is always possible on some popular meeting tools like Microsoft Team, Cisco WebEx, Zoom, Skype etc.

But even if all team member works from same location, it never gives the flexibility to work without any fear of consequences as there is always a pressure maintained to complete the work in given amount of time with someone watching you all the time, sometimes that includes staying longer hours in office which creates lot of inconvenience to employees along with their families. I have also observed this culture creates lot of insecurities, especially to female employees who are always watched upon or being forced to provide updates periodically. So, in reality there are no work life balance.

Basically, this culture is what organization is always talking about which is nothing but controlling all employees in a certain way. On top of that, there are lot of externals factors included which proves to be a hindrance to make work from office culture a success. For example, if you are living in a place which is far from your office as the case with many employees, then you have to spend sufficient amount of time daily for commuting to office and then get back to home. Sometimes this takes a heavy toll on employees mental health and productivity due to real time struggle with traffic and transport on road to reach office, especially in metropolitan cities.

Another point that very often comes up in support of working from office is that it allows us to understand and regularly meet our colleagues and teammates to build a team culture. Well, this is right to a certain extent but as per my decade over experience, this only leads to unnecessary conversation more than productivity talks. But again this is a debatable topic and anyone can challenge this based on his/her experience.

But it is usually observed in office if you don’t work out everything as a team then sometimes you are kind of alienated. For example, if your team is going for lunch and some of the team members has some urgent work or meetings then your team culture might get impacted immediately as rest of the team members might not get well along with you in a longer term. There are so many other examples where these kind of cases are pretty common in work from office culture.

When it comes to work from home, it obviously gives lots of flexibility to employee in terms of saving lot of commuting hours to office. It also allows employee to better plan and manage the working hours independently without worrying much about your home and hence increasing overall productivity. At the same time, it is also very profitable for organizations as it is quite evident from the quarterly and annually results of IT organizations. It also helps save lot of organization Infrastructure and operational costs.

In my view, for most of the IT organisations working from office was never a success, even before pre-covid times. It was just forced upon on employees. In an organization, where you only need a laptop to work, I don’t see why going to office should be mandatory for building a culture. A culture can’t just be build with performing certain activities from office campus only. It should be embedded in the values of organizations.

Many times, I have observed that we were only called in a townhall or meeting to clap on stellar results produced by the organization but same organization never pass on their profits share to employees, may be just to shareholders(which also includes senior level executive employees) to keep them happy. I found difficult to understand what kind of culture is created from this. But at the same time, I also believe it is totally fine for anyone having a different opinion on this. What is your opinion? Please do comment and let us know about your valuable experience.

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