Cultural Key Elevates Remote Work

By Alana Smart / August 15, 2023 / Blog ,

Cultural Key Elevates Remote Work

In the era of evolving work dynamics, remote arrangements have emerged as a game-changer. In an end of year survey in 2022, 82% of U.S. hiring managers at companies where employees worked remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic said they would continue offering remote work. But what’s the secret behind a successful remote work setup? New research from the Georgia Institute of Technology might have the answers.

Dr. Munmun De Choudhury, Senior Researcher at the School of Interactive Computing, notes that remote work was a major pandemic-induced shift for us all.

“One of the biggest changes during the pandemic for all of us, for better or worse, was remote work […] The motivation for us in this research was to understand what makes some organizations more suitable for remote work and others not.”

Remote work undoubtedly boasts advantages like flexibility and inclusivity. However, it’s not without its challenges. Issues with collaboration, communication, and overall work environment can arise. So, what makes some remote work setups thrive while others struggle? The study’s revelation? Cultural aspects stand as the linchpin of a successful remote work environment.

Cultural Key to Remote Success

The study analyzed over 140,000 employee reviews from 52 Fortune 500 companies, all of which embraced remote work between 2019 and 2021. Glassdoor’s unique feature of anonymous reviews provided the researchers with a treasure trove of genuine insights. While the reviews did not encapsulate many middle of the road opinions, focusing on employees’ extreme views allowed the researchers to analyze the positives and negatives in depth.

To decode the data, the researchers employed an algorithmic prediction task. Their model, blending statistical and deep learning methods, impressively predicted favorable remote work environments 76% of the time. The study employed organizational behavior theory to categorize company culture into 41 dimensions across seven subgroups – interests, work values, work activities, social skills, job structural characteristics, work styles, and interpersonal relationships.

According to the study, the most triumphant remote work environments stem from organizations that cultivate flexible and supportive atmospheres. Drawing insights from Glassdoor data, companies with a positive remote work culture empowered employees to chase personal goals, make autonomous decisions, foster collaboration, and maintain flexible work hours. Keywords like “work-life balance” and “flexible work” frequently adorned the pros section.

Cultural Lapses and Pitfalls

On the other hand, organizations that struggled with remote work had some obvious pitfalls. Companies that didn’t have a supportive culture were more likely to display unethical behavior, foster disrespect, and lagged in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. The study underscored how company culture profoundly impacts the remote work experience.

Minding the Gaps

The researchers believe their results reflect generational differences in what’s most valuable to employees. Millennials and Gen Z appear to value culture highly, with job satisfaction intertwined with work culture rather than just compensation. Younger generations prioritize flexibility in work hours, which is where companies fostering remote work culture gain an edge.

While remote work opens doors to flexibility, it’s not without its challenges. Mental health concerns like isolation, anxiety, and depression can creep in. This can lead to presenteeism, increased absences, and disabilities. However, leaders can step in with targeted programs and benefits focused on mental well-being.

In the end, the key to successful remote work lies in creating an organizational culture that supports, empowers, and thrives on collaboration. The era of remote work continues to evolve, but with the right cultural key, companies can embrace this change and unlock its full potential.

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