The jury is still out on whether remote and hybrid working is creating a positive or negative impact on ‘workplace community’ with U.K employees fairly evenly split. 37 per cent of U.K employees feel that hybrid work has made it harder to create a workplace community but 41 per cent disagree. These are the findings from O.C. Tanner’s 2023 Global Culture Report which collected and analysed the perspectives of over 36,000 employees, leaders, HR practitioners, and business executives from 20 countries around the world, including 4,653 from the U.K.

The research also reveals a similar split between those employees who believe that remote and hybrid working has improved or not altered their organisation’s culture, with 37 per cent believing the culture is now better and 43 per cent believing it’s stayed the same. 20 per cent feel the culture is now worse since moving to a hybrid working model.

“I’m not surprised that employees are conflicted over the impact of hybrid work on both workplace community and overall company culture”, says Robert Ordever, European M.D of workplace culture expert, O.C. Tanner. “How employees feel about their place of work is so dependent on the steps organisations have taken to bring everyone together regardless of their physical location. Some organisations have worked hard to nurture a united culture with shared goals and a compelling purpose, whereas other companies are disjointed and haphazard in their approach.”

The Report asserts the importance of building ‘workplace community’ post-pandemic as it strengthens employees’ sense of belonging, encouraging them to want to stay and grow with the company. In fact, there’s a 785 per cent greater chance that employees will feel they belong when there is a strong workplace community.

And although U.K. employees are generally positive about their ability to stay connected to their teammates and leaders from a distance, with 71 per cent stating that they are easily reachable, there still remains trust issues between remote workers and their leaders. A third of remote workers (33 per cent) don’t trust leadership, highlighting a key obstacle to building workplace community.

Ordever adds, “Organisations must focus on ways to nurture togetherness so that trust, camaraderie, unity, good communications and shared goals are commonplace. Key steps to achieving this include developing a caring and collaborative leadership team, and nurturing a culture of everyday appreciation. By responding to every employee’s need to be part of a community, especially in the age of hybrid work, organisations become thriving centres of innovation with high levels of engagement and frequent instances of great work.”