If sudden national lockdowns proved anything to the business world, it’s that mass remote work is more possible than many ever dreamed. When the Covid-19 pandemic swept through Asia, Europe, and the Americas, stock exchanges went fully electronic and bankers began to work from bedrooms. Overnight, multinational law firms closed their offices, and businesses predicated on collaboration and “face time” moved their faces to video-conferencing software.
For many workers, the new prevalence of remote work is in line with a desire they’d already expressed, to be less tied to offices that were often located in city centers, a long commute from people’s homes. But as the dust begins to settle, many also say they miss the office.
The things we miss are often intangible: Chance conversations, jokes, shared complaints, and shared lunches. Collectively they can be called “company culture”—an amorphous term which can refer either to the way an employee experiences a firm, the way a firm tries to present itself, or a mixture of the two. There’s no doubt that company culture has one of the most powerful impacts on how we feel about our jobs. And culture as we know it is undergoing a profound change.