Remote Work Isn’t Just About Workplace Technology – It’s Also About a Culture of Trust
Workplace culture change is as important as the workforce technology you implement.
Trust is a well-used word in technology. However, it’s too often that case that as businesses pursue digital transformation they underestimate the importance of trust. There’s so much focus on chasing the latest technological innovations that we can sometimes forget at the end of the day it’s people who drive change. And I don’t just mean individuals. I mean people working together to accomplish a common goal. And to achieve that, they need to believe in each other.
Trust is important, and not just the clinical assurances about our infrastructure and systems security. Just as important are the bonds that connect people, whether that’s a manager to their team or a business to its global workforce. A workforce bonded by trust benefits from improved agility, flexibility, and overall staff morale. When there’s trust, progress is supercharged, and businesses move faster on their digital transformation journeys.
Most importantly, “Trust” must be baked into a company’s culture and be in the DNA, not only between employers and employees but also between the company and employees.
The benefits of secure remote working
Secure remote working is just one example of how a trusting relationship can benefit a business. Being able to work outside the office is one of the great workplace revolutions of modern times. It became something that took on new significance as businesses faced the challenge of operating during the 2020 pandemic. During this time agility in the workplace and remote working went to the top of the digital agenda, moving from a point of discussion for select groups within an organization to a strategic priority for everyone.
However, businesses are still nervous at the prospect of allowing employee collaboration and work and outside the office. Why? The issue isn’t just workplace technology after all companies can find vendors with solutions that support remote working. It’s also a matter of culture and trust.
Remote but not alone
Let’s consider Citrix.
As we moved to remote working during the pandemic it became clear that the majority of us don’t need to be in the office to get our jobs done. However, this doesn’t minimize the human need for social connection. Collaboration and relationship building comes more naturally in person. But, with all employees working at home, the business can function just as well as it did before our work-from-home requirements went into effect.
At Citrix, we have the workplace services and technology we need to work remotely. But the human element – that sense of belonging – doesn’t just happen through the deployment of new technology. It’s baked into the company culture. How leaders guide their people and run the company have a real impact on making remote working a success for employees and the company.
I know that both in Fujitsu and Citrix we’ve seen tremendous support from our leadership and colleagues to help us stay focused on priorities and, most importantly, balanced, despite our new normal (which feels anything but normal).
Businesses around the world face similar challenges in transitioning to remote work. But in most cases, it’s company culture, not technology limitations, that keeps employees from being comfortable and productive working remotely. And it’s culture that will prevent organizations from embracing remote work on a post-pandemic permanent basis.
If there’s one thing that will define the future workplace, it’s employee empowerment. Employees are coming to expect greater flexibility, whether in the face of our current challenges or to manage ordinary commitments outside of work. Leaders should know that expectation is only going to grow, especially considering how swiftly we’ve moved to remote working when it became a necessity.
Flexible working policies will be table stakes for hiring, retaining, and developing the best employees. Anything less, and you’ll lose ground quickly. But in return, employees will be more loyal and more engaged with their work. A lot of goodwill can come out of providing even a little flexibility.
We’ve seen incredible trust among our teams as we’ve all made adjustments in our professional and personal lives. I suspect many people have experienced the same. When it’s time for everyone to return to the office, I hope that leaders will recognize the value of remote work for their employees and their organizations. We’ll all be better for it.