Navigating the Power Pendulum in an Asymmetric Work World: Fostering Culture and Balance.

3 min read
Asymmetric work

In today’s rapidly evolving landscape, where asymmetric work models and hybrid structures have become the norm, managing culture presents unique challenges. The power pendulum between employees and leadership plays a crucial role in shaping an organisation’s culture but understanding this dynamic can help both employees and leaders navigate this new paradigm. In this blog, we will explore how the power pendulum impacts culture in this new world, and discuss strategies to foster inclusivity, collaboration and alignment.

Remote working and flexibility have empowered employees with more autonomy and decision-making clout that has reshaped the way we now work. Whilst employees have embraced better work-life integration and reduced commuting time making them more satisfied and in turn more productive, the financial pressure generated by the current squeeze on profits has meant organisations are optimising for efficiency and conserving cash. This is leading to a desire for more direct contact with employees and more in-office time.

Leadership teams perceive that there is a divide between their remote and in-person employees and that different work arrangements along with physical distance hinder effective interaction and collaboration. The lack of shared purpose and values leads to both misalignment and a fractured culture. Leaders believe there is a strong value in shared physical spaces for spontaneous conversations and synergies that fosters a sense of camaraderie and team cohesion through face-to-face interactions.

The COVID-19 pandemic shifted the power from the organisation to the employee, however, it appears that the pendulum is now swinging back to favour the organisation’s needs.

Navigating the tension from this power pendulum shift and finding a balance is crucial for managing a healthy culture which respects individual autonomy whilst also fostering a strong organisational culture.

During the most recent event in our CEO Breakfast series, Chris Jones of BMJ shared with the group how they have changed their offices to represent both the company’s culture as well as embracing their hybrid work model. To facilitate team cohesion and face-to-face interactions, they also organise regular in-person gathers for office and remote workers to support relationship-building. This has shifted the focus away from where employees work to how they work which has strengthened the organisation’s culture.

If culture is;

Culture = Intentionality x Number of Interactions

Due to most companies’ current asymmetric work strategies, the number of daily human interactions is low – if the number of interactions decreases, intentionality must increases, to achieve your desired culture. As proven in the case of BMJ, they were intentional about the culture they wanted that created trust and alignment across every level of the organisation, regardless of the workplace strategy in place.

It is important to highlight that each organisation’s approach, as is also the case with an organisation’s culture, is unique to that organisation – there will never be a one-size-fits-all solution.

The only way to manage this power shift, as is also the case with an organisation’s culture, is to measure it first and then track its progress…

Culture15 is your complete toolkit for tracking culture change. CEOs and Exec Teams at world-leading organisations use Culture15 analytics to ensure success by aligning their culture with what they need to execute their strategy. If you’d like to find out how to define the culture and values you need, diagnose the culture you have and close the gap, talk to our team. 

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