The quote “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” from management consultant Peter Drucker makes me think, especially in times like these. It can be interpreted differently, but what is meant is that corporate culture plays a key role in all strategies. So if the culture of a company gets in the way of the strategy, its implementation becomes difficult or even impossible.
Home office as a “must” – good for some, bad for others
Through Corona, we are virtually forced to work from the home office. Worldwide, a large number of employees who would normally work from the office now work from home. Some enjoy being able to enjoy the benefits of the home office permanently and without a guilty conscience. Others, despite being asked to stay in the home office, would rather go into the office to “get out” and enjoy closing time afterwards. Others have no choice but to try to reconcile work and childcare from home. So everyone feels differently with the unfamiliar situation, but everyone is in the same boat. Some companies have succeeded better in spontaneously moving to the home office, others worse.
The better companies had introduced the use of home office before the start of the crisis, the easier it is for them now.
Communication tools are one thing, a clearly defined corporate culture is another
One thing is certain: Today it is clear who has established a clear corporate culture. The better companies had introduced the use of home office before the start of the crisis, the easier it is for them now. Communication tools for video conferencing do not have to be laboriously set up; they are already in active use. Employees are also used to communicating without physical presence and are still able to capture the moods of others.
What about the corporate culture in the home office?
Much has been written about having the right tools to increase effectiveness and communication in the home office, and there is no doubt that these are now essential. But what is equally important is the corporate culture: Do I feel comfortable working from home? Or do I have the feeling that others might think I work too little? Or do I secretly even imply to others that I would like to take it easy now? Do I like virtual meetings – or am I constantly afraid that the technology might fail? Do I feel more isolated because I work from home? Or do I have the impression that I communicate with my colleagues just as often or more often? Are we still creative in team work, or do I now feel more like a lone wolf?
The answers to all these questions lead back to the corporate culture. And this brings us back to the quote mentioned at the beginning: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” So what good are the best strategies for virtual communication if employees simply don’t feel comfortable with them?
While digital communication systems can be set up quickly, it can take a long time to establish an appropriate corporate culture.
Corporate culture cannot be set up as quickly as digital systems
Corporate culture can take many different forms, but it is important that everyone lives it and works to create trust. Trust among each other, trust in leadership, trust in the home office. While digital communication systems can be set up quickly, it can take a long time to establish an appropriate corporate culture. And even then, it is always subject to change. This takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s worth it – not only in crisis situations, but in the long-term.
At OTRS Group, corporate culture has been a major focus since the company was founded and is continuously evaluated. The values of our culture are clearly expressed, making it easier for employees to live them. In today’s environment, we are particularly pleased that employees have long had the freedom to choose where they want to work and to schedule their working hours freely. This is very beneficial to us now, because we can continue to live our corporate culture and do not have to reinvent it. A great deal of trust in the success of the home office is firmly anchored in our company, because even before Corona, around 70 percent of our employees were working from the home office.
In general, freedom is an essential part of our corporate culture; this is also anchored in our mission statement. And now, when a large part of our freedom must be taken away from us in our private and public lives, we are grateful to be able to continue enjoying great freedom in our professional lives.
Here you can find out more about our corporate culture: