Only one in four workers say their employer effectively fostered company culture during Covid, poll finds

More than 80 per cent of workers recognise the value of the office in creating culture, but most say going in five days per week isn’t necessary

Just a quarter of workers believe their employer has been effective at fostering a company culture since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, a report has found, with experts putting the blame on remote working.

The poll of 2,500 UK workers, conducted by OC Tanner, found that just 26 per cent say their organisation had been particularly effective in building company culture since the beginning of the pandemic.

Similarly, the vast majority of respondents (83 per cent) said they recognised the value of the office for creating company culture, with nearly three in five (58 per cent) saying the workplace was where they formed the most friendships.

A similar proportion (63 per cent) reported it was more challenging to form friendships with colleagues when working remotely, and half (53 per cent) said their organisation was effective at providing opportunities for employees to get to know each other personally.

The report also found that just a third (33 per cent) of respondents said their organisation had been effective at facilitating team collaboration since the onset of Covid, while 28 per cent said that it had been effective at increasing social relationships between employees.

However, most respondents agreed that working at the office five days a week was not necessary for company culture, with just 8 per cent of respondents agreeing with this.

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Two days per week was believed to be the best balance, supported by one in five respondents (20 per cent). Conversely, one day a week in the office was the least popular option, supported by just 6 per cent.

The report comes as the government has just announced a return of the ‘work from home’ guidance in England, following concerns about the spread of the new Omicron variant.

Robert Ordever, managing director of OC Tanner Europe, said the findings showed office-based working to be positive for collaboration, innovation and connection. “The office is vital for facilitating social interaction, storytelling and memory making, all of which nurture a strong workplace culture,” he said.

Ordever added that a shift towards total remote working should be avoided for the sake of both company culture and business: “Offices are now cultural incubators, providing employees with the best opportunity to connect to the organisation, their leaders and each other,” he said.

The research also found that, when facilitating hybrid working, clear rules on when employees should be available was the most important priority for employees, cited by 64 per cent of respondents.

This was followed by availability of home office equipment (63 per cent) and having a career development programme in place (60 per cent). A similar proportion (59 per cent) also said they would value being able to choose how many days they worked remotely.