Could working from home kill your small-business culture?

Nov 5, 2022Ryan Gair

Australian Broker Feb 2022

I truly believe that working from home is the killer of small business culture. And when you’re a small business, culture is key to success. 
Having bums on seats, social interactions, and having a laugh is productivity FUEL!
I don’t want to have to book in a zoom meeting when I can have a two minute chat at someone’s desk and get on with the day. 

“This chief executive isn’t afraid to say he hates the work-from-home culture that has arisen from the pandemic. But what’s so good about working in the office?

The pandemic was disastrous for business. I’m not talking about how the combination of sick people and lockdowns affected the economy — both of which were bad enough on their own — I’m talking about the destruction of small-business culture that started when working from home became the “norm”. 

Productivity plummeted. People missed phone calls and emails; tasks weren’t done as quickly; communication was simply harder because instead of an opportunistic two-minute chat as you’re walking by someone’s desk, every interaction was a scheduled Zoom meeting. It became a habit for people to start a load of washing, then get food without checking in with colleagues — an otherwise natural and regular occurrence on a normal work day in an office. In short, it was a task to get around to a task.

Regaining small-business culture

In corporations, it’s possible to soften a loss of productivity with enough staff to cover various business activities; in a small business, you need everyone to be on board and together to synergise. When the team worked from home, this energy was scattered, and nobody knew what anybody else was doing. I’m not saying people slacked off. We were all doing the best we could given the circumstances, and plenty of our people worked well autonomously. But it was clear that in the depths of COVID, people lost motivation and their mental health suffered, and this was not something Zoom could fix.”

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