As Work Goes Remote, Culture Becomes Even More Important

As Work Goes Remote, Culture Becomes Even More Important

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a variety of challenges for companies, but the most significant shift for many has been the move to almost fully remote working. While many organizations have navigated this sea change admirably, others have been experiencing a far choppier transition. And, in many cases, the common underlying issue among those seeing trouble has been a corporate culture that probably wasn’t as healthy as it could have been – even before the pandemic struck.

In a recent piece for Forbes, Laura Garnett outlined nine potential signs of a toxic workplace, noting how these cultural deficiencies have likely been exposed by – rather than created by – the pandemic.

Extreme micromanagement 

Many managers may feel the need to stay more on top of their staff now that work has gone remote, but nitpicking can cripple an employee’s confidence to the point of eventually killing performance and motivation.

Manipulation, not support

Leaders who consistently make employees feel like they’re not good enough, especially under the pretense of “trying to help,” are failing in their important role of supporting their staff, Garnett writes.

What is said versus what is done

Accountability matters. When actions don’t match words, it demonstrates a clear lack of respect between managers and their employees.


Fostering an environment of open and honest communication is often easier said than done but allowing petty gossip and obscurity to fester – especially in the virtual rumor mill of a remote working environment – is a major leadership failure.

Lack of transparency

Every team member should have access to information on how the company is doing. Not only does it allow them to do their jobs better, it prevents them from being blindsided if something suddenly goes downhill.

Who you know versus how you perform

When a company prioritizes factors other than performance when it comes to upward mobility, employees will notice.


If employees are feeling stressed and depleted on a regular basis, energy will fall off precipitously and people will start to look for something less draining. Since they’re no longer interacting in person, it is imperative that managers check in frequently with their remote employees to gauge their attitudes.

Lack of empathy

Times like these reveal the true character of an organization and its leaders, according to Garnett. Do your employees see a company that understands what they’re going through and is doing all it can to help ease their burden?

Emotional outbursts are the norm

There’s enough drama in their homes and day-to-day lives these days to expect employees to want to deal with even more chaos in their workplace.