The Return to Office: Challenge the Assumptions on Building Culture

Aug 16, 2023

Can We Build Culture Without Being in the Office?

photo of a desk space and headphones

The call for employees to return to the office is getting louder, with President Biden leading the charge by pushing federal workers to resume in-person work. This transition from remote work to in-person operations. However, many employees are reluctant to return to the office, citing concerns about commuting, childcare, and the ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Some experts argue that the traditional office setting is no longer the only way to build a strong culture.

The Benefits of Working in an Office

Working in an office can have many benefits for employees. It can help them collaborate more easily, have more spontaneous interactions, and build relationships with their colleagues.

In addition, working in an office can help employees feel more connected to their company and its mission. It can also provide them with a sense of structure and routine, which can be helpful for productivity and well-being.

The Challenges of Working in an Office

Of course, there are also some challenges to working in an office. For example, it can be more difficult to balance work and life when you’re commuting to and from the office every day. It can also be more difficult to find quiet time to focus on your work if you’re sharing an office with others.

Challenging our Assumptions on Building Culture

The traditional office setting is no longer the only way to build a strong culture. In fact, culture can thrive beyond being in the office together. Culture thrives on shared values and alignment towards the same mission and goals. When employees feel connected to their company’s values and are working towards a common goal, they are more likely to be engaged and productive.

Prioritize Results, Not Location

The key is to prioritize results, not location. When employees are able to produce high-quality work, regardless of where they are working, that is what matters most.

Don’t Skip the Critical Step of Developing Leaders

Leaders need to be able to:

Communicate effectively and actively listen with employees who are working remotely.

Build relationships with employees who they may not see in person as often.

Create a sense of community and belonging, even when employees are not physically together.

Set clear expectations and goals for employees.

Provide regular feedback and support to employees.

Resolve conflicts and challenges that may arise in a hybrid or remote work environment and exercise empathetic leadership.

Ensure remote teams also have access to development opportunities, senior leadership, and industry connections and resources.

By following these guidelines, we can create a positive and productive work environment for all employees, regardless of where they are working.


The return to the office can be a great opportunity to create a more positive and productive work environment. However, it is important to challenge the assumptions that returning to the office is the best way to build culture and a productive work experience. Culture can thrive beyond being in the office together, and the key is to prioritize results, not location. By doing so, we can create a safe and ethical environment for employees to build a strong culture, regardless of where they are working.

How CMatt Consulting Can Help

CMatt Consulting can help organizations build and sustain a strong culture, regardless of where employees are working. We offer a variety of services, including our proprietary COPE for Organizational Excellence Framework, which assesses four key areas of an organization to identify gaps and opportunities: Culture, Operations, People, and Employee Experience:

Culture consulting: We help organizations assess their current culture and develop a plan for improvement.

Operations consulting: We help organizations identify and eliminate waste, improve efficiency, and achieve their goals.

People development: We help organizations develop leaders who are capable of driving innovation and growth and create high-performing teams that are aligned with the company’s mission and values.

Employee experience consulting: We help organizations create a seamless and enjoyable experience for employees at every touchpoint.

If you are interested in learning more about how CMatt Consulting can help your organization, please contact us today.