It might be a new year, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the ever-growing importance of effectively navigating hybrid and remote working. That’s why this month we have been reading Remote, Not Distant: Design a Company Culture That Will Help You Thrive in a Hybrid Workplace by Gustavo Razzetti.

Being the creator of the Culture Design Canvas – a framework that helps organizations map, assess, and design their culture – it’s no surprise that Gustavo’s latest book aims to explore the secrets behind successful remote workplace cultures.

After spending years studying businesses like Amazon, Volvo, and Microsoft, Gustavo addresses the multiple key areas that are crucial for organizations to be able to operate effectively in remote and hybrid settings. This includes examining culture, how to keep a team connected, asynchronous communication, facilitating conversation, and finding and defining the right hybrid model for your business.

Gustavo outlines the five key mindset shifts that companies need to make in order to reset their workplace culture and optimize their remote working environments:

  1. Intentionally design workplace culture – this will see the active involvement of employees in this design process, and will require employers to be open to experimentation. If they are finding that something isn’t working, they shouldn’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board and adjust. Involving the team in the process means you will create a culture that works for everyone – and highlight how valued your employees’ opinions are!
  2. Prioritize impact over input – working long hours and being readily available at all times are not the defining factors of an employee; performance should be measured on the results achieved! This shift in mindset will see employers encouraging employees to showcase their accomplishments rather than perpetuating the outdated ways of presenteeism.
  3. Forget traditional work-life boundaries – remote work blurs the lines between home-life and work-life, and in order to successfully operate remotely, employees need to be allowed to embrace the messy reality it can sometimes bring. Normalize interruptions from children or furry friends, and be more lenient to dressing down when working at home. This helps ensure the home remains a sanctuary that still symbolises comfort and rest.
  4. Collaboration doesn’t have to be synchronous – in hybrid workplaces, it’s important to acknowledge that everyone works according to their own timetables. Embracing this flexible and autonomous approach allows individuals to optimize their productivity and discover their peak working hours.
  5. Delegate decision-making to empower teams – get your teams involved with creating their hybrid working policies and empower them to have a say in how and where they work. This solidifies the culture of autonomy that threads through all these mindset shifts and helps to create a more fulfilling workplace experience.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Throughout the book, Gustavo explores why the ‘office’ doesn’t equal ‘culture’, and how to build psychological safety in a hybrid working world.

Our OrgEssentials team specializes in start-up and transformation, and so if you would like to discuss how we can help bring these remote working practices to life in your workplace, please get in touch with us!

And if you would like to get your hands on a copy of Remote, Not Distant, you can head over here for the UK and here for the US.

Buzzword lovers, rejoice. There’s a new phrase circulating the corporate social media sphere: grumpy staying.

If you are yet to come across it, ‘grumpy staying’ refers to an employee who remains in their current role while being openly frustrated, less productive, and visibly agitated with their working environment – but avoids doing anything to improve their situation or attitude. With the cost-of-living crisis still continuing, many workers do not feel at liberty to just up and leave their job, hence leading to a rise in this trend.

At first glance, this would sound like the diagnosis of a ‘bad apple’ employee. But if we dig a little deeper, it is highly likely that an employee isn’t just frustrated for no reason – even if they are reluctant to (or don’t know how to) communicate this.

What might be more productive for employers to do is view ‘grumpy staying’ as a symptom of a larger issue – by diagnosing it at its root, they will be able to remedy it and ensure that other employers do not spiral into these same feelings of frustration. So, what are some possible causes of ‘grumpy staying’?

  • Toxic work environment – this requires looking at the culture of the organization; is it inclusive? Is there constant conflict? Are there a number of complaints about bullying? Having HR conduct a culture audit is a great way of getting to the bottom of this.
  • Lack of career development – 75% of employees believe that it’s important that their employer invests in their personal development. If an employee feels that they don’t have a clear path for development because of a lack of developmental opportunities, this may be leading to them feeling stuck, and subsequently ‘grumpy staying’.
  • No work-life balance – in the modern working world, especially with the post-COVID carpe diem mindset – work-life balance has become a swaying factor for many employees’ contentedness at work. This is confirmed by Randstad’s 2023 report which found that 94% of employees believe work-life balance is important – so if they feel they are not being afforded it, this may lead to ‘grumpy staying’!
  • Personal issues – if, as a manager, you notice an employee acting out of character, this may be a sign that something is going on outside of the workplace. This would be a great opportunity to schedule a one-to-one and discuss how you have noticed a change and wanted to check-in, creating a space for an open dialogue where the employee will feel more comfortable being honest.

Of course, there are instances where someone is frustrated because they feel unfulfilled at work, and this can be tricker to approach as an employer. However, one strategy we have found for this is the idea of creating ‘squiggle room’ – that is, offering job crafting opportunities where suitable to foster innovation and allow an employee to bring some of their personal passions into their working life. This can be a great way of boosting morale and warding off the ‘grumpy staying’ attitude.

If you would like to discuss how we can help your company find the source of this ‘grumpy staying’ and prevent it from affecting productivity, please get in touch with us.

Dissent in the workplace is a delicate thing. Challenging the status quo can be seen as a rebellious and necessary act, but normalising dissent is a lot easier said than done. People get defensive, or begin questioning their own judgement. There is a sense of discomfort in dissenting which has to be navigated sensitively.

That being said, those employers that are creating a space for constructive criticism to take place are the ones unlocking all of their innovative potential.

So, what does this space look like, and how can employers create it?

The first step is by ensuring that the space in which the team are discussing and debating is a psychologically safe one.

Firstly, leaders should clarify openly that they are welcome to opposing opinions. A manager or executive who is leading the discussion will carry natural weight in their words, so they should use this to their advantage; ask for contributions, ask for debate, ask for challenges to the status quo. Establishing the space as one where employees can contribute freely will immediately boost engagement in the topic being discussed.

It is then great to follow this with establishing that ‘there are no wrong answers’. Asking employees to take an interpersonal risk is a vulnerable thing to do; nobody wants to be deemed ‘incorrect’ or ‘silly’. The encouragement of dissent is all about the encouragement of innovation – in the right space, ideas that may have seemed far-fetched can ignite a domino-effect of thought from another employee and so on. Leaders need to actively make the space to be a bit wacky, as they may strike gold in unlikely places!

Once the debate is in full swing, the chairman (in this case, the manager in charge) will naturally notice who is more willing to be honest and open. They should actively engage with these people and ask them directly for their opinions – if others around them see that they can truly dissent without repercussions (within socially acceptable boundaries, of course) then this will likely entice and embolden the rest of the team to get more involved.

This is also a fantastic diversity and inclusion strategy, as it pushes for divergent thinking. For those employees who are more neurodivergent, they will feel much more comfortable and valued sharing their perceptions and ideas in a psychologically safe environment.

Dissent can unlock a wealth of opportunities for employers, it just has to be managed correctly. And it’s no secret that many contemporary companies have been wildly successful by challenging the status quo.

If you want to discuss coaching and training options for encouraging dissent in a productive way in your workplace, please get in touch with us here.

‘Hustle culture’ is a buzzword that’s become quite popular over the last year. With some dubbing it as ‘burnout culture’, it is the idea that you have to work extra hard and put in extra work to get recognised for promotions and opportunities at work – in short, you are always hustling.

Since the pandemic, employers have started to become more in-tune to helping their staff achieve a better work-life balance. However, the remaining prevalence of hustle culture suggests that there is still a way to go for employers to normalise happiness above hustling.

For instance, there has been a rise in hustle culture amongst the youngest generation of workers, partly to demonstrate how they reject this preconceived notion that Gen Z are prone to ‘quiet quitting’ (although, our previous article explains why this term is actually a misnomer). But by this logic, it seems that in order to successfully hustle, one must forgo personal time, boundaries, and essentially their happiness overall.

And yet, our own poll found a stark contrast to this conclusion, with 77% of respondents measuring their success by how happy they were, in comparison to just 11% stating they measured it based on how much they earned. So, while there seems to be a shift happening in favour of doing something that makes you happy, there is still this belief that working unpaid overtime and devoting yourself to your job is what you should be doing if you want to be successful.

This idea of being ‘always on’ and always hustling has been around for years – with the rise of Thatcherism and Yuppie culture in the 1980s came the normalisation of hard and constant work to contribute to your country and become a young, affluent person at the same time. But, rather ironically, those who partook and perpetuated this ideology are now, for the most part, measuring their success based on how happy they are. Recent data from Rest Less found that almost half of the self-employed workforce across the UK are over 50. This highlights how those who were once hustling like no tomorrow did, in fact, realise there was a tomorrow, and they wanted to be happy at work rather than hustling through it.

So, what we’re seeing here is a pattern of ‘hustling’ in the early stages of your career in order to be ‘happy’ later in life. And while this seems quite transactional, it raises the question: why shouldn’t employees get to be happy from the very beginning of their careers? Adhering to this old-fashioned idea of what work should be only perpetuates it more. Employers play a huge role in breaking this cycle of over-hustling, and this is rooted primarily in how they measure the commitment of an employee.

Hustle culture remains because employees are still led to believe that working more equates to being a better worker. When, the reality is, employers should be rewarding their teams based on the quality of their output, not the quantity of their input.

At the end of the day, people measure success on an individualised scale. Some people may thoroughly enjoy working overtime and throwing themselves into their work, and that is completely fine. Just as it is also fine to set and expect boundaries from your employer so that you can have a life outside of your job. And there is even a middle ground here, what some are calling a flexible hustle culture, where you can hustle here and have more time off there. But as an employer, it is key to remember that no matter how your employees define their success, the playing field for opportunities and promotions must have a set criterion. That way, employees are free to hustle where they see fit, but do not feel pressured to do so in order to get ahead.

If you would like to discuss how you can design and implement strategies for work-life balance and measuring quality of output, please get in touch with us here.

Black History Month aims to recognize the achievements of Black people and their contributions made to history, and this year in the UK, the celebrations are centred around the contributions of black women, as well as coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush.

First celebrated in the UK in 1987, Black History Month has become a huge cultural and political event – especially in the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests that were sparked from the racially-motivated killings of George Floyd and Belly Mujinga.

Even as British society becomes more actively conscious of the value that Black Britons have brought and continue to bring to the UK, we can see that they are still faced with severe disparity – especially in the workplace.

Black workers only make up 1.8% of senior leadership positions in the UK, despite comprising of 3.2% of the working population, according to research from the Chartered Management Institute. In addition to this, less than half (47%) of respondents said their organization was taking active steps to increase the proportion of employees from diverse ethnic groups through its recruitment practices, and 67% said their company was not taking any action in relation to ethnicity pay gay reporting and action plans.

And this picture doesn’t get any better the further we zoom out – in the US, the first Black CEO of a Fortune 500 company was not promoted to this role until 1987. Now, if we fast forward to the 2021 research gathered by SHRM, there were only four new Black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, two Black men and two Black women. This equates to 0.8% of Black people in a CEO position, compared with 86% of White men.

This is a stark realisation that in a month where we celebrate the value and contributions of Black people, they are still heavily undervalued in the corporate world.

That’s why I find it so important to remind people why we still celebrate Black History Month.  Because we are still on the journey to equality and the eradication of prejudices. Therefore, it is crucial that employers are using this month to reflect on their diversity, equity and inclusion policies, as well as listening to the voices of their employees of colour, so that they can show they are continuously committed to changing for the better.

Racism is deeply, deeply rooted, and it is still very much present in many of our society’s systems and structures. The first thing most organizations can and should do is admit that, to some degree, there are biases and inequalities still present in their workplace culture.  As these prejudices are systemic and subconscious, they can be easily overlooked due to being less overt. However, talking about disparity, shining a light on the fact that the experiences and opportunities for Black people are different and scarcer than their White counterparts, is a step all employers need to be taking to work towards achieving true equality.

Cultivating an inclusive environment at work that leverages differences is a continuous journey – it requires consistent work and dedication, but it produces real, beneficial results for your team and your company. Black History Month demonstrates all the incredible things that have been achieved by Black trailblazers over the course of history, and employers who are educating themselves and their people around this will better understand that the best innovations come from diversified perspectives.

To continue this discussion and look at how you can take advantage of all the opportunities that being inclusive has to offer, get in touch with me at

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

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