Corporate Culture and Connectiveness in the Age of COVID

June 16, 2021

// By Jean Hitchcock //

Jean Hitchcock, president, Hitchcock Marketing & CommunicationsIf necessity is the mother of invention, COVID helped us invent news ways of staying connected virtually. Is it possible to maintain a strong culture if remote work becomes part of the normal landscape? 

2020 is a year none of us will soon forget. We will remember what we were doing the day before the nation shut down and will never forget how our lives changed overnight. Not surprisingly, health care was the most affected industry across the world.

With the availability of vaccines, many companies are debating when, how, and even if their staff will ever return to their former offices. And if they do, what will their corporate culture be? Will it have completely changed, morphed, or remained the same?

Staff hired during the pandemic have no in-person experience with their co-workers and do not know the office history or rituals. And what toll did this pandemic take on young parents who tried to do their jobs while supporting remote learning of their children?

In many ways, those of us who chose health care for a career recognize the importance of connectiveness, collaboration, and working across departments. We recognize we achieve a higher quality of care when we work like a finely choreographed team.

Even our clinical teams were taxed by the number and acuity of COVID patients. Staff were called in from all clinical areas to assist the critical care units. It was not unusual to hear of a cardiac surgeon working in the intensive care area or operating room nurses pressed into service in Med/Surg units. Most non-clinical staff worked remotely or were furloughed because of the drastic impact COVID had on bottom lines.

In the early days of COVID, many friends and colleagues kept wondering when we would return to normal. After six months, the answer was clear: We would not.

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