The pandemic that we are experiencing together has potentially changed our working environment for the long term. In fact, it might change the entire framework of an office setting completely.

Plenty of research shows that our ability to connect meaningfully with others is less satisfying when we are not physically present. There is an unconditional feeling of connection that we have lost and that connection is buried in the idealism that we are bonded by similar priorities, interests, and attitudes.

Our traditional reality was based on our close and comforting office relationships, and those foundational interactions built and sustained our belief and engagement in the organizational structure. Perhaps we all took it for granted and now we are trying to navigate a culture that has been pushed completely online out of necessity.

So as leaders, we need to ask what to do now. What is the cultural fabric that shapes our workforce? How can we reimagine our new identity, inclusive of social responsibility, and remote working? And with that, how do we make this an imperative that lasts over time and generations?

This is going to take reflection and a thoughtful approach.

Get Back to the Basics.

Culture needs to serve a place in our remote and daily routines. The challenge is to acknowledge that culture can no longer be forged in the same way as it was in an office-centric model. We need to redefine what matters most and that is the personal and professional ties that bind us together.

Set the Tone and Steer the Culture.

Our leadership goals need to stress open communication and confirm the spirit of accountability. It is essential to support the belief in the mission and our people—and this needs to be more important than financial gain right now.

Use Disruption to Change.

We all confront unexpected changes throughout our lives, and our responses are determined by our perceptions of change. Disruption reminds employees of the organization’s past founding ideals, stories, and commitments that have shaped both its culture (how we get work done and think about our work) and are central to its identity (who we are as a company).

Building up these core elements of culture can remind employees of an organization’s strengths and help them to navigate through tough times.