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Keeping culture alive in the remote era of working

By Jack Campbell | |6 minute read
Keeping Culture Alive In The Remote Era Of Working

The meteoric rise of remote and hybrid working models has been a win for flexibility. However, without the human connection that onsite work brings, culture can take a hit. That’s why leaders need to be conscious of maintaining culture, even while working virtually.

Return-to-office mandates may be ramping up, but according to Litera’s APAC lead, Stefan Steenveld, this can be detrimental to engagement and productivity.

“We are seeing many Australian companies phasing out working from home this year as they urge staff to return to the office. While business leaders are citing loss in productivity and lack of face-to-face interaction, pushing for more in-office presence can be detrimental to employee engagement and productivity, especially with 97 per cent of Australian workers expressing a strong preference for a hybrid or remote work model,” Steenveld said.


The argument that connection is lost through hybrid and remote working models isn’t quite true. While it may be harder to foster relationships virtually, it is certainly possible and may just require a little creativity.

“As a mostly remote and global organisation spanning many time zones around the world, we at Litera see the benefit of adopting a hybrid working model to enhance productivity and increase employee satisfaction. To do so, it’s crucial for our leadership team, myself included, to foster a strong connection with our teams and uphold a positive team working environment,” Steenveld said.

“That’s why we prioritise and ensure regular communication and collaboration with employees, facilitate regular pulse surveys and implement regular recognition and rewards, which can all be done at any time and from anywhere. This is to build a strong sense of belonging, and it ensures that employees feel supported and trusted in the organisation, regardless of where they are working.”

Going hand in hand with this innovative thinking is the tech that enables it. Organisations looking to maintain healthy and connected remote and hybrid working models must ensure that they have the tech to support it.

Steenveld used the example of lawyers and how artificial intelligence (AI) can assist in making offsite working more efficient.

“Law firms often struggle with vast amounts of data which are dispersed across various systems. With everything being virtual, it’s tough for lawyers, especially juniors, to swing by someone’s desk for a quick chat or clarification,” he said.

“With the help of AI, lawyers are able to free up time spent on manual and mundane work and instead allocate more time to high-value work and better leverage their unique expertise to win more business, ultimately achieving an optimal work/life balance environment.”

Face-to-face interactions will often be more effective than sending an email. However, Steenveld noted that catch-ups don’t always have to be in person, and taking advantage of video communication can still be productive.

“Whether virtual or in person, I believe it works either way as long as you are intentional in the way you communicate and collaborate with your team members. In particular, we observed that trainees and junior lawyers are feeling the challenges more intensely as they commence their careers in a remote or hybrid setting. Junior associates learn best by receiving hands-on training, such as shadowing senior lawyers or popping into senior lawyers’ offices when they have any questions. However, this has become harder with remote working, as juniors now have to schedule meetings virtually, ahead of time which can be uncomfortable and inconvenient every time they have a question,” Steenveld said.

“Such problems can be easily addressed by leveraging GenAI which allows lawyers to have easy access to pertinent legal content across various law firm systems and clear up any queries they may have. Therefore, it is important that law firms leverage technology to change their antiquated ways of working and ensure employees are given the resources and tools they need to succeed. When employees have access to the right technology and feel supported and confident in their roles, they are more likely able to perform and feel more productive in their jobs, which, in turn, helps companies reap substantial bottom-line benefits.”



Your organization's culture determines its personality and character. The combination of your formal and informal procedures, attitudes, and beliefs results in the experience that both your workers and consumers have. Company culture is fundamentally the way things are done at work.

Hybrid working

In a hybrid work environment, individuals are allowed to work from a different location occasionally but are still required to come into the office at least once a week. With the phrase "hybrid workplace," which denotes an office that may accommodate interactions between in-person and remote workers, "hybrid work" can also refer to a physical location.

Remote working

Professionals can use remote work as a working method to do business away from a regular office setting. It is predicated on the idea that work need not be carried out in a certain location to be successful.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.