How has remote work affected work culture?

Food driveThere’s no doubt that the current pandemic has strongly affected workplace culture. At Mead & Hunt, our culture is one of the most important defining features of our firm. For me personally, my strong internal professional network is something I value tremendously—not to mention the lifelong friends I’ve made at work. However, our workplace culture has been heavily informed by in-person interactions—meetings, workshops, team building activities, or just simply working in the same space. This past year, these interactions have been suddenly halted. What now?

The truth is this problem goes beyond the pandemic. We have grown swiftly and significantly throughout the past decade. As a nationwide firm of almost 900 people—and counting—how can we stay connected as a company?

It’s a complex problem with no single answer, so we formed a team to think about these issues and come up with some solutions. We zeroed in on the concept of intentional interactions. Now, we can no longer rely on incidental interactions with coworkers to remain connected. We can’t simply pop our head in to someone’s office or stop by their desk for a quick word. Interaction in the time of remote work needs to be planned, intentional, and purposeful—even if that purpose is team-building.

In addition, we relied heavily on getting our people involved in coming up with solutions. We brought together multiple groups from across the company to share and discuss potential avenues for preserving our culture and sense of community while not physically together. We strongly encourage anyone, from any role within the company, to come forward and share ideas. Ultimately, our people are what create our culture—relying on each other is our best bet for preserving it as we move forward.

Jamie Bumgarner, PE

About the Author

Jamie Bumgarner, PE, is a Vice President and Business Unit Leader for Mead & Hunt’s Northeast Transportation operations. He provides executive oversight for transportation projects throughout the northeast, including approving contracts, disseminating information from management to staff, collecting accounts receivable,  scheduling and budget reviews, and quality assurance and control. Jamie’s 20 years of experience includes managing bridge and roadway design, site development, survey, cell tower development and civil engineering projects.

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