Culture Hack

Culture Hack

A Post-Pandemic Work Life Through the Eyes of a CEO

Over a year ago, New York was filled with working people. The streets were alive with a steady stream of people, the masses flowing from building to building throughout the day. Commuting was a universal experience, people looked forward to team meetings, and you were able to connect with peers outside of the office. Some days, it is hard to believe that work culture — a way of life that has been the standard for decades — is no longer what it used to be. Instead, we move from bed to desk, hop on and off video calls, and try to substitute chat group small talk for what was once team bonding. And while the hope that the pandemic would one day end soon prolonged the idea that things would return to the normal we once existed in, have some things changed past the point of return? 

One lesson that is constantly being learned and re-emphasized is that, despite the challenges it brought along, the pandemic’s effect on the workplace has given all companies a chance to be individual. The first few months, filled with so much uncertainty and fear, required CEOs to listen closely to the needs and concerns of their teams. Issues with technology, physical workspace, family life, and of course health were bound to happen when most were confined to their homes. Flexibility from one’s boss let them know they were supported and understood during the times in which life felt too hard to navigate. 

If companies expressed that their main concern was the wellbeing of their employees, it would have to manifest in a number of ways to fit the needs of most, if not all, of their team. Offering video chat happy hours to some made them feel connected and able to relax after a remote workday while leading a book club for others gave them an activity to keep busy when off the clock. Sending celebratory treats to an employee’s home for their birthday was a way to show that finding happy moments during trying times is encouraged and even checking in oh how people are feeling and asking where they need support was an impactful outreach. 


As some companies face the difficult decision on whether or not to return to physical work spaces, one factor should be prioritized: how we can continue to support our employees. The return to a functional society will most likely come with quarantine-formed anxieties and stresses most people would have never imagined dealing with. There may even be several returns to strict social distancing and isolation as the world tries to get back on its axis. On top of that, the past year was a traumatic one in a variety of ways for people of color, contributing to personal as well as communal worries of safety and wellness. 

While a normal may not be achieved in the way we once thought it could during a post-pandemic period, it is up to CEOs to give their employees the security to feel generally good. Offering a flexible hybrid option for workspace may give some the safety net of at-home life without completely removing in-person experiences. Looking into methods for supporting mental health can help employees explore and come to manage their anxiety. Making room for light-hearted moments, whether or not they still take place in the ether, will establish a stronger sense of community. Whatever a leader thinks will make their team feel protected and motivated is the solution for creating the new standard for their work culture, even if it feels or looks nothing like the traditional 9-to-5.