Lockdown culture | 9 in 10 Brits feel closer to colleagues when working remotely

9 in 10 Brits feel closer to colleagues when working remotely

While some staff will be missing physical interactions with colleagues, new research has found that working from home during lockdown has actually strengthened workplace relationships.

The data from Cigna Europe revealed that nine in ten Brits say they have become closer with workmates during lockdown, while work-related stress has fallen by ten per cent.

In addition, 82% of respondents cited improved workplace relationships with supervisors during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has huge benefits for business success, as well as the overall company culture.

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90% said that they had been able to maintain good relationships with colleagues during this time (which is up from 86% in January 2020), while 82% said the same with supervisors (up from 74% in January 2020).

Since UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson enforced lockdown measures in March, many workforces have moved to remote working arrangements.

Video conferencing services and virtual messaging platforms have been the go-to method of communication for many staff members, helping them to stay connected with one another in both a professional and personal capacity.

Even though workers can’t physically be in the office with one another at the moment, it is crucial for employers to keep channels of communication open so that colleagues can keep in touch and maintain a positive company culture.

Creating a good remote culture

Throughout the pandemic, HR Grapevine has spoken to various people practitioners to find out their strategies for maintaining a good company culture and keeping colleagues connected during this remote working period.

ICD Property

But not all of these initiatives have to be relative to work or job output. As Hayley Randall, People Development Manager at ICD Property, previously explained to HR Grapevine, encouraging staff to participate in company-wide quizzes and activities is a good strategy for promoting work cultures.

She explained: "We also have kept up Friday night drinks and games using Houseparty and have even embraced a gaming app recommended by our resident gamers called Discord where we can create rooms and jump into peoples offices for quick chats and check in’s."

In addition to this, she said the company has created a 'ladies of ICD' group chat for “sharing light-hearted moments throughout the day,” so this could be sharing their remote work outfits to discussing the skin benefits of going makeup free.


Rebekah Wallis, Ricoh UK’s Director of People and Corporate Responsibility, explained that in times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, “exceptional leaders prevail”.

She cited the need to quickly make difficult decisions and the ability to follow through on them as more important than ever. Additionally, leaders will have to balance organisational and economic requirements with the needs of their employees.

“From a cultural perspective, all thinking and actions should focus on the longer-term goal of having an organisation to come back to after the crisis and all organisations will need engaged employees who love and trust their employer. Ultimately, culture is always about ‘doing the right thing’ whether in a crisis or business as usual.

“The adage of ‘communicate, communicate and communicate’ is central to retaining a healthy and positive culture in these times, and all communications should be plentiful, genuine, authentic and honest,” Wallis added.

To listen to our podcast about how HR can promote a positive remote culture, click here.

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Comments (2)

  • Lorna
    Fri, 29 May 2020 2:06pm BST
    Interesting that we are considering culture adn peoples welfare during COVID - a lesson that we should always put effort into business cultire and looking after our teams physical and mental well being.
  • Rachel Keil
    Rachel Keil
    Fri, 29 May 2020 1:37pm BST
    I certainly agree with the premis of this article - I've seen lots of examples of really positive team working that has come out of lockdown. I do have to wonder, though, about the virtual group for 'female' staff to discuss lighthearted subjects such as skin care and clothes - finding myself beamed back to the 1980s ...

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