When a company’s attempt to adopt agile working practices fails, 42% of the time it is due to their company culture, according to the ninth State of Agile survey. If employees perceive a risk of negative career effects or loss of status as a result of a flexible working pattern, this indicates a hostile culture.
Such a culture may have a number of causes. For example, a particular group of people who are resistant to flexible working. Or a company’s restrictive policies. Managers are more likely to support flexible work options if they’re aware of the positive effects in terms of staff performance. There will be greater cultural acceptance in a company if more staff from all levels and departments describe their working pattern as flexible, according to research by the Cranfield School of Management.
Ultimately, creating an agile work culture comes down to collaborative leadership, i.e. establishing trust and helping staff to take ownership. Consultant Pollyanna Pixton works with clients such as IBM to achieve this. It can be hard, she says, but it’s worth it.
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