Over the last 20 years, Americans slowly watched drab cubicle farms morph into something far more curious and comfortable. In the inception of this workplace evolution, many old-school executives and managers wondered if that was such a good idea.
They were wrong.
Looking back, the technology conglomerates that pioneered such a radical shift in office atmosphere simply hit the nail on the head. As it turns out, highly-talented – and coveted – individuals can thrive in an environment that is light, inspiring, and even bubbly.
Why has this happened? The answer lies in a common scenario – if one has two job offers that are roughly the same in financial compensation, what will they look to next to evaluate whether the job is the right fit?
And from the top of the comfort waterfall, many things flow: The cohesion of co-workers, aesthetic appeal, flexibility of hours, and general freedom within the job.
Ultimately, the intangibles that make one job more fun than another.
Looking ahead, this concept will take on a new dimension in the next 20 years. Leaders of remote companies and teams must figure out how to build on the culture shift of the last two decades in order to survive the next two.
And in the unfamiliar arena of remote office culture, one company is looking to set a new standard for the entire space.
Happiness In A Remote Office Culture
Situated in the suburbs of Boston is the heart and soul of Rockoly, a company looking to change the way we interact with co-workers, employees, and managers.
And it’s through the kitchen.
“The communal activities we partake in define who we are – and arguably the greatest communal activity is eating food with others,” said Mikhail Gorman, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Rockoly. “Some of the greatest conversations are had around the dinner table and some of the best memories are made where food is served. We eat food with people we love and come to love new people by way of food.”
“It is imperative that this communal aspect of life is not hindered in society’s transition to a remote-work world.”
Over the last two years, Gorman and his team have worked to bring that vision online – both literally and metaphorically.
They’ve secured two-dozen classically-trained chefs from all over the world to teach in corporate workshops online. They were able to curate vibrant, exciting workshop menus despite the complexities of international ingredient deliveries. They won the hearts of remote teams within some of the largest brands in the world.
Despite how quickly Rockoly’s culinary events gained traction among businesses looking for a change in pace – borderline virality – they still want to continue in their evolution and stay ahead of the curve.
“It’s important that we continue to push the boundaries of cooking and technology in order to create the best possible product for our current customers and those in the future,” Sudheer Raghu, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, stated.
“The data is plentiful that only good things come from these team-building workshops – and we need good things in the workplace, now more than ever.”
And he’s right.
The data that has been gathered in the last 20 years with regard to the benefits of people simply eating together is amazing in and of itself.
However, when that’s combined with the statistical positives that come from team-building activities, a compounding effect occurs that really unlocks the best in remote teams.
The Data Doesn’t Lie
In 2017, the University of Oxford conducted a study which revealed that “the more often people eat with others the more likely they are to feel happy and satisfied with their lives.”
One has to wonder if any findings in related studies even matter after such a conclusion.
That said, eating together was already a bit of a rarity in the workplace before COVID-19 came to town, but it’s even more so now. People work in their homes and apartments isolated from opportunities to have a meal with a co-worker or even engage in some rudimentary water-cooler chat.
Note: For decades, this was the sad extent of office assuagement.
Additional statistics on people eating together – unrelated to the office work culture – are also astonishing. Studies show that something quite special happens with routine family dinners with all its members. Grades go up. Truancy goes down. Better relationships are built. Obesity rates drop. Stress is relieved.
Back to the corporate world, let’s intertwine the all-encompassing food benefits with the top data points regarding team environments.
- American analytics company Gallup reports that employees who feel isolated see around a 21% drop in productivity levels.
- Harvard Business Review found that when socialization happens between members of a team, communication patterns improved by at least 50%.
- After extensive research, MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory concluded that “conversations outside of formal meetings are the most important factor that contributes to team success.”
- An older study from MIT Sloan learned that virtual teams consistently outperform colocated teams when they have the necessary resources, structure, team-building, and communication.
More research is in the pipeline, no doubt, on the intricacies of remote office culture and team-building.
Interestingly enough, companies understand these inherent benefits first, even before they fully grasp the multi-faceted nature of Rockoly’s cooking workshops.
“Sometimes people get so excited about the idea of a classically-trained chef or the concept of remote team-building, they miss the fact that these wonderful things are actually a package deal,” said Leslie Schwarz, Chief Operations Officer. “They are elated after we explain they get the benefits of both eating together and team-building activities.”
Ultimately, this is the data that is fueling Rockoly’s efforts to bring people together and the data that is instinctive in the minds of remote team leaders.
A Bright Future
In a world full of disruptors – who pierce entire markets with revolutionary ideas and technology – Rockoly stands alone as something different and fresh.
“We want to unite people,” Gorman said. “The world’s had enough disruption, division, disconnection – it’s time to heal, it’s time to bring people together. That’s what Rockoly is designed to do.”
As teams within dozens of Fortune 500 companies clamor for Rockoly’s virtual take on team-building, they might be getting their crew a little bit more than a remote cooking workshop – perhaps some fond workplace memories and intrinsic development, too.
And events such as these will elevate one company’s appeal over the others. Though remote office culture is in its emergence stage, the threshold has been hit — there’s no going back.