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Home office: the invisible killer of corporate culture

At a time when the world of work is becoming increasingly digitalised, the provocative question arises: is the home office, once hailed as the saviour of work-life balance, actually destroying our corporate culture? At Deep Impact, we have experienced how a flexible home office policy has revealed unexpected downsides and why we are rethinking.

An experiment with consequences

Long before the global pandemic in 2020, Deep Impact introduced a liberal home office policy. Our employees enjoyed the freedom to work from anywhere, yet most were regularly drawn to the office. This changed abruptly with the outbreak of COVID-19, when working from home went from an option to a necessity. The change happened almost overnight, but the long-term impact on our company culture was profound.

Loss of social cohesion

Despite all efforts to maintain team dynamics through digital means, virtual coffee breaks and online meetings could not replace spontaneous, face-to-face interactions. Informal dialogue on the fringes of the working day was lost. Relationships between team members also often ended when the video conference closed. Complex problems in particular, which require a high degree of collaboration, were difficult to solve remotely.

International community in a local context

At Deep Impact, we value the diversity and internationality of our team, which consists of employees from 21 nations. We made a conscious decision to bring all employees to Winterthur and pay them Swiss salaries. This investment in physical presence emphasises our conviction that direct collaboration is irreplaceable. The home office policy called this philosophy into question. After all, if people don’t come to the office, you might as well hire them abroad at low cost.

Deep insights into the impact on employee retention

In 2021 and 2022, Deep Impact experienced extremely high staff turnover. This trend was worrying. One of the most striking observations was the increasing isolation and lack of face-to-face interaction caused by extended home working. This state of isolation became a particular challenge for new employees hired during or shortly before the pandemic. They lacked the opportunity to build natural interpersonal relationships that went beyond formal meetings and work tasks. Physical distancing not only made it difficult to train new team members, but also undermined the trust and open communication that is essential for effective collaboration and problem solving. The result was an increased resignation rate, making it clear that the loss of company culture was having a serious impact on employee retention.

A differentiated view of the benefits of working from home

Despite the challenging aspects of working from home, it is important not to lose sight of the benefits. The opportunity to work from home has opened up a new dimension of work flexibility for many of our employees. They particularly appreciate the freedom to organise their working day without the typical distractions of everyday office life. The ability to concentrate in a quiet, familiar environment has helped many team members to increase their efficiency and productivity in certain tasks.

Similarly, working from home allowed for more flexible working hours, which was particularly beneficial for employees with caring responsibilities or long commutes. This flexibility led to a better work-life balance, which had a positive impact on health and general well-being. The challenge was to maintain these benefits while strengthening social cohesion and corporate culture.

A new approach for Deep Impact

To revitalise the company culture that had been lost, we at Deep Impact decided that employees must spend at least 60 percent of their working time in the office. Meetings are now held regularly on Mondays, while Fridays are reserved for lunches and aperitifs. These measures have led to a noticeable improvement in morale and team spirit. The number of resignations has fallen significantly.


Deep Impact’s experience shows that the balance between working from home and working in person is crucial to maintaining a vibrant corporate culture. While the digital transformation offers undeniable benefits, the human element of collaboration should not be underestimated. Ultimately, it is the combination of flexibility and personal interaction that nurtures a corporate culture and holds a company together.