Business leaders, how are you grappling with the physical vs. virtual working environment issue with your team? What practices are working at your organization? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Many companies are now struggling with decisions about maintaining a virtual working environment vs. returning to offices (“RTO”) full-time, or instituting a hybrid model that seeks to find the right balance.
Some companies have instituted an “office first” policy stating the office will be the primary workplace for most employees. Examples of companies with an office first policies include Netflix and Goldman Sachs. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was recently quoted in a WSJ article as saying “Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative.”
Other organizations are taking the opposite approach, by implementing “remote-first” policies. Companies like Deloitte, Dropbox, Shopify and Slack have given their employees options to work remotely indefinitely. According to Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke “We expect that the majority of people will work from home and home offices in the future,” Lutke continued. “The choice is really, are we passengers on this tidal wave of change? Or do we jump in the driver’s seat and try to figure out how to build a global world-class company by not getting together that often.”
At Vector, we have been fortunate that our team members are more senior and have prior experience working together (all were known by me or other Vector team members prior to their joining). Accordingly, the lack of direct face-to-face interaction has not impeded growth or communications, and has actually created greater flexibility for our team and for our clients. To date, the vast majority of our work across over 35 clients has been delivered remotely with success. This virtual work environment has contributed to our over 100% year-over-year growth and our expansion to what is now over 10 full time equivalents. However, like other companies, we will be challenged to maintain this flexibility while instilling shared values and a strong culture as we continue our growth journey. While the next 10 employees we hire may join us without strong connections to our existing team, we’re taking measures now to ensure the continuity of culture, dedication to client success and our sense of community amongst our team. These measures include:
• Enhanced on-boarding and mentorship programs
• Establishment of physical and virtual teaming events with quarterly minimums touch-points with assigned mentors
• Investment in methods, tools, templates, and semi-annual training that will help ensure our clients receive consistent, high-quality delivery each and every time
• Routine “pulse checks” of our team to see how we’re doing and what can be improved upon.
What’s Working For You?
We’re curious about what’s working at your organization. What policies have you implemented and how have your employee’s responded? Please leave your comments below so we can learn from each other.