While you might have seen a lot of articles on shifting remote during this one year and a half, we believe it is important to tackle this topic, as all companies are working on finding their new default. Most of the companies that shifted to a remote or hybrid work style will admit it is not easy, and so do we, yet implementing a hybrid model was indeed the best solution. We are not stating that having one or two days in the office comes with a solution for the challenges brought by the remote setup existing the rest of the time. Therefore, we invite you to stick with us by the end for insights. We structured below our main take-aways after one year and a half.
By the end of the article, you will also get a feel on how we are as a team and what is the core of our DNA and hopefully, will inspire you as well.
For our colleagues, having the freedom to choose what feels safe for them was the main aspect that stood out after weekly discussions and surveys in multiple forums. So, we decided to make this happen and to help them create their new default within teams.
Consider the right policies and context
Employee safety remained a priority thorough this entire time – we respect each other’s opinions, and we listen to what our employees had to say during the first months of pandemics. And for them, the most important aspect was to feel safe and to have the freedom to choose their setup. Now our office has a desk booking app that ensures the floors are not overcrowded and all the safety measures are in place with our Facility Management team.
This new way of working was also translated into a hybrid work policy across the company, with recommendations on how we believe we should tackle this setup, for example: when they decide to come in the office, what type of activities they can mix to maximize every day at the office. We had to think in perspective as by mid-2021 we announced that we opened satellite offices and we will recruit across the entire country.
For the cities where we already have an office, we recommended the hybrid work model, while also considering having a hub for the newcomers from new satellite cities.
Adapt and create a sense of connection
Not every solution can be automated, nor everything that happened face to face can be replaced. As the headline says, it is about adapting, not replicating. This was a challenge that we all took – management teams, HR teams and with the feedback received from our employees we are constantly coming up with ideas to better adapt the current hybrid work model.
We realized that what our colleagues valued most, were the moments that happened as a team. Therefore, the campaign #momentsthatmatter was created with exactly the type of activities that had an important outcome for them.
To give a few examples, during the summer, we announced a road map of events that will happen in the office, and they can plan that one day they desire to come, to be together with their team at the Ice-cream Day, Sweet Brunch, or monthly Hangout Party. In parallel, we had a remote competition – Steps Challenge on a dedicated platform and interactive map/dashboard, that allowed the contestants to be in this game with their teammates and reach together a common goal as a team while being in different cities.
Support and find your new default mode
During the month of September, we anticipated, given the context, that more of our planning needs to be adjusted in online sessions. Indeed, having constant calls is proven to cause a mental load most of the time. This is why we will focus on another pillar of our Wellbeing strategy – that is Emotion, Body, Mind. We assessed our needs in a dedicated survey for this area and we will cover themes like stress management, nutrition, work-life balance, and how to find moments of relaxation throughout the day.
Shifting to a remote mindset will not mean renouncing the moments you bond with your team. It does require a shift in mindset and perspective. To stop thinking of what the days looked like at the office and start building new moments that will have equivalent results in this hybrid work model or remote context.
We will close this overview on our journey with a quote of our HR Director, Andra Antonescu, who recently stated for a ZF interview: “I don't believe there is a magic formula: we are all unique individuals with unique requirements, so adaptation and resilience are critical in these challenging times.”