Lately, many articles are about how employees and employers think about going back to the office as vaccinations are ramping up around the world. A lot of companies want their people to return to the offices, but a lot of them don’t want to go back to their previous lives. We get this feeling, we have it too, but we still believe in meeting in person. We’ll tell you why.
WFH works. We tried it
Working from home can work pretty well. When the pandemic hit, we were among the first companies that switched to remote work entirely in a few days. We were born in the online space, so switching to full remote wasn’t a huge hardship. How well did it go for us? We managed to start our international expansion from our homes. We entered the German market (EU’s biggest!) from our desks, couches, and dining tables.
Admittedly, not everything was a walk in the park: We definitely had a few hiccups. But we fixed them together.
We – like many others – hired new people online without meeting them face-to-face. Some of them proved to be a good fit, and others didn’t. And that’s okay. The number of successful probations didn’t go down just because we did the hiring process online. (We checked the stats!)
In short: we made it work.
It’s just not the same
Working from home, however, is just not the same. Not because the work cannot be done efficiently, but because there’s no real personal touch there. Sure, we learned a lot about online etiquette. You know, like how to try and interpret minor signs through a webcam, noticing if someone raises a hand in Teams, or add thoughts to a conversation via chat…
But it just doesn’t feel the same.
In person, tasks can be solved, and questions can be answered in a blink of an eye, without texting or e-mailing someone or setting up a meeting. Walking by a colleague in the office can lead to revelations, while informal conversations can become real Eureka moments. Some of our best ideas come up like this.
Furthermore, some of us genuinely missed each other. We had some team building done online. Even our second birthday had its own Teams party… It was nice to do something together apart from work, but it’s not the real thing.
Because there are a lot of work friendships within the company: many of us just really wanted to work together vis-à-vis. Although some of you may say that we’re a company, so maintaining friendships shouldn’t be a KPI at the end of the quarter, but having a great team that works well together can significantly boost productivity.
The world has changed, and we adapted
All that being said: we feel how the world has changed. The wishes and needs of our employees have also changed. They learned to love working from home (or somewhere else sometimes). Some of them are even more efficient on their own because they enjoy their peace to do those power hours without being interrupted. And that’s also great!
So, what we did is what we always do: we adapted to this new situation. We’re now a hybrid working company. We're cautious and do tests, but we also do our best to meet three days a week to sort our mutual things out. But everyone can go home for two days. Or a bit more. We’ve become a lot more flexible in letting our people stay home if something comes up for them. (See the first chapter! We know they’re going to do the work wherever they are.)
As an international company, we must be hybrid anyways, as we work with a lot of people from Germany, freelancers, agencies, etc. And we work with them fully online. But, again, we need that personal touch, and we can’t wait to meet more with our foreign partners.
Because being together makes our lives and work so much better.
Sidenote: This personal touch is something that we try to create on our platform too. We love digital, super easy self-service solutions, but if you’re stuck with something or have a claim to file, you can surely talk to a real person to get the help you need!