Sentiance’s journey to hybrid working and 4 things you can learn from it
Work in 2022 -
It’s nearing the end of yet another “pandemic year” and most of us have been working from home (WFH) for some time, but what’s next? With 2022 approaching, is WFH still going to be dominant or will offices fill up again 🤷🏽♀️?
We believe offices are just as important as they ever were, but their purpose simply shifted. Employees want the option of having a workplace that caters to their individual and team needs; whether a quiet space to focus without their kids running around, a place to brainstorm out loud with a group, or a spot to socialize with colleagues.
This shift is the current evolution of working, also known as hybrid working. Based on a Mckinsey & Company (M&C) report conducted earlier this year, there is a strong preference of employees wanting a hybrid work environment rather than going full-time to the office, or even full-time remote.
Not to shock you, but in another M&C report, almost 30% of employees said they would switch jobs if they had to return full-time to the office!
Keeping employees happy and productive is always a top priority at Sentiance, but we didn’t know where to begin with what kind of new working environment we should create. That’s why we conducted our own employee survey covering all three offices (Belgium, Canada and Lithuania) before building a Hybrid Workplace Policy.
We thought “Do you want to work from home or in the office?” is the wrong question to ask. A better question is “How can we help you unleash your potential, enabling you to be healthy and productive, regardless of where you work?”
Giving people the means that suits them best to perform their job efficiently is more important than where the work is performed.
Hybrid this, hybrid that
We listened to what our employees (aka. Sentiants) had to say, and with the survey in mind the Hybrid Workplace Policy was created.
Before going over this new policy, we realize the word “Hybrid” is overused and seems to be all the craze nowadays, so here’s what hybrid means to us:
Working from wherever and whenever you feel the most comfortable and productive.
Delivering results does not depend on where your work is done.
Keeping the company culture and team spirit alive remains a priority.
To ensure the success of this policy we created 4 key guiding principles.
1. Freedom with responsibility
What the majority wants in each office is very different as they have different needs and desires collectively and individually. Therefore having the flexibility to work when and where they feel the most productive will increase overall productivity as well as bring joy in the day-to-day work. No more defined office presence and working hours, it’s completely up to the individual.
This, however, shouldn’t undermine the importance of teamwork. We expect Sentiants to join specific meetings that are intentionally organized in the office for collaborative, team nurturing purposes.
Also, to bridge the gap between all of our offices, there will be some overlapping working hours to accommodate the different time zones while maintaining collaborative efforts.
Remember, a flexible work setup goes hand-in-hand with mutual trust…freedom with responsibility.
2. People and culture obsession
Our obsession (a healthy obsession, we promise!) of keeping Sentiants and the company culture in full bloom always existed, but today it comes with new challenges. It’s more crucial now to keep things exciting and alive despite people working from their home, office, or wherever they may be.
We know that Sentiants agree with us on this because they emphasized missing:
“ People! Humans! Interaction!”
“Social interaction. Serendipity. Teamwork”
And our favorite…”Free beer!”
3. Inclusivity and fairness
The 3rd guiding principle is about having respect for the individual’s personal work preferences. That’s our motto. Everyone should be included and never feel left out due to proximity bias. This is a big no-no for us 🚫.
Our teams by nature have always been spread out across our different offices, and we want to maintain the same principle of fairness and equality across all working arrangements.
Here’s what we will ensure for proper inclusivity and fairness:
Same treatment whether you work from your home or the office.
Good work environment at home and in the office with proper equipment set up.
Necessary technology installed in home offices and Sentiance offices.
Managers to run inclusive meetings with distributed teams.
4. Mental and physical fitness
🤞 We hereby commit and solemnly promise to encourage Sentiants to:
Change is good, change is inevitable
As a company, make sure you actively ask and listen to what your employees have to say. Their feedback is what should always be your driving force for change.
We’re really happy with what we built here based on Sentiants’ feedback, and will keep adjusting the course of action to stay up to speed and constantly meet their needs.
We thought of ending this blog with some suggestions that were submitted in the survey, giving you a glimpse of what people want and need, and particularly inspiring you to adapt to the changes. It only gets better from here!