Oct 27th, 2022

Business Insights

No Matter Where

  Written by: Jesse LaDousa, Chief Operating Officer

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It’s hard to open your browser, a magazine, or turn on the news without hearing some story about remote work. There are seemingly endless opinions on the subject.

  • Is it good?
  • Is it bad?
  • Can it work?
  • Is hybrid the right option?
  • Should we force employees back to the office?

As with many companies, we have had discussions on this topic for the last two and a half years. Our company embraced a hybrid approach over a decade ago, largely driven by our culture of trust and out of necessity given our work force’s geographical locations. All our teams are made up of members from Minneapolis, Montreal, Hyderabad, and San Jose (Costa Rica). By nature, these teams are collaborating using video conferences, email, and messaging services all day, every day. They’ve done a masterful job over the years building rapport and learning to drive successful projects using agile techniques while not in the same physical location.

When the pandemic struck, our teams didn’t miss a beat - at least on the ability to move to fully remote work. We continued to collaborate successfully and deliver value to our clients.

When the world started to emerge, we had a brief discussion on what our approach would be. Should we continue to allow those that wanted to work fully remote to do so? Or should we ask them to come back to our various offices so they could work together again where possible?

Initially we took a guarded approach, letting our teams know that should they wish to come back to the office it was now open. They could come work in person if they wish but would not be required should they not yet feel comfortable doing so.

Surprisingly, almost 100% of the Minneapolis staff came back to the office and started working together every day. India and Costa Rica followed suit shortly thereafter. (Montreal is a new office for us, fully remote for the time being).

This confirmed one of our conjectures: while fully remote work can and does work, people crave in-person collaboration, at least a portion of the time. We’ve seen the churn in our work go down, the metrics we track for projects improve, and the overall happiness of our teams recuperate.

Our takeaway is not that remote work can’t be successful. We certainly are experiencing great success with our fully remote Montreal team. The rest of our teams are free to work remotely as they need to. We simply see better productivity, engagement, and positivity when our teams can frequently collaborate in person.