Hybrid is the new office

Hybrid is the new office

The world - and you - have changed

Let’s just state the obvious: The world will never be the same post COVID-19 and that goes for how we work as well. Movement patterns are changing, including where we work and live, as well as our exposure and comfort to digital communication services. At Unacast we know this first-hand as we have built Migration Pattern products that for the first time understand these shifts in real-time.

One of the key trends we see is that more people are moving out from the inner cities to chase lower housing prices and more space. These people will increasingly demand a robust work-from-home process from their employers.

So how does Unacast change in tandem with you and the world?

At Unacast we have always had a flexible work setup, but still, our processes have been built around a physical presence. COVID-19 has pushed us, as with many, to wholeheartedly embrace a fully digital setup where a mix of tools ranging from Zoom, Slack, Lattice, Geekbot, to Donut, has helped us institualize digital collaboration, culture, and social events. We even have our own Zoom Games once a month with themes tailored to digital competitions.

But, as the vaccine is being distributed around the globe we plan for a new hybrid office setup - to achieve these four goals:

  1. Allow for creative collaboration (typically at the start of a project)
  2. Allow for focus work (typically in the execution part of a project)
  3. Give our employees control of their life (hybrid → fixed flexibility → control)
  4. Allow us to hire from a bigger pool of talent around the world

To get closer to these goals we are implementing the following hybrid setups:

Our hybrid setup in Norway

In Norway we have chosen the following model based on feedback from internal surveys:

  • Monday and Tuesday everyone will be at the office - with a social event on Tuesday planned
  • Wednesday to Friday are flexible, but we encourage teams to align their setup - either from home or the office. Based on surveys 90%+ will work from home these days
  • We will strive to have all meetings on Mondays and Tuesdays, and keep the remaining days meeting free and for focus work

Our hybrid setup in the United States

In the United States we have chosen the following model based on feedback from internal surveys:

  • All days will be work from home
  • Once a month the entire team meets in the NYC area for two days to sync and collaborate - for what we call Round Tables 

One important caveat - our hybrid model is *not flexible* but fixed

We know there are certain engraved cultural links between women and doing the bulk of housework (still), and thus we advise other companies to follow our suit when choosing a hybrid model and have fixed shared days at the office and fixed meeting days. A fully flexible model could strengthen already tilted practices and gradually slowly enable more men to be physically at the office and more women to choose a full work from home setup. At Unacast we don’t believe this would advance gender diversity at work and it could also counter a more balanced home life - and thus we have chosen a fixed hybrid setup.

We also believe that "all" (there could be some individual exceptions of course) people in a region should be connected to the same hybrid model. So, in relation to the above, we have everyone in the US and everyone in Norway on the same program. We don't believe that all regions should have the same program though, as there could be regional differences that warrants customisation. As an example, commuting is vastly more time consuming in NYC, and so we have opted to be fully remote there.

Hybrid is the start of a process - not the end

Will we hit home (pun intended) with this setup from the get-go? No, certainly not.

We see this as the start of a new working model that will continue to evolve over the next few years. The important thing is that we have started on the journey by charting out a course. We look forward to this expedition together with the great people at Unacast and I’m sure we’ll learn a lot about both work and life in general.

Life is not only about work but work can be damn cool and satisfying when it adds to your life.

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