Transitioning 20 people from in-office to fully remote

Transitioning 20 people from in-office to fully remote
#13: Jennifer Raines-Loring(@jenrainesloring)

Commercially-oriented human resources executive. Combining strong strategic, operational and managerial background with a true passion for people and talent functions. Experience developing comprehensive, scalable, highly efficient people operations from the ground up. Specialize in full-cycle talent acquisition, remote work and distributed teams, designing and scaling culture, and employer brand building. A thought leader on the future of HR, as featured in Money Magazine, Authority Magazine, Thrive Global and via various conferences and industry-leading blogs, including Namely and SparkHire.

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Episode Transcript:

Podcast Interview

[00:00:00] Jevin: [00:00:00] Hey everyone, welcome back to building remote teams. I’m here with Jen rains luring how are you doing?

[00:00:05] Jennifer: [00:00:05] I’m great How are you doing today?

[00:00:07] Jevin: [00:00:07] Great. Thanks. So Jen. We met on LinkedIn. We had a phone call. We were just chatting about, you know, HR challenges and successes that we’ve both had in the remote space.

[00:00:18]I’m super excited about springboard retail because you guys actually made the transition from being. A all traditional in an office sitting together to moving entirely remote. Is that right? Did I get that right?

[00:00:32] Jennifer: [00:00:32] Yes that is correct. We were kind of a fully functioning traditional office based in South Boston 27 people showing up five days a week.

[00:00:41] So does it get more traditional than that? And that was just about 18 months ago actually and now we’re just under 50 people. We’re completely remote as you said distributed across 11 US states and seven countries actually so big transition over the last year and a half.

[00:00:59] Jevin: [00:00:59] Amazing. [00:01:00] So let’s hear a little bit about that story.

[00:01:01] Tell me about

[00:01:02] what is springboard retail all about.

[00:01:05] Jennifer: [00:01:05] Yeah, absolutely. So we are the leading point of sale and retail management software company. We both develop and deliver our software product. As I mentioned. We are formerly based in boston but now are kind of spread everywhere.

[00:01:19] And one thing we in a kind of always enjoy sharing about the company is that we’re authentically. Retailers long story short our Founders operated a specialty retail chain. So the product was really incubated over a very long period of time by people living retail every day. So we often find we win business because customers feel really understand retail and their retail challenges.

[00:01:43]Jevin: [00:01:43] So your team was all sitting together in the office. There’s 20 of you sitting I guess in South Boston. This is you made a distinction of not Boston. This is South which I don’t know maybe if you’re from Boston, this makes us make sense to you. So tell me like what was going through your [00:02:00] mind.

[00:02:00] What was the dynamic there that all of a sudden started to spur on this desire to go remote or at least explore it.

[00:02:08] Jennifer: [00:02:08] Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, that’s funny. I didn’t even think about making the South Boston distinction but it actually kind of is important to the story in that I guess you could say South Boston’s a little little bit more kind of up-and-coming part of Boston.

[00:02:21] So great place for a really early stage company I frankly however think that. On a couple of levels. We just outgrown the space certainly in terms of physical capacity, but also in terms of the neighborhood as well. So when it came time to consider kind of new office space, it just really opened up kind of a whole host of issues.

[00:02:41] We were facing certainly soring real estate prices in the Boston kind of area in general and knowing that we wanted to kind of move to a different more retail Centric neighborhood was just really difficult because. In the most of our team at the time was in Boston, it felt like no matter where we moved the office people were [00:03:00] going to get stuck with 45 minute or longer commutes from all directions or just even with this in the city.

[00:03:06] There just wasn’t an ideal place for everybody on

[00:03:09] Jevin: [00:03:09] you were looking

[00:03:10] real estate. You’re talking with the team members. They what about this? What about this? And then some people would be like hey, that’d be amazing good for

[00:03:15] Jennifer: [00:03:15] exactly.

[00:03:16] Jevin: [00:03:16] and the others. They just like you see the energy just like leave their body.

[00:03:19] Jennifer: [00:03:19] Exactly. They’re like if I wanna give up about two and a half hours every day. Sure. That’s a great location. Exactly. So I felt like when you looked far and wide and just even within, you know a great deal like Boston, it’s just. I think because of the the current state of Boston just being as popular as it is for other technology companies Etc.

[00:03:38] Commutes are getting very very long. Even if you travel kind of 8 or 10 miles you can be talking multiple hours. So clearly a deterrent for our team and I think just outside of kind of Boston specific issues. We were just sensing employee demand for more flexibility. You know, I had some really thoughtful discussions with our co-founders and it was just starting to feel like [00:04:00] we were kind of on the wrong side of History if that makes sense in continuing to fight against like increased flexibility.

[00:04:07] They’re just so many factors in the world that are pointing to increase employee flexibility and whether it was could I work from home one day a week or can I leave it a certain hour? Or could I travel here for two weeks like. Employees just want flexibility and it just felt like we were having conversations kind of all over the place and trying to hold the line and then we were like, what are we so strict about this like maybe we should consider being kind of flexible to an entirely different level.

[00:04:34] So I think a combination of market conditions and then just employees being outspoken about their needs lead us to try to be completely remote.

[00:04:43] Jevin: [00:04:43] So what were the other issues that you are or questions, I guess that you are asking ourselves as you’re going through this reflection and soul-searching about when you move so, you know, the commuting was an issue.

[00:04:53] There was this those people that were, you know Tremors or tremblings of requests of people. Trying [00:05:00] to you know have more flexible time whether it’s in the office or just when they work was there other stuff that the played into kind of moving towards trying out this.

[00:05:12] Jennifer: [00:05:12] Yeah, no

[00:05:12] absolutely. I think it means your point these types of decisions tend to have a lot of inputs. You know, I think that as well like we’re still in early stage company, right we have about 50 employees as I mentioned recently well-established, but still scaling, right? And so I think you kind of hit some classic challenges around.

[00:05:32] Especially at a higher Growth Company like headcount continues to increase right? And so I think there’s just office sizing questions right from a business standpoint. It’s like do you get the cavernously large office now and not quite have the people in it to fill it but knowing you’ll be there in 18 months or do you crowd in and everybody wants a really long lease and a hot market so I certainly think there are.

[00:05:56] Kind of size issues there that you know a [00:06:00] reality for people’s kind of daily work experience in the space. And then I also just think we were. You know, we’re a technology company, right? And so I think we’re just really cognizant of you know, wanting to be competitive in terms of benefits, you know work experience Etc, but not just copy.

[00:06:19] So I think we are kind of going down that path of trying to get the snacks and the fancy seltzer water and the nice office furniture and you know, frankly we had a ways to go on all of those kind of Dimensions as I’m sure our employees would agree. Yes. That’s a start right. But then it’s like I think you start to put energy into some of those things and I think we were kind of like we’re always very thoughtful about this type of thing like.

[00:06:43] Is this making a difference like is this the right priority for you know the employees the business Etc. So I think it’s we started to get kind of caught up in some of those things that are popular and markets like Boston we were like, you know, we should be thoughtful like is this what we want to stand for is why people work here basically, [00:07:00] so I think it invited some people reflections about kind of company and culture and identity as well.

[00:07:05] Jevin: [00:07:05] I like that. What about you know some one of the big considerations or or I guess reservations that people have with remote is what about the collaboration thing or the camaraderie of everyone being in the office and like, you know doing the sixty hour work weeks together and have you know and working on the Whiteboard together.

[00:07:25] Like what do you did you guys think that was going to be an issue?

[00:07:28] Jennifer: [00:07:28] Definitely and should say that. I think it continues to be something that we’ve made a ton of progress on but is always top of mind for us frankly. So I think what was really key is that our co-founders were really on board with trying kind of to become a work from anywhere company and to your point about collaboration.

[00:07:51] We quickly realized looking back after a bit of experimentation, but reasonably quickly that when it comes to collaboration work from [00:08:00] anywhere was really the distinction. We were trying to make and I shouldn’t take credit our CEO and co-founder that’s kind of his term and he felt strongly about sticking to it.

[00:08:08] And at first I thought it was kind of like a technicality versus work from home. I remember thinking like where are most people working from home. However, think it’s a really big in for distinction that he was forward-looking about because I think work from anywhere means you have to think about collaborating among everybody under various conditions all the time, right?

[00:08:28] So it puts collaboration really foremost whether that’s tools and Systems and Technology or whether it’s making sure that employees understand that the expectation is that they will have a. Working space and can easily kind of you know, log on to it or whatever communication platform. We’re using it even into you know, kind of changing up how you use slack and other communication tools collaborations really really key for us and we, our standards pretty high.

[00:08:56] It needs to be that people can pretty much work from anywhere [00:09:00] at any point and still feel that they’re plugged into the team.

[00:09:03]Jevin: [00:09:03] Yeah, I mean we were just saying right before the call, you know, Jen you’re pregnant You’re Expecting. You know your second baby and and you’re saying you’re doing work from the doctor’s office because there’s lots of appointments that are that are needed, you know, and so by the distinction of saying working from home like those are quote unquote hours that kind of quick count towards your time being spent versus being in the doctor’s office when maybe that would not be considered you know time spent for work because you know, surely you can’t get work done when you’re sitting in a waiting room for an hour and a half, you

[00:09:33] Jennifer: [00:09:33] so true.

[00:09:35] Jevin: [00:09:35] So I think that that does make sense that there’s a distinction there. I’m not say which ones you know, right or wrong. But but at least having that may be explicitly stated is pretty powerful.

[00:09:46] Jennifer: [00:09:46] Yeah, I think the team becomes accepting of it. Right? Like I would have felt so bad even thinking back to my first pregnancy has been a very different experience because we were office-based then even just two years ago versus now that I think I would have felt [00:10:00] guilty.

[00:10:00] About going to the doctor which is kind of crazy, right because you were to go to the doctor when you’re pregnant but versus now, like maybe I look a little bit crazy to the other patients in the doctor’s office. But you know, you find a quiet corner or your you plug in and nobody on the springboard retail team thinks it’s weird that I’m doing that people kind of just don’t miss a beat which I think has been huge for maintaining productivity just not only for myself, but for.

[00:10:24] Anybody else dealing with life situations? Right? So the fact that the team kind of starts to accept that as normal is also a big part of it

[00:10:32]Jevin: [00:10:32] Yeah. Yeah. No, I think that’s really powerful for being inclusive as well. Right like you’re now enabling people who have lots of, you know medical appointments, whether they’re pregnant or they have other issues where they need to do that.

[00:10:45]You know, they have the companies is explicitly saying like hey, this is this is okay. Like this is part of life. Awesome very cool. Ok, so everyone’s on board. They’re getting ready to try it. No one’s working from a doctor’s office yet. How did how did you [00:11:00] start down this process? Yeah how did you guys get started?

[00:11:03] Jennifer: [00:11:03] Yeah, absolutely and kind of a nice segue from the conversation just now into your next question, you know something we realize though to a point. Nobody was well equipped to work from the doctor’s office yet at that point. As I’m sure many other companies face. We did have this moment where we realized there was already a subset of people who were remote right whether it was because there were somewhat specialized skills.

[00:11:26] They had and we kind of needed to move on their skills versus their location or whether they were employees who were based in Boston but moved away for personal reasons. We kind of had this moment that we were like this. This must be working on some level or it can work because we have people who are working here but not physically in Boston.

[00:11:47] So our CTO in particular who is also co-founder of the business. He was overseeing a disbursed engineering team at the time. So there were a kind of enough glimmers of hope I think. That we were like, [00:12:00] you know kind of take some things we’ve learned quietly and didn’t even frankly know we learned until we thought about it that way and kind of build on those.

[00:12:07]So I think realizing that was really key. But you know beyond that it was really scary, right? I actually have documented on LinkedIn kind of a month-by-month look at the early journey, and I only shared that because what what you’ll find even when I look kind of looking back now it was a roller coaster in the beginning for sure.

[00:12:27] There was a ton of experimentation definitely some mess-ups and some quick iterations of things. Lots of laughs and maybe some tears at times. It was certainly a roller coaster but I think most importantly we had a couple things going for us, right we did have that co-founder support which I think was huge.

[00:12:44]We also very much treated it as a major strategic initiative, right? And that’s kind of one of the that just tips. I would share about considering any transition meaning that we could have formalized my role as head of [00:13:00] people. And you know kind of being a member of the executive team like frankly kind of made me accountable for the outcomes, right?

[00:13:07] And as you would with any strategic initiatives that that means you’re not only accountable for sure that people experience and and you know how people are experiencing work and those types of improvements but then `also the business results, right? So I think having someone really guide this lead this every day that’s on the executive team.

[00:13:28] Really underscored the importance of it and it made sure this wasn’t kind of like a loose plan. That didn’t come to fruition if that makes sense.

[00:13:35] Jevin: [00:13:35] see it does so it sounds like you know the founders had said. All right, Jen, you know you’re the head of people VP of people whatever you know, this is your this is your thing.

[00:13:46] And and did you guys do you have metrics that you set up to figure out if this was going to be successful or not like that your you said accountability so somehow there had to be some sort of framework for

[00:13:58] Jennifer: [00:13:58] Yeah, absolutely. [00:14:00] Well, I would definitely love to look back and say. Yes, we were really organized on the metrics front.

[00:14:05] However, that wasn’t exactly the case but I think by Instinct of being again back to that kind of strategic initiative, we certainly knew things had to be measured. So I think even early on our instincts were to look at two things right one would be like I said kind of overall business results like the exec team is accountable for growing the business in line with targets and work from anywhere and kind of all the people operations are part of that, right so.

[00:14:31] Think ensuring that we were regularly hitting aggressive business targets was kind of table Stakes if that makes sense, like without that then nothing’s working. Right but then beneath there we did we originally definitely leaned into productivity collaboration and happiness kind of being three things that for whatever reason I think I just thought those were.

[00:14:55] A good place to start in terms of employee self-reported [00:15:00] data. Basically, one of our great regrets is not getting a Baseline. Just before we left our traditional office, but we certainly tried kind of right after when we realized that we certainly want to track metrics and be metrics driven about this decision making process.

[00:15:15] So we didn’t nail it on measuring Baseline just before we left the office, but right after so kind of a close proxy and over time, we have maintained those metrics and then also added professional growth and then satisfaction with relationships among colleagues. So we basically measured those.

[00:15:34] Five things on a quarterly basis and certainly track the trends over time.

[00:15:40] Jevin: [00:15:40] Okay, so you sent everyone home or said hey. You can work from anywhere and then you started tracking these metrics. How did you do that? How do you track employee happiness collaboration productivity? How did you do that?

[00:15:55] Jennifer: [00:15:55] Yeah, so

[00:15:56] agree it requires a certain type of team who really wants to go on this [00:16:00] journey with you first and foremost and then you have to make them feel this journey is worthwhile. Right but you know, we one other thing we did to kind of get the transition started as we definitely said this was a 90-day expirement.

[00:16:12] And it started kind of late spring of last year and conveniently went over the summer again. Not that we should take credit for planning at that way. It just kind of happened that way but looking back that’s a great time of year. Especially if you’re in the New England area because let’s be honest.

[00:16:27] That’s one of the times of year that people desire the most flexibility right kids are off from school people have you know Beach trips and vacations and second homes that type of thing.

[00:16:38]Jevin: [00:16:38] The weather is not

[00:16:39] Jennifer: [00:16:39] Exactly. It’s people want to work from somewhere other than you right inside. So it was a great time to kind of run a pilot and we were very clear that this is something that we’re going to try for this that period of time.

[00:16:52] We actually continue to look for office space during this time knowing that we could have might make one of several [00:17:00] decisions at the end. So I think back to your question about metrics. Employees understood it was really important to share feedback. Right? So they were very game to continue to give kind of both self-rated quantitative feedback as well as just have a lot of conversations with myself and the other Executives about where the challenges were and people kind of innately understood like.

[00:17:23] This is the time to speak up to like they are looking to make real decisions about the future working model of the company. I am part of this experiment. So I think framing it that way helped, we certainly, you know measured via survey at Key increments. You know, we let people know in advance.

[00:17:40] This is what we would be doing but beyond their honestly just a lot of conversations as well. I think people were very candid and in the beginning it was really hard to be some people have been showing up at an office for 20 years at this point right and then kind of a random Monday they didn’t anymore.

[00:17:55] So just taking time to really making it a priority to talk [00:18:00] through what people were experiencing and understand how we could help what we would need to introduce into the model to make this work week. We took ample time for that last summer.

[00:18:11] Jevin: [00:18:11] Did some people hate it?

[00:18:12] Jennifer: [00:18:12] Definitely thankfully. Yeah. Yeah, it’s funny because I feel like the tagline taglines in the world on remote worker.

[00:18:20] So positive definitely, you know, I was very open, you know kind of really just into sharing it just generally. In hopes that people can learn but I personally was miserable in the beginning. Like I actually considered like getting out my resume and like polishing it up to start applying because

[00:18:41] I would.

[00:18:42] Jevin: [00:18:42] this is not for

[00:18:43] welfare for

[00:18:45] Jennifer: [00:18:45] It’s so true. It’s very us to like as a group. We tend to be kind of candid not candid in that way. very close to my boss and the other co-founder and and I think you know being really honest about my own struggles probably was helpful because I [00:19:00] I think if I was more cheerleader about it if it and kind of was like, oh this is like the way of the future.

[00:19:06] It may not have made others be so kind of open as well. So no, I think most people struggled with the transition if I’m being honest with you. Yeah,

[00:19:17] Jevin: [00:19:17] What was your challenge?

[00:19:19] Jennifer: [00:19:19] Yea absolutely, you know I think looking back it’s. Work is good because it’s kind of so as to fit the context of life, right? I actually think that as like a new working mother.

[00:19:30] I had come back from maternity leave at the beginning of 2018 and kind of had optimized my whole life around, you know, kind of full-time Nanny. My daughter would be at home commute into the city like me had moved to a certain location so that it all this would work. I think it was almost just like like a sum cause problem like almost hard to think that like.

[00:19:52] I kind of set up a this is great plan. Right as we always do but then realize like wow like this is all changing. Right? And so I [00:20:00] think that was really hard for me to get over and I think a lot of people make decisions based on physical location of work, right? I certainly wasn’t in the minority on that. So I think really being able to shift into a completely different mindset was hard especially after kind of having gone through other like personal transitions so recently, and honestly I was just lonely in the beginning and kind of a people person obviously and this was before right before we got kind of really into building our virtual community.

[00:20:27] And so many of the things we have now, I think in the first few days I was. This doesn’t even feel like work so, which helped me realize my there was like a lot of opportunity but a lot of work to do to make this like a thriving remote work model. So so yeah, but you know, ultimately the vast vast majority of people came through on the other side were always honest certainly there was a handful of people who just were so open and honest and we respect that we’re kind of like look like based on my life stage or you know,kind of just individual preferences.

[00:20:58] I want to go to an office every day. So [00:21:00] it’s not that we didn’t lose a few people along the way and those that we still wish well, but I think by the time we got to the end of the summer, we knew that this experiment had kind of turned into reality and we were very open about that and certainly, you know, if people if it wasn’t working for people we respected that if that makes sense.

[00:21:19] Jevin: [00:21:19] Yeah, yeah, so even so through this pilot and as you were kind of solidifying it now as the you know, as an official, you know permanent company policy. There are some people it’s like well, I don’t I don’t want to do this remote thing and ended up, you know, they ended up leaving

[00:21:36] Jennifer: [00:21:36] Yeah, absolutely.

[00:21:38] Jevin: [00:21:38] Yeah, I mean, I guess that that makes sense. That’s that’s I mean unfortunate. But yeah, I

[00:21:43] Jennifer: [00:21:43] And certainly something to be prepared for real. Like we always try to share both the positive and the not quite as positive because it is. It’s a huge transition to go through right and start late day to go into it thinking that everybody will kind of have the same values and certainly just lean into the [00:22:00] pros equally as a little bit naive.

[00:22:02] So yes, there were certainly a few kind of casualties on the team and would certainly could have share that as a cautionary tale for people considering it. Yeah.

[00:22:12] Jevin: [00:22:12] you. Thank you for being transparent about that what other kind of I want to get into, you know, not to the not just into the dirt but like the other nuances of things that happen during the transition and during the pilot like what other kind of stuff happened.

[00:22:26] Jennifer: [00:22:26] Yeah, absolutely. It was a crazy time it so there’s many many things. But no a couple of key things I mentioned this earlier I think. It’s not as obvious looking back but something I would highly recommend is we we really leaned into building the virtual community earlier and frankly at times that felt a little crazy right because we are a high growth.

[00:22:49] Tech starup and here I am planning virtual coffee dates and and video sessions where people get on and talk about their hobbies and there were certainly times that I’ve been like, wow. Does [00:23:00] this make any sense as an executive priority, but frankly, I think that when you add up that set of activities that we refer to as the community, I think we gained a lot of value through that especially because we were used to seeing each other every day.

[00:23:17] Right, and we went to this kind of abrupt change. So we went of course we kind of started off with your one-on-one coffee date and your random slack Channel as you’ll see writings out there in the world about but frankly we’ve gone from. A basic kind of you know way to facilitate interactions to like a full quarterly agenda of community-driven things all virtual for sure was experimented with different group sizes different times of day to meet time zone requirements.

[00:23:46]But and do I think any one set of coffee dates or you know, really related activity Saves the World no, but I think when you put. Focus on this to make sure that people are seeing other individuals they work [00:24:00] with outside of their like immediate manager and team and people know that it’s there and that once a week or once every 10 days they can pop on and have a social interaction.

[00:24:09] I think that’s what’s really key in the beginning. So that was important for sure.

[00:24:16]Jevin: [00:24:16] so even like so even people coming on as a company and sharing their Hobbies of Foosball and collecting

[00:24:24] Jennifer: [00:24:24] Absolutely, you

[00:24:25] Jevin: [00:24:25] you know, like you found this to actually make a difference for the.

[00:24:29] Jennifer: [00:24:29] know, it’s funny you would say that because we’ve had very similar sessions.

[00:24:33] You know, I remember one of our earliest ones one of my colleagues actually said to me at one point. I’m like. Our goal should be to go way deeper than the water cooler. Right? Like if there’s not going to be a water cooler. Don’t just try to copy the water cooler, right which I thought was a very insightful comment because let’s be honest with the average water cooler.

[00:24:52] You don’t get Beyond sports, weather, how are your kids? You know, it’s right and we were like. This [00:25:00] is an opportunity to bring out other sides of people it see it. In fact, you kind of have to right? Because one thing we learned about virtual social events. Is that a little structure goes a long way to making people feel comfortable versus just everyone looking at each other on the video screen, right?

[00:25:14] So in an early session back to your point, I remember our head of product and Engineering talked about his kind of earlier in life career in cricket. He was a professional Cricket player. I didn’t even know what cricket was before he gave a session. He was reasonably new to the company at the time. So it was almost like a great way to get to know him and where he grew up and our head of operations at the time did a session on Space operas and kind of how that’s been like a passion for him.

[00:25:43] So just things it’d be hard to kind of strike up a conversation about space operas at the water cooler.

[00:25:49] Jevin: [00:25:49] yeah. Yeah. Tell me about your

[00:25:51] Jennifer: [00:25:51] Tell me about your hobby. You haven’t shared with me yet. Right? So yeah, I feel like we combined that type of thing with even duplicate. [00:26:00] virtual holiday party this pack the air.

[00:26:03] Yeah, which was like an interesting experiment. But we did like Global holiday trivia and just just interesting just different sides of people people’s competitive nature came out. It was great. So I think with enough of that the cumulative effect is pretty powerful.

[00:26:18] Jevin: [00:26:18] 90 days. You’re measuring metrics.

[00:26:22] How did the metrics look at the out at the. You

[00:26:27] Jennifer: [00:26:27] Yeah, absolutely. So, You know I think not surprisingly probably productivity and happiness as reported by employees is is soaring right? It’s got have been consistently in the high 90s on a scale of a hundred so I think. And I think you know that the benefits of remote work and productivity.

[00:26:46] It is very multi-layered as we started talked about earlier. So those two things I think are really important, right? They think they’re really important that companies at every stage, especially when you’re in a rapid scaling phase. I think maintaining High [00:27:00] productivity and high employee happiness is.

[00:27:02] Just Paramount, right? So that in of itself was kind of noteworthy enough a1t the conclusion of 90 days for us to be like, yeah, this is worth continuing. Right and further. I think we could see it right we had a great summer last summer in terms of the business and our rate of growth. So I think those kind of top three things were all kind of lining up, you know, however, as I said, we always try to share, you know, the not so good news as well.

[00:27:27]Perhaps also not surprisingly relationships and collaboration did dip initially it certainly if you go from being in an office everyday face to face and then you are no longer there. You would expect some changes though interestingly some spring borders as we call ourselves who had been remote before and when we were could have more broadly based in an office as a team.

[00:27:53] They had some clear uptick not not surprisingly because not everybody is forced to kind of overcome some of these communication [00:28:00] barriers. So. We learned a lot of people who were working remotely before and and they certainly were helpful in understanding and kind of how their situation had actually improved and we’ve worked aggressively everything from we’ve added an internal knowledge base.

[00:28:15]We have standardized our communication platform. There was a time where we were using everything from Zoom to go to meeting to hang out meet and we’ve all been there off to everything in between and teens had specific tools. So we really had to like standardized across a lot of teams is to make sure that collaboration was as seamless as possible.

[00:28:35] And like I said, that’s an ongoing Journey for sure, but those figures as self-reported by employees quarterly have also stabilized in the high 80s. So we. All that we’ve made great progress there, but frankly our kind of gold standard is to see things like relationships and collaboration right up there with productivity and happiness. So lots of progress and certainly still some some work to do there as well.

[00:28:58] Jevin: [00:28:58] Great and you’re using [00:29:00] like what are you using to collect? These metrics are using just like a Google form or a type form or like what you have to offer

[00:29:06] Jennifer: [00:29:06] absolutely. So we are using Google forms. It’s funny though, I think.

[00:29:11] Part of modern people operations, especially in a remote team is kind of constant emphasis on emerging tools and new options out there. So I think our goal as we’re actually looking for a new performance management system, and I think there’s a lot of great programs out there that combine performance management with culture and kind of broader.

[00:29:34] About kind of like an employee experience. So certainly looking to upgrade from Google forms, but it served us well in the last 18 months, so I can’t complain about it being kind of like a minimum viable product of employee feedback.

[00:29:47] Jevin: [00:29:47] Yeah, it seems like a great way to get started for sure until you figure out what you need.

[00:29:51] That’s great. tell us Jen a little bit about your. Self-reflection paper you guys have available online or that you’re launching today

[00:30:00] [00:29:59] Jennifer: [00:29:59] Yes, absolutely. And I so appreciate you giving us the opportunity to kind of watch it live with you. Yeah, so. One of the best aspects of kind of my job personally and then being in a leadership position on a remote work transition has just been the number of people interested in how this works and you know can it work for their company.

[00:30:20] So I’ve gotten to have the most amazing conversations including with people like yourself obviously, so and we got a good number of requests for kind o`f how did this really work right like to your point kind of a little bit beyond the. Why you should think about remote work? There’s clearly so many, you know kind of benefits that are reasonably obvious, right everything from recruiting to cost.

[00:30:42] I mean, there’s just a lot of benefits, right but operationalizing this on the other hand is kind of a different story, right? So we have a white paper on our transition to remote work and it really is geared to. Could help others ask themselves the right questions, [00:31:00] right? I will say looking back that certainly there are some companies out there that have set a good example and that was very helpful.

[00:31:07] I do think when it came to like core operational questions like policies and benefits. How does everyone get a computer does the company still own the computer? Where do you get the mail kind of? Just as the gamut of issues that are opened up by remote work. What do you do about communication collaboration all the things we’ve been talking about There are still a lot of room I think out there to try to talk about what works when people learned excetera and and we learned a lot by experimentation right? I have to say that’s been the other thing that kind of made this whole thing work is that everybody on the team was willing to experiment and I think we iterated really quickly.

[00:31:45] So the white paper is our attempt to kind of as I mentioned. Help people ask the right questions that we wish we would have known to ask an advanced frankly. Maybe not quite as much iteration would have been necessary and then also kind of related [00:32:00] share some just really tactical tips that we picked up along the way to more into the nitty-gritty things that I was just mentioning before there’s operational details that.

[00:32:10] Frankly, start to come pretty fast and furious. Once you give up your office, right? There’s just a lot of people slacking you can like what are we doing about this? So the white paper gets into some of those less glamorous sides of remote work that somebody frankly needs to think through so so. I would love to share that with anybody who’s interested and I’m also happy to engage with other HR professionals or leaders out there who are curious because sharing our story has been a really really fun part of this and I love learning from other companies too if they go on their journey.

[00:32:40] Jevin: [00:32:40] Awesome, and I will put the link into the show notes. Jen last question. I never asked you this in advance. What is your key? Go to like tool gadgets, you know thing that you have that you cannot live without for to get your remote work done.

[00:32:58]Jennifer: [00:32:58] Wow, [00:33:00] This is a very instinctive answer think probably a function of my life life face not quite gadgety, but I have an extra large water bottle that holds like like a day’s worth of the water water. Excuse me, and I say that because I think of revetted a lot about remote work in that.

[00:33:18] I kind of had to get some things where I can be set up to work in a room or is it kind of on the go without a lot of disruption? So even small things like running downstairs trying to run past my two year old who wants to play with me all day just to get water are things. I think you learn to optimize.

[00:33:35] Over time so actually the things that I can’t live without and remote work at this point in time. We’re kind of basic supplies and able to enable me to me be productive anywhere including the biological Basics like access to water

[00:33:49] Jevin: [00:33:49] interesting not something I would have expected anyone ever say as their favorite

[00:33:53] Jennifer: [00:33:53] a consistent

[00:33:54] Jevin: [00:33:54] but I can definitely see that Jen.

[00:33:56] Thanks a lot for coming on the show.

[00:33:58]Jennifer: [00:33:58] Absolutely. Thank you so [00:34:00] much for having me. Look forward to remain in contact.

[00:34:02] Jevin: [00:34:02] Yeah, of course. All right. So listener’s thanks and until next time from Jen and myself Jevin. Thanks and keep on building those remote teams bye