HYBRID WORK ENVIRONMENT
By Bill Huseby, President & CEO
In this episode, I discuss culture, and the challenges involved with bringing people back into the office during this pandemic. I talk through how we are working on this new hybrid work environment.
I hope you enjoy the video. As always, please feel free to share your thoughts about what you found interesting or what you’d like to hear more about next time.
Hi, I’m Bill Huseby, President and CEO at SIGMADESIGN. So, in this episode we’re going to be talking about the culture, and the challenges we have in bringing people back into the office during this pandemic.
We’re currently in the process of bringing teams back to our offices. Depending on the type of work they do, some of our teams have remained in our facilities throughout the pandemic. Others have converted to working from home, or hybrid schedules. We also have employees who have been hired as full time remote. This presents new challenges in navigating the work environment and in keeping our culture strong. Some people like to come into work, some people don’t have a choice, and some people aren’t comfortable coming back into work quite yet. So we’ve got to figure out something that works for everybody.
Company culture has always been extremely important – our culture has always been an attractor for new employees. Sort of this shiny thing that draws people in. We’ve been working on initiatives that help retain, attract, and develop our employees. Some of these include a revamped mentorship program, increased personal time off, employee focus groups, and a culture club that supports special events and teambuilding activities.
This is real. The culture at SIGMADESIGN is not something that we fabricate; it’s something that’s from the heart and it’s something that we focus on, and it makes a difference. In addition, we’re working on providing a balanced environment that supports employees and engages communication. In our new hybrid environment, it is less about ritual, and more about providing different ways that our employees can connect, communicate, and be recognized.
BRINGING PEOPLE BACK
Also, SIGMADESIGN is being intentional about the way we do things. We want people to feel comfortable coming back to the office, but understand that not everyone can do that, or may not be willing to do that. Some of our employees hired during the pandemic are working completely remotely, because they are able to do so effectively and efficiently – and actually don’t live anywhere near any of our offices. This means that some of our teambuilding events need to be adjusted. The key is to remember the purpose of the activities and let that purpose drive the event instead of trying to create things the way they were before COVID.
Our purpose for bringing people back into the office is to have connections and greater sense of community. Team members that are present are able to learn, collaborate, and come up to speed on new projects faster than in a remote environment.
We’ve always been very collaborative in our product development and engineering. Before the pandemic, our teams enjoyed working together every day, and a lot of cross-pollination between disciplines happened naturally as people worked in groups and moved around the office. We believe this led to better solutions in our project work.
Trying to get people back into the office to connect in this way again is a challenge! We will need to work toward this goal, and remain flexible in our approach to achieve a successful synergy.
At SIGMADESIGN, we’ve always been focused on our employees. We know people want more flexibility, and treating employees as humans is at the forefront for us. At the same time, we want to provide the best possible solutions for our clients. Some of our work will definitely be enhanced by bringing more people and more team members back together. Employee expectations have led to people looking for a workplace that matches their values. We’re focused on finding and keeping employees that match our company values.
When we bring people back into the office, that spontaneity, that water cooler talk, it just happens more naturally, and I think that’s a good thing. I’m personally very proud of SIGMADESIGN and the 400 plus employees that we have. It has not always been easy, especially during the pandemic, to grow and continue to be successful. But we’ve done it, and we’re doing it. It is real, and to me, that’s super important.