In the wake of the unforeseen global pandemic in 2020, our professional landscape endured a profound shift, redefining how we work. Organizations around the world swiftly adapted to a new reality characterized by remote collaboration. As office doors closed, opportunities for virtual interaction opened. Born out of necessity and safety, this transition soon became a significant milestone in office culture.
Over three years later, our team has embraced a hybrid work model, giving us the choice to work from home or the office. Looking back, this sudden shift to remote work brought a myriad of learnings that may resonate with many companies. While some of these revelations have become part of mainstream discussions—like the necessity of embracing digital tools, the surprising increase in productivity, and the importance of communication—others remain relatively unexplored.
We’re eager to delve into these lesser-discussed insights.
Lesson 1: People Still Come First
TTC was built on a people-first philosophy, meaning we’ve fostered a culture where people feel cared for and valued.
The shift to remote work did not diminish our people-first belief. In fact, the importance of employee well-being has become more crucial than ever. While we couldn’t be together in person, we kept the company culture alive virtually via employee check-ins, Zoom happy hours, and team-building activities.
Some events were quirkier than others—like Water Cooler Wednesdays—an optional Zoom event to discuss whatever topic the week's host decided, or virtual St. Paddy’s Day, on which we were each gifted a make-your-own green cocktail kit. No matter the theme, the goal was to instill the same camaraderie one could feel in the office.
Lesson 2: More Isn’t Always Merrier
It seemed to us that moving to remote work created more meetings with more people. Meeting room capacities were no longer an issue, so the more, the merrier, right? Not always. More people often translated to a number beyond what allowed for efficient decision-making, which resulted in extended meetings that deviated from the planned agenda.
Ever heard the common gripe, “This meeting could’ve been an email”? Well, sometimes it's entirely valid. Now, before we schedule a meeting, we carefully assess the guest list and recommend including individuals who are essential to the meeting's purpose. For those who don’t attend—we send the minutes via email.
Lesson 3: Some Things Are Better in Person
While remote work unveiled a variety of benefits, sometimes face-to-face interactions still hold an irreplaceable value.
a) Onboarding: We learned that the onboarding process is more effective in a physical environment. So, we’ve adopted an in-person policy for the first week of employment, allowing new employees to meet their team and attend training sessions for their new role.
b) Building Relationships: As much as we love technology, human dynamics remain essential to fostering connections. While virtual meetings and events allow us to connect with our team and clients from anywhere, face-to-face interactions are unparalleled. We plan in-person events throughout the year, allowing us to bond as a team.
c) Repeat After Us: Hybrid Brainstorms Don’t Work. From our experience, trying to organize a meeting with some people at home and others in the office becomes chaotic quickly. We prefer to be in person for meetings that require quick thinking and ideation. Sometimes we just yearn for a creative session infused with the tangible presence of pen and paper, and the exchange of ideas echoed across the room, without needing to remind someone they’re on mute😉
The shift from office to remote work provided new insights for our team—some more niche than others. We hope these lessons can serve as a blueprint for your own team’s success as the world of hybrid work evolves.