Full-time remote work can make a positive impact on everyone, especially groups of folks who are often untapped talent from historically marginalized communities. And I was never more thankful to already be part of a remote organization than when COVID hit in the spring of 2020. Many companies scrambled to accommodate a remote workforce on top of everything else they were facing. Test Double was not exempt from many of the issues caused by COVID: financial uncertainty, employee stress and burnout, instability around client forecasting, etc. Having to figure out how to change our employees’ work environment and communication practices was—thankfully—not one of those challenges.
After two years at home, many organizations plan to send workers back to the office full-time or introduce a hybrid model wherein workers either come to the office 2-3 days a week or only a portion of workers stay at home. Just the other day Elon Musk told all Tesla employees to come back to the office—and he didn’t say it very nicely. Other companies are introducing hybrid models. Apple employees currently work 2 days in the office, with a planned increase to 3.
On the surface this makes sense. As a remote organization, Test Double is constantly revisiting employee connectivity and providing new ways for our folks to spend time together and with leadership in order to build relationships and alignment across the company. Office spaces have the advantage of instant proximity, which can allow for this to occur more organically. But we also have over 10 years as a remote company showing that you can collaborate and build relationships while fully remote. You have to be more intentional about creating time and space—and in-person retreats when there’s not a pandemic do make it easier to build relationships.