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Reimagining the Workplace: How Remote-First is Changing Operations – For the Better!

Lydia Powell

Lydia Powell

Managing Director, People and Client Operations

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Going remote-first gives team members the flexibility to work in ways that suit them best. But, more than that, it’s helping us rethink the workplace experience in ways that only digital can make possible.

HR to recruitment, operations to IT, and everything in between, the average workplace is made up of many moving parts. That being said, you can imagine that deciding to go remote-first, as Connected did earlier this year, requires the careful and seamless orchestration and transition of policies, practices, and procedures to ensure that teams stay engaged, happy, and enabled to do their best work – wherever that happens to be. 

Our remote-first approach allows us to draw from a nationwide pool of talent, make the hiring process more efficient, and drive retention by providing more flexibility. “Going remote-first has made the recruiting process more seamless, enjoyable, and most importantly, effective for everybody, including our candidates,” says Reece, our Talent Acquisition Director, and I couldn’t agree more.

But recruitment is just one of many functions that we’ve adapted and evolved. 

Onboarding is another and is an integral part of welcoming Connectors into our culture and providing them with a supportive employee experience from day one. So right now we are asking ourselves: How do we make the onboarding experience the best and most effective remote version possible? How do we take advantage of a screen-based experience to make onboarding unique? However, we decided to flip to script a bit, and rather than trying to create facsimiles of onsite rituals and routines, we were purposeful in asking ourselves – what can we do that we couldn’t do before?

This brings me to IT, the great enabler of remote work. However, the path to empowering a distributed workforce like Connected isn’t without challenges and given the nature of our work, one of the biggest concerns was security. We responded in tandem by evolving and rewriting our data protocols to be more stringent and instituting a VPN to raise security and privacy standards further. It’s been challenging, but it’s also made us more adept, agile, and ultimately better at what we do. 

Rather than trying to create facsimiles of all our onsite rituals and routines, we were purposeful in asking ourselves – what can we do that we couldn’t do before?

It’s important to remember that Connected shifted to remote-first, not remote only. Our office remains open to all Connectors. Utilizing the Robin app to ensure space availability and COVID-19 guidelines are met, all you need to bring is your laptop, and you’ll find workstations properly distanced and set up with a monitor, keyboard and mouse. We wanted to the office to remain a viable option for our staff, and have made every reasonable effort to ensure it’s an optimal space of both individual and collaborative work. 

Going remote-first was a significant shift in itself, but it has also unlocked an even more recent evolution: Work From Anywhere. Now, Connectors can not only work anywhere in Canada indefinitely, but now, they can add just about anywhere in the world for 90-days. This initiative was sparked not only from a more nomadic preference in the market but our Connectors, many of whom want to spend time with their families who, in many cases, live halfway around the world. As an organization, it’s a privilege to help make this happen for our people, as they continually go above and beyond for us. 

Policies, practices, and procedures; and how to orchestrate and transition them for remote-first as seamlessly as possible – this has been our focus. And while it hasn’t been without its challenges and setbacks, in proper Connected form, it’s provided us with many learning opportunities that informed us on the way to making something better. Going remote-first may have started as a way to maintain the status quo, but as we quickly learned, it made things better, allowing Connectors to feel supported, engaged, happy and able to do their best work. 

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