We started 2020 with plans that this year, we will move to bigger office space and had hopes that the entire team will get to sit on a single floor and work more collaboratively. The COVID pandemic not just disrupted these plans, but made us reflect on our assumptions of effective collaboration.
We were sure that for collaboration (which is a necessity for building a great company), the team needs to be co-located. A few months back, we were talking about our plans to move to Gurgoan Cyber City or around that area. While planning all that, I never imagined that I would be writing this post, but here we are 🙂
The last three months have been educational, and based on the employee surveys we did, we learned that Wingifighters are more productive in the new setup. We want to embrace this learning, and looking at the current situation of the pandemic in Delhi (and in the country), we don’t want to go back to our office and have decided that Wingify will evolve to be a remote-first organization.
What does remote-first organization mean:
- By default, Wingify will have all its employees work remotely. We were always remote-friendly but had expectations that people will spend significant working days in the office. We no longer have this expectation.
- We might still require some people or teams to be co-located because of their specific project or job profile.
What does this mean for Wingifighters and their career:
- We will start working towards making WFH effective for all. This includes policies to enable them to set up a proper home office. We will also begin exploring tie-ups with co-working spaces so that they can book a desk on demand and work from an office, whenever needed.
- We will plan for training and coaching on effectively working remotely (including effective written communication, effective remote meetings, managing commitments)
- More mental space for impactful work + more time for spending with loved ones because of time saved by commuting + ability to shut off from office distractions.
- Work quality becomes the only thing that matters for career growth. Both introverts and extroverts are on an equal footing in a remote scenario.
- Work from any place they want (hometown, Goa, mountains — any place, practically).
What does this mean for Wingify:
- Ability to hire and work with talent from anywhere
- Ability to expand internationally as remote culture takes hold in different teams
- Faster execution as everyone saves on commute
- Giving up the lease on our existing offices
What this means for the broader society:
- Fewer carbon emissions due to significantly less commute
- Flourishing of non-metros in India because many of us may choose to relocate to your hometowns
- Less strain on urban infrastructure and de-congestion of metros
Challenges that we’re aware of which we have to solve for:
- Some people may not be able to set up a home office, so we will figure out ways to get them to co-working spaces.
- Some people get energized through in-person meetings with colleagues, and some people have forged friendships at work, so figuring out a way to address these.
- Some projects require intense collaboration and brainstorming, so figuring out a way to be on the same page even for complex projects.
- During any conversation and especially interviews, body language tells a lot. Figuring out how to incorporate such softer aspects while working as a team.
- Onboarding new employees is critical for their integration into the culture, so figuring out ways to do that smoothly and effectively.
- Unknown unknowns – we’re sure there are things we don’t know yet
These changes will bring some new challenges, but I are sure we will be able to resolve them and make this new normal as productive and fun (if not more), as it was when we were all working together in one office.