Tech Startups – Remote Work or Back to Work?
One of the biggest discussion points in the working world is whether or not the return to office is happening and whether it is even necessary. Tech companies—who spearheaded the work-from-home movement at the beginning of the pandemic—are now some of the first to pioneer the office return.
However, the office is no longer the only option. Businesses are also considering hybrid and purely remote offices. There’s no wrong choice, even if you’re running a tech startup. However, firms can go wrong in how they communicate their plans to current and potential employees. Now, more than ever, your commitment to a strong employer brand and transparent EVP (Employer Value Proposition) will help smooth the transition to your tech company’s new office—no matter the location.
“The office is where the great ideas are hatched — especially in an idea-centric economy.” – Contentful
It’s inevitable that throughout the pandemic, your company has brought on new “pandemic hires” who will have never experienced the office dynamic important to your brand. You’ll also have to revamp your hiring process to reflect in-person positions rather than remote hires for potential candidates. Of course, there are lots of bonuses to include in your EVP for going back to the office, like workplace perks, mentorship for new hires, collaboration, and a unique space.
Your branding will likely speak to teamwork, collaboration across all levels and departments, the power of face-to-face interactions, and the capacity of a casual run-in turning into the next big idea. By making the office enticing—be it through upgrades or new perks and reassurance around health and safety—those who were hired under the clear EVP of office life will be itching to get back.
About 22% of businesses are not yet planning a return to the office, and some may never go back. If that’s the case for your tech company, you need to find a clear way to show your current employees how this new “office” aligns with your brand and why it’s a great option. Communicating the benefits of remote work, such as work-life balance, flexibility to work from anywhere, and autonomy, will help your current team remain on board with the choice. Another essential piece is transparency. Lay out for employees why you decided to keep everyone remote and how it helps everyone achieve business or even health and safety goals.
As far as bringing in new candidates, your employer branding will likely convey points such as the value of being a self-starter, the perks of having autonomy in the workplace, and a forward-thinking approach to using technology for communication. While your company may be saving on office space, employees will also be saving on commute time, gas money, and lunches out.
The hybrid option is becoming more and more common for companies to implement, or at least consider. It may even become the new norm for businesses considering 83% of workers claimed the switch to remote was successful, but 87% of employees still believe the office is necessary for team building and collaboration.
Not only does it offer the work-life balance that employees crave, but it also provides support for new employees and space for those with a less-than-ideal, work-from-home situation. If your tech startup thinks the hybrid option is the way to go, there must be clear communication for hoteling spaces and how they work, the expected number of days employees need to be in the office, office schedules, and general expectations. All of this will be attached to an EVP that features flexibility, work-life balance, and team-building opportunities backed by autonomy. Your brand should reflect the value of collaboration, mixed with the understanding that people need balance.
No Wrong Choice
What about those who aren’t yet sure what they want the future of work to look like? Pivot + Edge conducted a survey within the LinkedIn community asking employees and employers what model they are gunning for in a post-pandemic era. Only a measly 3% would favor a full-time return to the old cubicle. 19% say they are down with a mandatory hybrid scenario and just over a quarter are comfortable with working remotely forever. But more than half of all respondents say they want it to be their choice.
Obviously, there are positives to all of these work options, so it comes down to what is best for your firm. The most important way to achieve a smooth transition is to keep your communication transparent. That way employees are clear on what is expected of them and can see how your choice still aligns with your brand and EVP. If there’s a bonus to any of this, it’s that your transition of workspace will help weed out candidates who aren’t quite the right fit for your business. By having a strong brand and EVP, no matter which work environment you choose, you’ll be finding and keeping the employees who are in line with that decision.
Do you need help clarifying your EVP and brand to ensure you’re not attracting the wrong employees for your work environment? Get in touch with us at Pivot + Edge today, and we help make sure your office transition is a smooth one.