“How to best manage the employee experience in a hybrid, flexible world” became a major talking point at the 2023 Forbes Future of Work Summit earlier this year. The scarcity of top talent led to global business leaders reimagining how to find, attract and retain talent. Generational differences and technological advances accelerated by the pandemic have resulted in a pressing need for workplace flexibility.
Employers with remote and hybrid work models accessed the largest talent pools, unencumbered by traditional boundaries and four walls. As a result, we’re seeing increased adoption of remote and hybrid work. Several of the most successful companies in the world turned 100% remote; AirBnB, Spotify, and Coinbase to name a few. And many more such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon offer hybrid work options.
We collectively observed that flexible work models ensure business continuity for many roles and businesses. Perhaps most strikingly, we saw that it’s possible to connect, perform, and drive exceptional results and value without physical 9-5 office reporting. The newfound success shifted our collective perspectives on work-life balance forever. There’s no turning back.
Smartway's three platinum rules
Many organizations take this mindset further by combining remote work and on-premise work. But running an organization remotely or hybrid requires great discipline and a renewed thought process.
We at Smartway follow three Platinum Rules as people leaders hoping to implement a future work model for organizations and inspire teams to deliver their top performance:
- Be inclusive: Optimize success by involving your whole team in key decisions and workplace methods. You’ll be amazed at the number of great solutions that emerge from deep within your organization. For example, at Smartway we do not hold an off-site for more than 2 nights. This is to embrace the diverse needs of our team members with families, to not have to be away from home too long. Despite being fully remote, Wednesday is a no meeting day, to make sure everyone can have a productivity time. All of this came from a team session to design the right culture and operating model.
- Capture everything: We can’t stress this enough: document, document, document. From creating action items to transcribing meetings, recording policies, goals, cultural values, and everything in between. Set time aside to capture lessons and documentation from each aspect of planning.
- Get TOGETHER: Honestly, we love working from home as much as the next person. But sometimes it’s simply not enough to create an impact. There’s the culture, momentum, joy, and loyalty that gets lost in migration. It affects the success you aim to create. Include get-togethers as part of your regular workplace budget and rituals. Consider this not as an expense, but an investment in giving your team a competitive edge. 95% of the participants feel more connected to their team after the off-site and have a better understanding of the company goals.
While getting together is vital, integrating new work methods could come across as challenging, with a need for added resource allocation. We understand the difficulties of pulling off a seamless and impactful meet-up event. The process involves hours of planning, coordination, negotiation, research, and logistical considerations. That's why we've designed a reliable model to help companies optimize their experience with minimal effort while creating a positive social impact.
It can be difficult to get everyone on the same page with differing perspectives. Yet, it becomes easier by formulating a plan that actively involves everyone in the team. off-sites provide the much-needed opportunity to de-stress and unwind, giving contributors the space to think and work with a clearer mind. Ultimately, teams can improve their dynamics and work at improved efficiency, and yield greater results.
Diversifying the meet-up experience
At Smartway, we simplify off-site design with an intuitive app that allows participants to navigate the experience at a destination without fuss. We offer a one-stop solution for enabling smooth, enjoyable, and memorable experiences, ensuring a successful experience for every attendee.
We have gathered valuable insights and advice from our seasoned experience in organizing dozens of off-sites to have some strategic considerations when planning your own:
- Define goals ahead of time: Clearly outline the specific areas of improvement and objectives you wish to achieve for the event. Doing so provides a sense of direction and ensures that the event objectives align with your broader organizational goals.
- Have the perfect blend of fun and work: A back-to-back agenda does not justify the true beauty of getting together and promoting creativity. Instead, consider allocating time for relaxation, team-building, and free-flow brainstorming activities to keep the team inspired.
- Foster casual cross-team interactions: Plan casual sessions where teams can mingle and interact beyond their day-to-day interactions. Encourage people to meet new colleagues to promote networking skills and collaboration.
- Seek feedback: Prioritize the gathering of post-event feedback from your participants. Creating a feedback loop transforms the planning into an iterative journey, going beyond the classic employee Net Promoter Score (NPS). Apply the acquired insights to continually improve future experiences.
By following these key principles, you can create an off-site that strengthens team dynamics, boosts creativity, and drives meaningful growth and positive change within your organization. We remain supporters of working remotely and in person in a digital world that pushes physical boundaries. And we hope we can support more companies in adopting effective standards that create the most beautiful and purposeful experiences amongst colleagues.
Find out more about Smartway.