The advantages of being a flexible workplace and what that means post-COVID

Jun 16 2021, 6:58 pm

Written by Klaryssa Pangilinan, People and Culture Advisor at Daily Hive.

Whether we like it or not, workplaces are going to change. They’re going to be re-imagined as we enter the post-pandemic world.

But it’s actually such an exciting time as companies have the opportunity to start new and modernize (if needed)!

Places that were previously quite traditional have already been forced to transition to a digital/virtual/remote workplace setting and become more flexible. It’ll also be very interesting to see how workplaces and companies adapt to the demands of the workforce, what changes they decide to go with and how employees react to these changes.

For us at Daily Hive, while we’ll definitely see shifts in our office culture and workplace as well, it likely won’t be as drastic as it is for other places.

Here’s what life at Daily Hive was like pre-COVID.

The Pre-COVID Era at Daily Hive

  • Option to work from home: The team has always had the option to work from home. In 2019, employees worked an average of 12 days from home. That comes out to 1 day per month, which is definitely not much in the grand scheme of things considering that today we are working the majority of our time from home. On a regular day before the pandemic, about 98% of the team would be physically in the office.
  • Flexible hours/self-managed time: We hire individuals for a reason and we trust these individuals to do the job that they were hired for. Within reason, employees have had the freedom to build their own schedule, take breaks when they need them and determine how best they get their work done. Our general hours are 9-5 pm in your timezone, but we focus on the output and productivity. Take a break, go get an RMT, go to a doctor’s appointment, go for a walk, etc. Communication is key and we use Slack statuses heavily (and I mean heavily!) to communicate where we are and what we are doing throughout the standard work hours.
  • Flexible and paid time off: Once again, at Daily Hive, the employment relationship comes down to trust and communication. We offer unlimited paid sick, personal and vacation days. Employees know themselves best and are given the freedom to take as many days as they need in order to be their most productive selves while at work. Over the span of a year, we’ve had a single employee take upwards of 30 days off (non-consecutively), while another employee took 10 days off. We want employees to take care of themselves and be offline when they need to for their mental or physical health.
  • Fitness club memberships and discounts: As a company, we try our utmost best to support and promote a healthy lifestyle by offering memberships to local gyms and fitness centres such as Yyoga, Soulcycle, Myodetox and most recently, Rumble Studios. While at the office, employees attended classes before work, at lunch and after the workday with their peers. On top of supporting a healthy lifestyle, it doubled as a team-building event as many employees attended classes together and in groups.

The Post-COVID Era at Daily Hive (prediction)

We know that employees are now used to working remotely 100% of the time. However, we also know that the office culture was and still remains (for those who do go into the office currently) a huge part of who we are as a Company. That’s why we’ll always have a place for employees to congregate, socialize, have meetings or simply even just get out of the house. And while our flexibility and perks might be similar to pre-COVID, we’re sure our office setting might be a little different.

  • Office set up: While currently we have enough desks for every single person on the team if office settings become less popular and we continue to grow, hot desks or booking pods by the department may be a new reality. It’s a possibility that you will no longer have your “spot” as different groups of people may choose to visit the office on different days. Employees currently and will probably continue having to sign up to come into the office. The benefits? No longer sitting beside the same people or with the same department might increase collaboration and creativity and break down walls between departments. (This is something we’ve already experienced during our office setup throughout COVID).
  • More virtual, less office: As mentioned, pre-COVID, the majority of employees were in the office. After completing an internal survey about office attendance in a post-COVID world, only 25% said they plan to come in one day a week or not at all. While we will likely see this number increase over time as people become more comfortable and the office returns to its normal fun state, it’s unknown if we’ll get back to the 98% capacity we were at before. Those days may be a thing of the past.
  • A hybrid culture: Because of the split between office employees and employees who work from home, instead of having just an office culture (pre-COVID) or a virtual office culture (COVID), we’ll have to do our best to blend both the virtual and physical office cultures as one (post-COVID). This will be hard, as doing half in-person and half virtual happy hours is definitely not ideal, but it’ll be something that we will need to explore as we see the split between remote and office work. How to make everyone feel welcome and part of the team when you’re a split team will force us to become even more innovative and creative. Instead of events at the office, we’ll likely have events and activities outside of the work hours for everyone to join together, meet and socialize.
  • More remote work: This might be the biggest change for us. While employees have never been prevented from working remotely, almost all of our employees live and work in one of our operating cities. However, we have seen that change during the first year of COVID as individuals moved to places such as Whistler and Squamish. We potentially will continue to see this increase and maybe even become a true option available to employees if it makes sense for their role and department. As events and activities begin to open up again, some positions may require employees to be in the city that they are working for and this will be something that we will need to consider. For all workplaces, this will increase the talent pool and may also impact salaries as individuals are not confined or restricted to living in the expensive city where their company resides and thus cost of living will decrease.
  • Larger focus on mental health and wellness: Starting July 2021, Daily Hive is offering mandatory flex days where employees are required to take off two half days per month for their mental and physical health. This is something that began as a way to curb the burnout that we are seeing in the workplace after the hardships that COVID introduced to our lives. Depending on how things continue to progress, it’s possible we may see more initiatives like this come to life in the future.

While transitioning to a post-pandemic world may be easier for companies who have already adopted more flexible workplaces, like Daily Hive, it won’t come without some challenges. It’ll be new, it’ll be different but it’ll be exciting. And eventually, it will become the norm for workplaces and the next generation won’t even know what offices used to be like.

Regardless, we look forward to things settling down into a steady-state and ultimately think that some of the changes will have a positive impact on workplaces and cultures as a whole.

Klaryssa PangilinanKlaryssa Pangilinan

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