As 2020 turned our lives upside down as we know them, we all learned how incredibly resilient we are as people and as companies.
Industrial has been one of the lucky ones that was able to transition to remote working somewhat seamlessly back in the early days of pandemic life. I do use the term "seamlessly" loosely, however, as there were still several considerations that were made in the background to pull all these "seams" together. Examples of these considerations include:
- What about the free coffee we use to fuel our staff with?
- How will we maintain our culture of laughter and fun that inevitably shows up randomly during lunchtime chats?
- The whiteboards?! How can we solve any problems without a whiteboard??
- If we can't SEE each other working, how will we know everyone is working??
Looking back on these, I realize how far we've come and how naive we were at the beginning. Perhaps a global pandemic was what we actually needed to force ourselves into a more open-minded and creative way of thinking when it comes to how we work.
Before March of 2020 (we will all now forever remember our lives before March and after March of 2020), Industrial occupied a 3,000 sq. foot modern office space in the bustling neighbourhood of Westboro in Ottawa, Canada. We moved into that office 7 years ago and it's been our home for our amazing team and office dog, Laker.
A few months into the lockdown, we made the decision to end our lease at this office and explore the idea of getting a smaller space that could become a new space for people who wanted the flexibility of working outside of their home a couple of days a week, or as often as they needed to. A quick search with a realtor revealed the reality that there was nothing available that would suit our company's needs (location, size, aesthetics, cost). That, coupled with the constant COVID lockdown rollercoaster, we made the decision to officially go remote. Given the current uncertainties that all companies are facing, we have no idea if we will get another office space one day or not. For now, we are rolling with the new virtual world as we packed up our things in our old office to move them to a storage unit indefinitely.
I definitely miss a lot of things that having a physical office space provides, however, there are some amazing gains we've made working remotely (besides not having to commute and getting to cuddle with our pets all day), which include:
- We have been supporting a local coffee subscription company called MOJOE coffee, by allowing our staff, every couple of months, to order coffee shipped directly to their homes while we foot the bill.
- Physical whiteboards were great, but kinda smelly and annoying to clean...we now use Miro for all of our virtual whiteboarding and collaboration needs.
- We've kept the connection and fun alive by having weekly themed company calls where a prize is awarded to the person who takes things to the extreme. We're about to roll out a perks program that uses Hoppier to help manage the prizes and stipends we started offering.
- Our sense of nerdy competition is alive and well with the addition of weekly trivia using a platform called Water Cooler Trivia and for more sporatic trivia fun, we use a Slack app integration called Polly.
- And of course, our recruitment talent pool is now open to the entire country. PS - we're hiring 😉
Regardless of what we decide to do with an office in the future, one thing is for sure...we will continue to adapt and thrive under uncertain and changing circumstances (and there will always be free coffee!).