What is the Future of Work at Near Partner?
In the past year, most companies have experienced disruptions in the way they conduct business. As changes become more permanent, we bring you our own view of the future of work at Near Partner, for 2021 and beyond.
In the past year, the expression work from home became so widely used it earned its own acronym, WFH. Companies around the world had to adapt quickly to remote working.
Twitter allowed all employees to work from home “forever”. Facebook, Shopify, Square, and Slack soon followed suit with similar announcements. Big tech leaders are not alone–19% of founders see remote work as a viable approach to the future of work.
Critics, however, were quick to point out that moving towards remote work might come at the expense of employee collaboration and ‘serendipity’, a term that describes chance encounters, discussions and brainstorming between employees that drive creativity and new ideas.
Even before the pandemic struck, companies such as the Bank of New York made headlines when they told their staff that they were scaling back their ability to work from home. The bank’s announcement followed decisions by IBM, Yahoo, Aetna and Best Buy requiring those working from home to return to the office.
At Near Partner, we faced a similar choice. Therefore, we long for a swift return to the office.
We value a sense of Oneness
How can you begin to define ‘company culture’? For many, it’s the total of their ways of working, standards of behavior and interaction. And it is essential to build shared trust.
As we contemplate remote work as a long-term solution, we look to harness the experiences of others who blazed the trail and then scaled back. In 2013, Yahoo!’s CEO Marissa Mayer acted on that same concern, effectively ended the company’s remote-working experiment, observing that the company needed to become “one Yahoo!” again.
We share that same concern. Although we have always been remote friendly, for us, office culture is everything and, once the pandemic hopefully blows over, we look forward to those relaxed moments together, and working side by side on tough challenges. Just look at these smiling faces.
Schedule flexibility has always been the norm for us
The future is flexible. But for us, the past has been as well. Employees expect schedule flexibility and goal-oriented work plans. That’s how we feel at Near Partner. You get to choose.
We work with clients around the world. They are in different time zones, so we all have different schedules. Each of us has the flexibility and responsibility to manage his or her own time. Therefore, we don’t need to control schedules or even define rules for how, when or where we work.
Our strong culture is key to deliver successful projects remotely
Delivering successful development projects remotely is what we do here at Near Partner. Working with Near Partner, businesses access a far-reaching pool of coding talent. Clients are happy to tap into the exceptional skills of our Portugal-based teams. Doing so requires a strong company culture centred on our teams’ needs.
At Near Partner, we take the mission of uniting our people seriously. Pouf Talk is our monthly all-hands meeting. Characterized by informality, before the pandemic, these meetings took place either in the auditorium sitting on the floor or poufs, while eating a croissant; or even sharing a table over dinner while having a few beers. Now, as we work from home, we do it anyway through Microsoft Teams. It is not the same thing but we try to make it lively and full of surprises!
To keep our teams solid, we regularly maintain One-on-One meetings. They are the backbone of our culture. This is a 30-minute meeting between two team members where they talk about everything but work. The aim is to communicate in an individualized way. It is a safe space where we go through deeper conversations and get to know each other better.
Last and not least, we have our dear Miss Marple–an app to share and getting to know the people we work with. Miss Marple sends us three emails per week and the questions vary depending on the topic: What’s up question on Mondays, a Personal question every Friday and a Company question on Wednesdays.
Here at Near Partner, this allows us to be more productive and happier–both at work and in our personal lives.
Our office culture fends off isolation
Being at home all day is dangerous. A feeling of detachment can settle in and ruin both work life and personal life. Talking to people via email only is an open invitation for isolation. By checking in at the office we fend off isolating, and ultimately detachment from our colleges, ambitions, and clients.
We are “Remote Friendly”
There is no doubt that this experience has shown us that remote work can be a great ally for many people and families. For others, not so much. That’s why it’s up to us, as a team, to respect each other’s needs and make it work!
Say you cannot make it to the office, for whatever reason. Your children need you to stay put or a family member is sick. We get that, in some scenarios, commuting to the office is just not reasonable. It’s not like coming in is coded into our brains. We chose to be office-based but remote working is, of course, a possibility and every team member has that flexibility. So long as they let their team know, that’s fine too.
But for us, our hope is that remote working is the exception, not the rule.
“We are neither eight nor eighty”
This is a Portuguese old saying that perfectly sums up the vision of our future: “We are neither eight nor eighty”.
We are right in the middle.
To wrap up this post, we recognize that there is a clear trend towards full remote, which we respect. On the other hand, we have all those companies where, as soon as the pandemic breaks down, returning to the office isn’t a choice. As for us, we continue to choose to listen each member of our team and to decide together what is best. We have always been like this and always will be!
Our office will always be a space for sharing and community, which will never cease to exist. We will continue to provide a place where we can aspire to be and work together!
We are firm believers in the power of culture. Of being together and sharing the good and the bad. This why we long to be united in the office once again.
Get in touch and find out how Near Partner can help you and your business. Ask us anything.