A year ago, we closed down the 25madison office in response to Covid-19. At the time, we had no idea how long it would be before we saw each other again. The last year has brought challenges, learnings, and unexpected benefits that impact our team and the businesses we help build. We’ve shared some of our learnings below.
By Grant Silow
1. Culture Matters
When we put together our first betting pool on return-to-office dates, nobody had a prediction further out than Memorial Day 2020. Even that two and a half month stretch seemed like it would pose serious risks to our cohesion and productivity. But, we were wrong.
A year later, we’re moving faster than ever. I attribute this to our culture. While our leadership generally relies on employee initiative to move our business forward, we snapped into a new routine when we went remote. After initially over-correcting with daily standups, we settled on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday routine in which everyone reports on top priorities and flags any “blockers” they’re experiencing. We’ve had ad hoc happy hours, continued the tradition of our Long Island retreat (outdoors and distanced), and initiated a weekly trivia game via Slack. By staying present in each other’s daily routines, we’ve overcome physical distance and become closer as a team.
Using our regular standups and ad hoc team meetings, we are very communicative about ongoing projects, challenges and priorities. As a result, I feel more attuned to what colleagues are working on more than I ever did pre-Covid, and we’re more engaged in each other’s work as a result.
Sharing learnings builds institutional knowledge and helps newer employees climb the learning curve faster, even when some of us haven’t met in person yet.
3. Enforce Rest
Over the summer, our leadership realized that nobody was taking days for themselves. In response, they announced a mandatory week off for the whole team. It was an unexpected and awesome benefit, and everyone was even more pleased when they announced another week off over the holidays. Each time, people came back well-rested and ready to charge ahead.