This is a guest blog post by Nate Matherson, Co-founder and CEO of ContainIQ
From Seed to Series G, hiring is a major focus for most founders. And in the post-COVID era, hiring has only become more complex.
COVID has changed the way many founders are approaching hiring. Employee expectations and preferences have also changed. Working remotely is a huge benefit for many employees and has allowed employers to reach an expanded talent pool. That said, having a home base, a physical office, alongside a remote culture, has a lot of upside.
At our company, ContainIQ, a Kubernetes monitoring platform, we are embracing a remote-first culture while keeping a physical office open for employees. Hiring for a remote + hybrid team has its unique challenges, but the returns can be substantial. Before posting that job description or signing that lease, consider these suggestions and tips.
Tip #1 – Bring Employees Into The Conversation
If I’ve learned anything in my 8 years as a founder, it is that employees want to be included in the conversation. Whether you are a 5 or 50 person startup, as a founder, it is important to bring employee perspectives together in an open environment.
The last couple of years have been incredibly challenging for employees too. When mapping out your return to the office, or when you are implementing a hybrid work structure, you should set aside time to speak with employees about your plans and gather their thoughts.
Before implementing a hybrid team structure, you should ask employees about their personal preferences, concerns about safety, and also have a collaborative conversation about the logistics of implementing such a solution.
Tip #2 – Over Communicate Even If It Feels Awkward
In general, clear employee communication can be difficult for founders and managers.
When outlining plans for a return to the office, or for your hybrid team environment, I strongly recommend erring on the side of overcommunication. Even if it gets annoying for some, for other employees, overcommunication around logistics and safety can relieve stress and anxiety.
Tip #3 – Implement a Desk Scheduling System
Embracing technology is an important early step for most hybrid-based startups. Worksphere offers a number of innovative products to help founders optimize the employee experience. Worksphere’s desk reservation software is a great starting point for most founders.
The software allows employees to reserve desks from anywhere, control seating permissions for the entire team, and reduce the amount of time it takes to schedule.
The adaptable floorplans feature is also quite useful for teams with a large physical footprint. Using the software, founders can map out the physical location with a drag and drop desk placer as well as provide directions for employees.
Tip #4 – Maximize Collaboration
Especially in the earliest days, employee collaboration promotes strong culture and helps employees be more productive. Unfortunately, remote and hybrid environments can make collaboration between employees more difficult.
Founders should look to implement collaboration tools. Worksphere software is quite helpful in promoting collaboration among employees. Using Worksphere, employees can see who is in the office on the day or days they are, know where different members of the organization are sitting, and search through the employee directory.
Additionally, tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams are great for back and forth communication between employees in the office and remote.
Tip #5 – Promote Office Safety
During my career, employee safety has always been a top priority and concern for me. Since founding our company in the post-COVID age, employee safety has only become even more important.
Fortunately, there are a number of tools out there that can help employees return to a physical office environment safely. It is worth considering Worksphere’s Office Safety feature set. It is quite helpful for tracking employee wellness, vaccination status, and immunity status. These tools are particularly helpful for contact tracing and alerting employees if they may have been exposed.
Depending on where your office(s) is located, there may be compliance and reporting guidelines in place. And relying on memory, or spreadsheets is the last thing I want to do as a founder. Tools that can track screening and capacity limits in a secure and HIPAA-compliant way are important to me.
And for me, any tooling that can reduce business liability and risk is worth implementing.
At our company, our remote-first + physical office hybrid is really working. It took some figuring out and tooling, and I hope these five tips will save you time as you implement a plan of your own.