There are plenty of discussions going on at the moment around, “do we need offices”, “is it more effective to actually work from home” & “can we truly build trust through VC?”. Like all the other companies, we are also discovering and defining how to work after we can physically meet again. The actual issue, when trying to find the perfect solution, is that there is not only one right answer to these questions. Cultures and companies are unique and so are the answers. Culture should always be built to support organizations to live up to their purpose and to reach their goals. This should be the guiding principle also in this biggest work-life change in our lifetimes.
Our purpose as a company is to empower people to make smart choices in their daily lives. And we truly trust our own people to do that. Also when deciding where to work in the future. Here is what it means for us at the moment.
Do we need an office?
Our aim is to have a culture that empowers teams to deliver value. So when thinking about how we work in the future, we need to build our habits and structures in a way that supports this goal. For example, we know that we have people who feel it important to have a shared physical space where to meet. We also think that some things are easier, better and more fun to do in the same room together. And that helps our teams to deliver value. So yes – we need an office.
Is it more effective to work from home or from the office?
We value outcomes over outputs. So in other words, the “outcome is always our destination” and that should guide us also when making decisions on where and how to work. We know that there are tasks where we need individual focus time to deliver value to our customers. These tasks, but also individuals and their needs for focus work, are different. It’s important to enable solutions to all these different needs. We want to offer an office, where focus work is possible, but also to give the opportunity to do focus work in home environments. So instead of choosing home or office – we need both.
Can trust be built when people don’t meet physically?
Based on our experiences during the past year when we have worked 100% remotely while merging two +70 people organizations, I think it’s fair to say that yes – trust can be built in video meetings, phone calls and Slack messages. However, we know that our people want to work together also in a shared physical environment and to meet. We believe that the trust we have for each other and the relationships we have built, will be even stronger in the future when we can also have these face to face experiences. So yes – it is possible, but it can be even stronger after meeting each other live.
Because teams are made from individuals, it’s crucial that individual needs are supported. We believe that happens best when enabling and empowering teams to test and figure out what way of work actually brings the most value out. It does not mean that everyone can do whatever their personal preferences are. To work well synced together, and to deliver value as a team, we need a common drumbeat. And that is something we need to define together. The recipe to do that is simple discover-define-test-iterate. Instead of “finding a perfect solution” we need to build ways that enable us to adapt to continuously changing needs around us. In the end, the Future of work is all about learning. Our curiosity and courage make sure that we find the best solutions together.
People and Culture Director at Schibsted