For the past year and a half, the X by 2 team has not only worked from home but excelled at home. Though the transition to remote work was an adjustment, we found that our team’s ability to collaborate, innovate, communicate, and work productively remained steady and, in some cases, improved. The culture we have worked so hard to build stayed strong, despite the virtual barriers.
Just as our employees have supported X by 2, we want to equally support them through any workplace disruption. While developing our back-to-office plan, we had two substantial factors to consider:
1. Our employees have diverse needs and circumstances that influence their ability and desire to return to the office.
2. The future of work will continue to change based on technology advancement, shifting workplace norms, and public health conditions.
Our solution? A hybrid working model to promote balance, productivity, and flexibility.
As of May 2021, we started allowing fully vaccinated employees to work out of the office on a voluntary basis and for the foreseeable future, we will continue providing everyone with flexibility to work remotely as much as they like. This model will likely evolve overtime however, we are taking proactive steps to ensure our staff feels supported from the start.
Why a Hybrid Remote Model?
Simply put, we trust our employees. McKinsey & Co reports that nine out of ten organizations will soon adopt a hybrid approach based on the general increase in employee success and productivity at home. We’ve seen similar results at X by 2, and in order to keep our employees happy, we want to provide a model that best complements their individual needs.
Though X by 2 has always been a flexible workplace that strives to accommodate employee preferences, we never felt the need for a formal work from home policy, until now. While some employees prefer to work remotely, others are eager to get back in the office; the hybrid model helps us establish that foundation and gives employees the freedom to choose what works best for them.
Investing in Employee Success
X by 2 has always prioritized employee professional self-development. Early on, we established a points system to encourage employees to grow beyond their existing skill sets, whether that meant attending technical conferences or pursuing a new certification. Each member of X by 2 receives a minimum of 150 points at the start of each year, which translates to approximately $1,000-$3,000 in reimbursement. Those points can be used to cover the expenses of online courses, books, conference fees, certifications, and other related items. The program was highly successful, however as many traditional self-development priorities shifted at the start of 2020, we realized some adjustments were required.
As our employees transitioned into their remote offices, we discovered many didn’t have a designated remote workspace and needed professional development aid at home. X by 2 now offers home office reimbursement to ease the expense of building and/or enhancing our employees’ remote office space. We’ve added necessities, such as desks, monitors, keyboards, and additional qualifying equipment, as valid professional self-development expenses and actively check in with our employees to ensure they’re well equipped, both at home offices and in their company office spaces.
X by 2 prides itself on promoting a connected, collaborative office culture. We often host in-person activities like family picnics, annual holiday parties, a running/walking club, Super Smash Bros and puzzle building over lunch to provide opportunities for our employees to engage outside of their client project and team.
During the transition to remote work, and now X by 2’s hybrid work model, we’ve taken proactive measures to maintain those connections at home and in the office. By converting our existing programs into virtual programs, we’ve been able to continue hosting team building events like virtual 5ks, puzzle competitions, and a “Bring Your Child to Work Day” photo contest. Through regular adviser meetings, our employees have been able to give consistent feedback and receive constant support. We have also established virtual interest groups where employees can connect on shared professional or personal interests. Our tech and leadership focused groups have continued to meet regularly to discuss industry trends and new technology, and employees now exchange recipes, have open investing discussions, and share photos of their furry friends over Slack channels.
As a result of our hybrid model, many of our virtual programs have become more flexible as well. Advisers can now meet with employees either in the office or virtually, making check points and feedback more accessible. Special interest groups and employee interest groups are now able to gather from anywhere, providing more flexibility when planning meetings.
The health and safety of our employees has always been top priority at X by 2. Prior to launching our hybrid model, we established a system to regulate who enters and exits the office and enforced occupancy caps to maintain safe social distancing measures. We will continue to provide a COVID-safe, comfortable environment for the foreseeable future.
If the past year and a half has proved anything, it’s that we have a resilient, reliable, hard-working group of individuals on our team who can adapt at home and on-site. Our new hybrid remote model is built on an existing foundation of strong communication and trust that has strengthened over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have full confidence that our team will continue to thrive from wherever they work, and we look forward to supporting them along the way.