03 May PRAXIS’ Remote Workplace Offers Multiple Benefits
I remember eyeing the box of crackers in my desk and contemplating whether or not I should take them home. How long could we possibly be away? No one could have predicted that more than two years later, we’d still be working from home.
A lot has changed since then. We’ve navigated new ways of working – with our colleagues, our clients and, of course, our new office mates – both human and four-legged. We’ve ‘pivoted’ in multiple directions to find creative ways to overcome barriers and bring fresh ideas to the table. We’ve mastered new technologies and new ways of communicating. And we’ve successfully transitioned to a fully remote office.
Yes, PRAXIS has gone remote, and it’s working.
Matt Juniper, Associate Partner and General Manager shares why PRAXIS decided to go remote and the positive impact it’s had on both people and business.
How did you feel when you first heard we would be working from home?
I think like everyone, I was a little apprehensive. It took me out of my comfort zone. I enjoyed the office environment where I had the opportunity to collaborate with my colleagues. I questioned whether I could maintain a separation between home and work. As the reality that this was becoming a long-term situation set-in, I wondered if it might take away from the team-oriented workplace culture PRAXIS is known for.
When did you make the decision to remain remote?
We’ve committed to a remote-only pilot for 2022 and we’ll likely stay remote moving forward. There were many considerations, but the decision was largely based on two key factors – listening to our team and responding to what we heard; and evaluating productivity and the level of service we provide to our clients. We surveyed the team multiple times and saw a clear shift in perspective. At first, people supported the idea of a hybrid approach. They liked coming into an office but also enjoyed the freedom of working from home.
By the time we conducted our last survey, the team supported a fully remote environment. They were used to working from home and had become comfortable with it. At the same time there was no decline in productivity, and we have continued to deliver best-in-class programs and results for our clients.
How have you seen the change to remote impact the team?
The feedback we’ve received has been really positive. I think people feel empowered and appreciated. There’s a level of trust that comes with moving from a traditional 9-5 workday to a more performance-based flexible schedule. The team has enjoyed the benefits that come with working from home – the flexibility to accommodate different lifestyle needs, no commute, more time with family, the ability to work in your pjs (business on top for Zoom calls of course). And in return they’ve showed a commitment to continuing to work hard and contribute as part of a team. We’ve continued to grow over the last two years and many candidates have been attracted to our remote environment, identifying it as a positive incentive to join PRAXIS.
How has the change to remote impacted the business?
One of the biggest impacts is that we are no longer restricted by geography. This opens up the talent pool beyond the borders of our physical office space and gives us the opportunity to find employees with national experience and perspectives. It also gives us the opportunity to even better meet the geographic needs of our existing clients and to explore new business opportunities no matter where they come from. We service clients across Canada and the US.
What measures have you taken to ensure people feel connected?
At PRAXIS our culture is very important to us. It’s one of the things that sets us apart, and we’ve worked hard to maintain it. We’ve ensured that despite the distance we continue to create opportunities for frequent check-ins through initiatives like our weekly round tables, our PEEP mentorship program, and virtual team-building opportunities like casino nights, sushi making and murder mysteries. We also provide tools to help people feel connected like Slack and disciplined like Asana. We’re constantly looking for new ways to connect and now that people are feeling more comfortable about gathering, we are looking at co-working spaces for in-person meetings and planning for collaboration days where we can get together as a team to brainstorm, problem solve and spend some time working side by side.