Barring new surprises, it looks like the companies are on track to return to the office. There is a part of the workforce that only wants to stay remote. Meanwhile, tech companies are embracing a hybrid model — in the office two or three days a week and the rest at home or elsewhere — and Wall Street banks are requiring employees to be in the office five days a week.
There are forward-thinking companies that offer their employees a unique value proposition. Jelena Djordjevic, Vice President of People at Thumbtack, a home management platform that gives homeowners access to a skilled workforce, offers insight into the company’s corporate culture programs.
At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Thumbtack transitioned to a remote workforce, offering its employees the ability to work wherever they wanted. As time went on and the virus subsided, the company sent out surveys to assess the desired work style of its employees. They overwhelmingly preferred a flexible, remote model.
Thumbtack has adopted a virtual-first model for its 1,000+ employees working remotely in over 35 states. The company values a flexible, fair and inclusive working environment. Djordjevic said that by offering a remote-first program, they will be able to recruit talent from across the United States and abroad to create a diverse and inclusive virtual workplace — with employees working in the same communities as the customers and craftsmen live serving.
Thumbtackers have the freedom to choose where to live and work. This model allows employees to have a higher quality of life while pursuing their professional ambitions. On the other hand, if the company had implemented a hybrid model, there would be proximity concerns and people would feel left out of the conversation since they are out of the office and only seen on video.
The homeowner tech app has taken over a “library”-style office space in San Francisco that’s being rolled out in other cities. The library is an “un-office” that aims to complement and enhance the virtual-first culture. The bespoke space has been adapted for socializing, face-to-face connections and virtual work. It primarily mimics a college library where you can get your work done without a lot of background noise and interference.
These new workspaces will not be old-school traditional offices. Instead, they serve as individual workspaces with the flexibility to attend meetings and a way to take a break from home. The company plans pushpin libraries in San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Manila, Toronto and other cities. As the company launches new locations, the intriguing concept offers two unique functions, one to host larger gatherings and socialize and the other dedicated to day-to-day independent work.
Thumbtack plans to create high-quality, in-person events to bring people together. The company introduces Camp Thumbtack. The mission is to create personal connections to foster a deeper sense of connection, build relationships, provide career opportunities, and most importantly, have fun at events that take place outside of an office environment.
Thumbtack regularly brings teams together for events and offsites. These gatherings focus on team-wide or project-specific meetings such as design sprints, product kickoffs, leadership team development, and strategic planning. Most team members will attend two to four times a year, and leaders meet more frequently.
They also meet annually for Camp Thumbtack. Days at Camp Thumbtack will be filled with meeting new friends and seeing old ones. Some of the events include a company-wide scavenger hunt, activities centered around common interests such as cooking classes and trivia, employee resource groups meeting in person and attending external keynote speakers and panel discussions, and discussions on kickoffs and product launches.
The goal is for everyone to leave camp with a stronger sense of community, belonging, deeper relationships and personal growth.