Things to consider when going hybrid

Like many other companies, Funday went fully remote during the lockdown caused by Covid-19. When the pandemic hit, we were forced to move our game development processes from the cozy offices in the middle of Aarhus to people’s private homes - and boy oh boy were we curious (OK, anxious) to see how that would turn out. Would we be able to be just as effective and productive? What would it do to our culture? Would our teamwork suffer and what consequences would that entail?

The worries we had were real - and it wasn’t all a walk in the park transforming our company to new ways of working, but during almost two years of remote work, we learned how to bring together the best of two worlds: The teamwork and culture that come with having an office and the flexibility that comes from the ability to work from home.

When Covid no longer posed the same threat to our society, it was time for us to evaluate how to tackle our new remote normal. Based on our experience from the lockdown, we knew that we could manage working from home and still produce great games - and coupled with an increasing expectation for organizations in general to offer remote work resulted in the decision that Funday Factory should become a hybrid workplace.

Decisions that influence both concrete and proven workflows as well as the culture and values that shape us should not be taken lightly. There were many thoughts and considerations before we turned Funday into a hybrid workplace. Throughout the process, the most important things we kept in mind were the ambition to create an attractive organization that appeals to modern-day colleagues and a healthy and sustainable business that still manages to make games of world-class quality.

“We want to be a modern workplace that pushes the limits of what a workplace could and should be in 2022”

Nina Kelstrup, Partner & Chief People Officer, Funday Factory

The big how and why?

Once the decision on a hybrid workplace had been made, the next step was to figure out what the setup should look like and how to implement it.

Questions like: How many days should each employee work at the office and from home? Should it be obligatory or not? Should we still have company wide office days? Or should the teams and individuals just decide for themselves? These were just some of the questions that were asked to establish the most sustainable hybrid workplace that would suit Funday the most. We also had to keep in mind that everybody's needs are different. We were - and are - fully aware that some people would love to work fully remotely while others prefer to work from the office every day. Therefore, we decided on a hybrid structure where all employees are at the office two days a week and then have the opportunity to work remotely three days a week. By using this hybrid work structure, we have experienced a bunch of positive outcomes. Some of them are that we can give our colleagues the flexibility they need in terms of logistics on the home front, undisturbed working hours and no transport time, which have raised the job satisfaction and motivation of many and made it possible for us to become an even stronger workplace for both new and existing colleagues.

 

“At Funday, we have experienced a strengthened employer brand, higher motivation, and productivity among colleagues, and made ourselves ready to handle and work together with 100% remote colleagues.”

Sabine Wilki, People & Culture Coordinator, Funday Factory

The social aspect

Funday is still a social organization at its core, and it’s still important for us that the people who work at Funday have a great time together doing what they love - making awesome games. We still keep several of our office traditions alive to ensure a strong sense of togetherness on and across our teams and to make our set of values live and thrive. We still have our weekly Monday Show n Tells where each team gives a presentation to the rest of their colleagues as to what they have worked on during the last week, shows cool new features from their games, and shares other news about the projects. We still have our monthly Townhalls where the Funday management team gives an overview of what’s new about the organization, how it's going with the finances, which projects are in the pipeline and how it's going with the well-being at Funday. And then we have the two office days where teams sit together at the office so they can chat with their teammates, have lunch together, and talk by the coffee machine. 

In addition to work-related team and organization events, we make sure to arrange plenty of social activities throughout the year, where we try to embrace the various requests for social events - such as cinema trips, Warhammer nights, game nights, running clubs, Christmas lunches, festivals, Friday bars and other more or less serious features such as professional talks/presentations, first aid courses and fairs/conferences to strengthen networks and seek new inspiration.

But... It's not just fun and games

It may sound like we found the perfect recipe for how to combine working onsite and from home - but that is not the case. Our culture has changed. People do not feel the same bond to the other teams as before. Some colleagues truly miss more whiteboard sessions with post-its and IRL laughs. Others find it hard to see the value of using the office when they could work from home without distractions and skip all commute. So there is still work to be done. We will continue to work on finding the best possible ways and compromises - and with changing technical, societal and personal norms, that will be a constant for us. We know that we will never satisfy 100% of everyone’s needs, but we will do our utmost to make as many of our colleagues as happy as possible while creating epic games.

Things to consider if you or your organization are thinking about going hybrid:

As mentioned before, we had several thoughts and concerns about going hybrid. Now that we have been a hybrid organization for a while, we have gathered some experience and boiled it down to six main points we believe are the most important ones for an organization to consider before, and during, the transition to a hybrid work model:  

  1. Look at your values, your business, your future and your goals of your organization - is hybrid even a good idea? Is it feasible and doable? Will it get you closer to your vision of the company or further from it? Have the talks. Do the old fashion list of pros and cons and make sure it’s thought through. Sure, you’ll always be able to change things back, but once you give people flexibility, it can be hard to take it back. 
  2. Be clear to everyone in the organization about why the setup is changing - tell them what the advantages and disadvantages are, and be transparent about the fact that no setup will fit everybody 100%.
  3. In extension to that - be aware that not everyone will be satisfied. Lower the level of ambition about satisfaction - some would like everyone to be in the office every day, while others would prefer to be at home all week. A hybrid organization is a compromise between many factors, where the life of the individual colleague, the organization, and the business must all be catered for.
  4. Make sure your technical setup is geared for a hybrid work environment. Not rocket science, but really important though. 
  5. Make sure to involve the employees both before, during, and after - carry out surveys to check that the presumed positive (and negative) outcomes are in line with reality so that adjustments can be made if the need appears.
  6. Take good care of the culture - make sure you stick to what makes your organization unique and attractive and ensure that there are still activities, traditions, and ways of doing things that manifest that the core of the organization remains the same, even if people work more from home.

 

Published: November, 14th, 2022