Sowmya Sankaran / Reading Time: 6 mins
In the constantly evolving world of business, the way we work has seen some monumental shifts, especially in recent times. One topic that's on the minds of many is the move to remote work. The transition, as embraced by many, is both intriguing and challenging. One such company that has journeyed through this shift is inFeedo. Let's dive deep into their experience, how they tackled challenges, and the benefits they reaped.
Remote work, despite its growing prevalence, is riddled with misconceptions. For many, the notion of working away from the office conjures up images of decreased productivity, collaboration challenges, and blurring work-life boundaries. The interaction with Shilpi on inFeedo's journey, however, debunks these misconceptions, presenting a more nuanced understanding of what remote work can truly entail when approached with the right mindset and strategies.
inFeedo encountered a range of challenges while transitioning to remote work but effortlessly addressed them to reap a host of benefits. Here's an overview.
1. Employee Buy-In: While the internal poll indicated a majority's inclination towards remote work, there was still a percentage uncertain about the shift. By being transparent about their vision and ensuring every employee was clear on the company's direction towards 100% remote work.
2. Changing Employee Sentiments: Over time, some employees who initially enjoyed remote work started feeling it was monotonous. inFeedo adapted to this feedback by introducing co-working spaces, ensuring that those craving a change from the home environment had a suitable alternative.
3. Maintaining Transparency: The switch to remote work made it essential to maintain transparency to ensure everyone felt included and informed. The leadership team and people's success team made it a point to share the company's vision and direction, ensuring everyone was aligned and clear on their roles and expectations.
4. Navigating Group Dynamics Remotely: Building team cohesion can be challenging when everyone is dispersed. They focused on understanding the diverse needs of their employees, realizing that solutions like co-working spaces might be essential for certain cohorts, like extroverts, to thrive.
Here are the benefits:
1. Tailored Work Environment: inFeedo empowered its employees to design their optimal workspaces by embracing remote work, leading to enhanced comfort and, often, productivity.
2. Scalability : The remote model allowed inFeedo to triple their headcount, showcasing the scalability of remote work without the constraints of physical office space.
3. Attracting Diverse Talent: Being 100% remote expanded inFeedo's hiring horizons. They weren't geographically restricted, allowing them to bring in diverse talent from various locations.
4. Feedback-Driven Evolution: The continuous feedback loop inFeedo maintained with its employees allowed for real-time adjustments, ensuring the remote work model was always aligned with employees' needs and preferences.
5. Enhanced Employee Autonomy: With the remote model, employees had the flexibility to design their work schedules, leading to a better work-life balance and increased job satisfaction.
inFeedo's journey to remote work showcases how a thoughtful approach, combined with feedback-driven strategies, can turn challenges into opportunities, reaping the manifold benefits of a remote model.
In today's fast-paced work environment, ensuring productivity and gauging performance becomes paramount, especially when the conventional office structure dissolves. The conversation with Shilpi highlighted that inFeedo's approach to this was both innovative and targeted.
Amber as a productivity gauge
One of the noteworthy innovations by inFeedo is the introduction of Amber, a digital assistant. Amber is an embodiment of the company's commitment to employee well-being and performance. Through regular check-ins, Amber understands the employees' sentiments, aiding the management in timely interventions if an employee is not feeling valued or is facing challenges.
inFeedo places a significant emphasis on performance metrics, but not in the traditional sense. The metrics aren't just about measuring output but are intricately linked to the employee's well-being and satisfaction. It's an acknowledgment that a happy employee is a productive one.
Performance Review System
inFeedo utilizes a performance rating system. Employees exceeding expectations receive a rating of 4 or 5, with top performers being called "belt holders." The percentage of belt holders increased considerably after the company transitioned to remote work, indicating higher performance levels overall. They function as a repository of insights and best practices, allowing team members to approach them when faced with challenges in those particular domains. inFeedo ensures that even in a remote setup, no employee feels stranded or devoid of resources by decentralizing knowledge in this manner.
inFeedo conducts a three-day training where they are made familiar with the product, its features, how it's used, and the benefits it offers. Apart from product training, there are cultural induction sessions to make them understand the company culture, values, and mission.
Furthermore, in the first week itself, new hires are encouraged to set up informal coffee chats with members from various teams. This not only helps them to understand the workflow of different departments but also gives them an opportunity to network and get to know their colleagues on a personal level. Shilpi states, "We believe that these small interactions go a long way in making them feel a part of the family from the very start."
Feedback is another crucial component of the onboarding process. Every new hire is asked to provide feedback on their onboarding experience. This helps inFeedo in understanding what went well and where there are gaps. Continuous feedback loops have allowed the brand to refine and enhance the process over time.
Also, inFeedo hosts monthly new hire meet-ups where they can share their experiences, challenges, and learnings. This is a platform for them to voice any concerns or questions they might have. These sessions have proved to be very beneficial not just for the new hires but also for the management as they provide insights into potential areas of improvement.
The aim of the onboarding process is to make the transition as smooth as possible for the new hires.
Group dynamics play a crucial role in the success of any company, more so when teams are dispersed. At inFeedo, employees didn't just voice concerns about work but also shared feelings of monotony or the need for a change in environment. The solution wasn't one-size-fits-all. For instance, the introduction of coworking spaces catered to certain cohorts, ensuring that team dynamics were always nurtured.
Meetings and collaborations form the backbone of any organization's functioning. At inFeedo, the focus was on an open mindset, an approach where leaders and teams recognize that answers aren't always apparent from the start. Shilpi strongly stresses the way the open mindset has enhanced productivity and employee satisfaction. Solutions come with time, experimentation, and collaboration.
Asynchronous communication is something that inFeedo has heavily banked on. Shilpi states to Shyam, "We understand that not everyone will be available at all times, especially with different time zones and working hours. So, we heavily rely on tools like Slack, Trello, and Notion where tasks, updates, and discussions can happen asynchronously. People can catch up on the conversation when they're available and continue from there."
inFeedo also has weekly sync-up meetings. While the company doesn't want to promote meeting fatigue, it believes that certain check-ins are necessary to keep everyone aligned. So, every team has its weekly sync-up where they discuss the past week's tasks, upcoming tasks, and any challenges. There's also a monthly all-hands meeting where every department shares their updates, so everyone is aware of what's happening across the company.
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Embracing remote work is an ongoing journey, not a destination. As we've seen with inFeedo, it requires adaptability, an open mindset, and a commitment to transparency and collaboration. Every company will face its unique set of challenges, but with the right approach and the willingness to learn and evolve, success is achievable. Just as inFeedo has shown, with experimentation and the right intent, any challenge can be turned into an opportunity. The onus is on leaders and team members to embrace change, adapt, and flourish.