Over the past two years, many companies have had to make tough choices about how to run their business. Some companies prioritized in-person connections, mandating that employees return to the office as soon as it was safe to do so. Other organizations tried to offer the best of both worlds, keeping office space available while allowing staff to work from home some or most of the time.
At SimplyPHP, we've thought long and hard about this for years. Initially, we opted for a hybrid approach, keeping our Montreal office available to any staff who wanted to come in.
However, it was clear that while our hybrid model was working for some people, it was proving to be more of a headache than we could have imagined. While only 16% of companies are entirely remote, we believe this approach is the best possible fit for our company in the long term.
We feel that the way that we approach remote work is an excellent reflection of who we've become.
SimplyPHP has always been focused on the developer and their needs. This ensures the best possible environment for our teams, allowing them to focus all their efforts on serving clients.
When we worked from an office, we prioritized offering a space that would make developers feel at home. However, once the pandemic hit and the world changed, we realized that continuing to prioritize developers would make our work life look a little different.
Here's what we did.
Initially, we offered our staff the opportunity to work from our Montreal HQ whenever they wanted. This led to unavoidable situations where people would come in only to find themselves in the office alone. It didn't make for a very positive work experience.
Soon, we made the choice to sell our office and transition to fully remote work.
Instead of tying our staff to one geographic area, we opted to focus on talent rather than location in our hiring. Being fully remote allowed our team to move wherever they wanted within Canada, and allowed us to hire talented staff whose locations would have made them inaccessible to us years earlier.
Regardless of whether we're working in-office or remotely, we have always prioritized our centre of excellence model. This approach puts developers at the centre of all of our processes and builds a framework around them that offers dedicated support, resources, and management on their terms.
When we switched to remote work, we worked diligently to ensure that our centre of excellence approach would continue to work as it had while we were in the office. This includes regular check-ins for teams with their project manager, strong peer support, and secure, failproof resource backups.
One of the things we valued most about being in the office together were the ample opportunities to socialize on breaks or simply lean over and ask a colleague for their input on a problem.
When we went remote, we continued to prioritize these social connections through virtual watercooler chats (LINK to Watercooler chats article). These allowed our staff to get to know colleagues they hadn't worked with yet, and maybe hadn't even met in person!
Have a question about how we approach development, or want to learn more about our developer-first culture? Reach out to us on our website, or explore some of the videos in our podcast series, SimplyPHP Unscripted.