Leading a People Operations team over the past 18 months has been the kind of steep learning curve that no one could prepare for. My team has had to react quickly, communicate clearly when things were unclear, and try to keep everyone supported and productive throughout an incredibly turbulent time. Like most companies who were able, Ometria has worked fully remotely due to the Covid pandemic. The shift has worked well for Ometrians and for the business; we’ve adjusted how we worked together and emerged stronger than before.
As VP of People Operations at Ometria, I’m extremely proud of how we have responded to the challenges posed, and as the world opens up again it’s time once more for us to adapt again, but that doesn’t necessarily mean going back to old ways of working. We wanted to make sure that we took a considered and thoughtful approach to what working at Ometria would look like post-pandemic. We wanted to make decisions that reflected who we are and what we care about, rather than simply following what others might or might not be doing.
Throughout the pandemic, the People Team has regularly taken feedback from Ometrians at all levels. It’s clear that remote working has been a hit, with a lot of team members feeling greater levels of trust and better work-life balance. Ometrians have also told us that they’d like the flexibility to choose the days they spend in the office, according to workload, and that many would prefer to use the office for face-to-face collaborative work and socialising, saving deep work for home.
After carefully considering all the feedback, Ometria has chosen a new way forward and starts Q4 2020 as a Remote Flexible company.
We’ve chosen this name for the way that we work to define our working practices on our terms. Hybrid working means different things to different people and companies, and Remote Flexible allows us to reflect the Ometrian experience.
While working remotely has been a success, we’ve missed spending time in person to build relationships, share ideas and learn from each other. With Remote Flexible, we want to give Ometrians the freedom to choose where they work the majority of the time but still facilitate regular face-to-face working.
Apart from a few Ometrians with office-based roles, no employees have been asked to work more than 2 days a week in the office on a regular basis – the majority of teams opting to come together once a month.
Office attendance requirements are determined team-by-team and there must be a clear goal to onsite working together, for example using the time for team building, knowledge-sharing, training, workshops and planning.
The rest of the time Ometrians may choose to work from home or the office, whichever suits them best.
Yes, although we’ve made a few changes.
With the shift to increased home working, we’ve opted to decrease our office occupation. In June 2021 we left our old home in the Tea Building in Shoreditch –while that huge office was everything we needed in 2019/2020, we just weren’t doing it justice and the majority of the space was sitting empty and gathering dust.
In addition to our offices in Southampton and New York, we have now opened a new London HQ in Uncommon, Liverpool Street. The space is specially configured to cater to different sizes of teams and a variety of activities and we’re looking forward to testing, experimenting and iterating our workspace offering.
Yes, sort of! In our research, we received clear feedback that Ometrians wanted the flexibility to travel and work. After testing it out, we recently introduced a policy that allows Ometrians to work abroad up to 3 months a year (subject to the terms of our International Working Policy.)
Yes! We know that many of our team have missed the opportunity to spend time together in person and get to know their fellow Ometrians off-camera, and one of our key goals is to facilitate the development of relationships and connection.
In addition to scheduled team meetings, we will occasionally ask Ometrians to attend whole-team or cross-team meetings, and on top of these meetings there will be a range of optional events
We also see the role of the Workspaces Team shifting to be less focused on physical office management and much more focused on creating events and curating interactions. This will range from planning the calendar and ensuring that varied teams overlap and interact in the office, to large-scale multi-day offsites (working title: Ometrifest ‘22!). On top of this, we aim to restart our calendar of social events soon to keep the team mingling and motivated.
While we’re confident that Remote Flexible is the way forward, we know for sure that we won’t get it all right first time!
We are using the next 12 months as a trial period in which we’ll experiment and iterate. Ometrians will be asked for feedback and opinions regularly, and we’ll be leaving a channel open so team members can submit views and ideas as we go.
Ometria is hiring! Check out our open roles here