Grover’s office has reopened…but returning is fully optional 

 

On Monday, May 4th, Grover began reintroducing its 120-strong team to the office after 7 weeks of fully remote work. We were among the first companies in Berlin to reopen their office after the German government started lifting restrictions. Now that we have a successful month of this new work reality behind us, we’re starting to think how this experience will guide our future.

 

For the first month, team members who came into the office were asked to rotate their time on a schedule to control capacity and minimize cross-organizational contact risk. A new, rigorous cleaning schedule was put in place to ensure that the office space is as healthy as possible. We also changed certain aspects of the office’s design to minimize the formation of clusters of people. Of course, we observed correct social distancing at all times. 

 

This all happened under one, very important new circumstance: We left it up to each team member to decide individually whether or not he or she wants to return to the office…and, if so, on what kind of routine. 

 

Our office is now an option rather than a requirement. We’re treating it like a clubhouse, where we can come together to connect: it’s a reflection of Grover’s vibrant and productive working culture, not the source of it.

 

The decision to reopen our office in this new, semi-remote fashion is a core part of our organizational strategy, post-COVID-19. It’s about fundamentally changing the way we work in the long-term. Instead of adhering to an outdated idea of the office being the only place where meaningful work can be done, the semi-remote policy gives our employees maximum flexibility to mix-and-match working from home and in the office, depending on their individual needs.

 

“The future of work means putting people in a position where they’re able to maximize their energy. As daunting as it may be to commute to the office every day just to check in and work on your computer, it can be equally straining to be stuck at home and never connect with your colleagues face-to-face. At Grover, we want to maximize our team’s energy by bringing together the best of both worlds. We believe that the future of the workplace is a non-compulsory rallying point for people to connect, rather than a mandatory place seen as the only location from which to get work done,” says Michael Cassau, CEO & Founder. 

 

To support our transition to this semi-remote system, we have ramped up our internal communication systems, and a new company Work and Communications guide has been created for employees. We’re also testing different team-event and -socializing formats to help our team members stay engaged with the company community. 

 

“We have a situation where we need to plan around highly variable team and work experiences. Some team members may rarely see their coworkers face-to-face, and others will interact in-person with only a specific group of colleagues. Ensuring clear communication, well-functioning employee growth and development schemes – as well as genuine team bonding – is a challenge that will require an ever-evolving set of solutions,” says Lauren Hoehlein Joseph, VP People.

 

Our main priority going forward is to maintain a positive and well-functioning working culture in a semi-remote environment. We’re now working on making the Grover clubhouse the best it possibly can be.