I’ve attempted to explain why: that the success of our business depends almost wholly on having the best talent. That the best talent implies the most diverse talent—to produce optimally effective content, content creators need to be as diverse as the audiences they serve—and that remote roles attract, and retain, many talents who’ve found traditional offices to be inhospitable in various ways.
The beauty of business, like sports, is that you don’t have to guess if something’s working. There’s a scoreboard, and our results look good: between 2017 (when I bought the company from our founder Marty Steyer) and last year, we’ve more than doubled our revenues. Even more importantly from a risk management standpoint, during that same stretch: we’ve expanded geographically; we’ve diversified our client base; and we’ve converted a large chunk of our contracting (T&M) work into managed, or inhouse, work—a structure that is, in our view, more of a win-win-win for our clients, our talent, and Steyer.
But all that said, I’m pretty sure my posts about remote work have changed exactly zero minds. ::exhausted laughter:: I’ve engaged with a lot of people on this (on Facebook, on LinkedIn, and privately) and here’s my take: RTO purists still want everyone back in the office as much as possible. Remote purists still think RTO purists are underestimating the long-term costs of their mandates. And most people believe that hybrid—either at the individual level or (my emerging preference, see point #10) at the workforce level—is the way to go.
So, what now? Three things:
1. I’m going to follow my own advice (see point #8 here) and turn from debating to designing. Every workplace is an imperfect work in progress, and I’m excited to use some of the ideas generated by this series to improve Steyer. For example, the other day, our astute COO Katelyn Reilly cut through a lot of distracting noise by saying, “The real key (to building relationships and growing professionally) is time spent together.” The implication being that all sorts of modes can make that happen: voice calls, video chats, and in-person meetups. And securing that investment, from every person on the team on a regular basis—an investment both of time and of focused energy—should be the primary task at hand.
2. For those who are not yet ready to leave this topic: I got too many long and heartfelt messages to be able to include them all, so I’m going to confine my sharing to two short critiques of the Business Insider article that a number of us read as part of thinking about RTO. Please consider Alex and Jen’s comments more food for thought and a (no doubt welcome!) chance to hear from people who are Not Me. If you would like to see the comments you wrote up in lights, please consider sharing them in the LinkedIn discussion associated with this post.
3. As you all (employers and employees alike) choose the adventure that works best for you, please stay in touch. Relentless Pollyanna that I am, I think we can all borrow from one another as we figure out new things.
Thanks for reading,