The Future of Work Is Hybrid

What does a return to the office look like for three Austin tech teams? Built In breaks it down.
Written by Robert Schaulis
June 16, 2022Updated: June 16, 2022

Over the last two years, the number of companies employing a remote workforce has skyrocketed. And while it took a public health crisis for many workplaces to begrudgingly adopt remote work, the practice has largely proven advantageous. Employers and employees alike have reported increased productivity, job satisfaction and retention and decreased office expenses. In many respects, It seems idyllic. 

But remote work can have its drawbacks, and some tasks — those that require in-person collaboration or specialized equipment, for example — can’t be flawlessly recreated virtually. 

In these cases, a hybrid model may combine the best parts of in-person and remote work. 

“A hybrid model offers us the best of both worlds.” said Organizational Development Specialist Toni French. At Reibus International, French and her team have seen hybrid work improve both their quality of work and their quality of lives.

Like French, Erin Pohl, Invicti’s vice president of revenue marketing, described an almost paradoxical reward of remote work; scant time collaborating in person has forced teams to maximize the efficacy and the openness with which their members communicate. 

“Because we could no longer simply stroll across the office for a chat, we learned to become more open and communicative,” Pohl said. 

Read on for more on the benefits of a hybrid workplace at three hiring companies in the Austin area. 

 

Erin Pohl
VP of Revenue Marketing

 

Invicti is a web app security company that services more than 3,500 organizations throughout the world. 

 

Briefly describe Invicti’s hybrid model.

Like many others in the IT industry, my colleagues and I have had to adjust to the new normal of remote and hybrid work these past few years. Luckily, Invicti made that transition a breeze. We have the autonomy to work in a way that fits our personal needs so that we can maintain a healthy work-life balance, which means in-office meetings are voluntary for most teams. We’re also encouraged to designate time for self-improvement and productivity.

Remote work can be tough, especially for global organizations, so our company kicked off Invicti Thrive last year, an internal program to break down communication barriers. Invicti has provided a forum where we can connect on a more personal level, even when we can’t see everyone’s faces in person each day. As a working mom on a cross-functional global marketing team, open communication is critical to ensuring I can maintain a work-life balance and be effective in my role. It also encourages our team to have flexibility within their day to prioritize work while managing personal needs as they come up.

We have the autonomy to work in a way that fits our personal needs.

 

When did your employer implement its hybrid work policy? What impact has this shift had on the way you and your teammates work?

We’re a global company, so we already had a foundation in place prior to the full transition to the remote model we adopted during the pandemic. But we still needed to adapt, especially with many of us adjusting to taking care of children while also working from home. It forced us to better understand how we operate and how we’re using our collective time. 

Because we could no longer simply stroll across the office for a chat, we learned to become more open and communicative. Moving to a remote work model meant streamlining our meetings, reducing siloed teams and eliminating barriers to creativity and innovation. Now that we’ve adopted new tools and processes, we’re continuing to learn the best ways to collaborate on campaigns and initiatives virtually as some of us move back to the office and others stay remote.

 

For someone in your personal and professional circumstances, what are the main advantages you’ve experienced under a hybrid work model?

Balancing the roles of caregiver and marketing leader is no easy task. Suddenly during the pandemic, Zoom meetings included children, pets, spouses and sometimes even delivery drivers. Patience and understanding have gone a long way in the hybrid work model; nobody complains because they’ve been there too. And it’s refreshing to see the human side of your colleagues now and then and build more open and honest work relationships. 

One of the biggest benefits I’ve experienced is increased work-life balance. It’s nice to have an office to go to when you need strategy sessions with your colleagues or when you know things will be hectic at home. I find that I am most productive in the evenings, so knowing that I don’t have to follow a strict 9-to-5 schedule is extremely refreshing. I can be there when my kids need me for school pickup and drop-off and work when I have the most freedom in my day. When you have the opportunity to establish your schedule with flexibility, and the people above and around you trust you with autonomy, you can focus more on the meaning behind what you do.

 

 

Noel Menard
Software Systems Engineer

 

John Deere is a manufacturer and provider of machinery, technology and services for the agricultural, construction and forestry industries. 

 

Briefly describe John Deere’s hybrid model.

I can only speak from my own experiences because it varies throughout the organization. My group is pretty flexible. We are able to create our own schedule. A couple of days in the office and a couple of days at home or the farm each week is typical. More people have been coming into the office as things have started to open back up, which has been nice for face-to-face meetings and relationship building.

 

When did your employer implement its hybrid work policy? What impact has this shift had on the way you and your teammates work?

The pandemic really brought on hybrid work – for me anyway. When it started I was in testing. We would go into the office to run our tests and work from home to write the reports and documentation, so some people have been doing it longer than others. 

It has really picked up since the pandemic restrictions have been lifted. I think hybrid work has helped the team be more productive and has led to a lot more work-life balance. It’s also been super nice to be able to swing by people’s desks to ask quick questions instead of having to always schedule meetings.

I think hybrid work has helped the team be more productive and has led to a lot more work-life balance.

 

For someone in your personal and professional circumstances, what are the main advantages you’ve experienced under a hybrid work model?

A hybrid work model has been great for flexibility. If I need quiet time or have a bunch of meetings, it’s nice to work from home where it’s quiet. Going into the office has been great for meeting co-workers and developing relationships with teammates. As someone who is fairly new to the team I’m on, it’s been great meeting people face-to-face. There’s something to be said about the power of a handshake and body language in a conversation that often gets missed in virtual meetings.

 

 

Toni French
Organizational Development Specialist

 

Offering end-to-end services including logistics and financing, Reibus International operates an independent SaaS-enabled marketplace for buying and selling steel and other metals.

 

Briefly describe Reibus International’s hybrid model.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to our hybrid model. In our handbook the rules are simple: “Be an adult.” Expectations vary depending on your role, experience and team structure. I live in Louisville and have been into our office four times in the last seven months. One of those was for the best Christmas party ever. 

Most of my team members go in two or three days a week because that’s their preference. Reibus wants you to work where you are most motivated and do your best.

The shift has helped our team be more intentional when we meet and to prioritize what needs to be prioritized.

 

When did your employer implement its hybrid work policy? What impact has this shift had on the way you and your teammates work?

Our hybrid work policy was rolled out during the pandemic when companies were returning to their offices. Leadership saw that we’d grown five-fold – while working mostly from home – and also understood how beneficial collaboration was for teams when they were in the same office sharing ideas. 

A hybrid model offers us the best of both worlds. And the shift has helped our team be more intentional when we meet and to prioritize what needs to be prioritized.

 

For someone in your personal and professional circumstances, what are the main advantages you’ve experienced under a hybrid work model?

My circumstances have changed during my time at Reibus. Personally, I married and moved from Atlanta to Louisville to be with my partner. Reibus worked with me to establish a quarterly office visit based on my schedule and our company calendar. 

In my previous role I worked from home mostly, which was great for demos and customer calls. Now that I’ve changed roles there’s a need for me to be in the office more to gain experience, and I want to be around our people to help everyone extract their greatest potential out of their Reibus experience. Reibus has been incredible about helping me get up to speed in my new role remotely. The company is open to certification programs and bringing me into the office on an as-needed basis, which allows me to have an awesome work-life balance.

 

 

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