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The Pass the Mic series is where we pick the brains of the most forward-thinking culturemakers we know. Leaders and managers are navigating big changes these days. So, we wanted to help them get a peek behind the scenes at the companies that are making huge strides in remote and hybrid work culture. In the latest installment, we caught up with superstar Irene Lee, Workplace Operation Manager at OmniSci. Read on to hear about the company’s thoughtful approach to their new (and permanent!) Work From Anywhere policy.  

What are your post-shutdown plans for employees? How did you come to this decision?

Our team was already 50% remote, and we had a great WFH policy for all the local folks. So when COVID hit, moving to 100% ended up being quite smooth. After a few months of testing it out, we sent out an employee survey to get a pulse check on what our employees felt about this new change. We had an enormous amount of positive feedback and decided to permanently adopt this WFA (Work From Anywhere) policy. We value our people’s time and understand that stability is key. We didn’t and still don’t know how long this pandemic will last, so making the least disruptive policy to our team was our number one priority.

How are you helping your colleagues make the transition?

Along with the WFA policy, we started providing stipends to help with phone, internet, and workstations setup. We created new initiatives such as No Meeting Wednesday to help fight Zoom fatigue, expanded our gym reimbursement to cover home equipment, and lastly moved our team to a flexible PTO plan with mandatory reset days every quarter to prevent burnout.

How will you continue building a strong company culture in this new model of working?

We plan to have an annual company kick-off where we can meet as a whole to collaborate. We will also have virtual events that allow full inclusion of our team members from all over the world to join.

What advice do you have for companies making similar transitions?

Survey your team and really consider what their thoughts are on making your company a great place to work. At the end of the day, you can’t build a culture without the people in your company.

What have you done to maintain connection amongst the team while working remotely?

Virtual events have definitely become a staple at our company. We strive to host quarterly events at the company level and monthly events at the team level. This way, you have a great mix amongst direct and cross-functional teams.

COVID dramatically changed the way we live, work, and interact. What learnings or new habits will stick with you?

Having a day out of the week without internal meetings. This helped tremendously because, during COVID, it was just back-to-back Zoom meetings. People lost sight of break times and or time to catch up on emails and work. Being given a day back during the week to focus on work and not being pulled into a meeting was refreshing and relaxing, to be honest—definitely a keeper in my book.

A big thank you to Irene! If you’re looking for ways to incorporate virtual events into your company’s culture, let’s talk! You can reach us at events@boombox.events.


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