How to drive talent engagement in a hybrid work environment

February 10, 2023

Tough times often breed innovation and creativity, as evidenced by the numerous companies founded during the COVID-19 pandemic that filled new market gaps. To just name one, Workwize, which has experienced explosive growth as remote work has become more prevalent.

This brings us to our guest this month xCollective, Victor Dik, the CCO and Co-founder of Workwize. The company offers fast-growing organisations, a platform to facilitate the onboarding and offboarding of employees and provide them with remote office and configured IT supplies compliant with their personal budget – be it for a remote office or a company workstation. 

Founding a company during a pandemic, it shows anything is possible

Victor's journey with Workwize began over dinner with Michiel Meyer, the CEO and co-founder of the company. “We were talking about how great it was that we didn’t have to commute to work every day and were able to work from home. It felt like we had more freedom and flexibility.” And thus, the concept for a one-stop platform for all remote work needs was born. “Because there’s quite a problem around facilitating hybrid work, as we were all working at our kitchen table.” Victor shares.

The challenge for companies lies in the operational difficulties of managing remote teams and suppliers who are not equipped to serve multiple offices instead of just one. Besides that, Victor explains, “An HR manager, all of a sudden, had two or more jobs. They needed to know everything about what’s need to work from home, set up the approval flow with finance and administrate who was working where. And if that’s not enough, they need to take care of the IT equipment or align with the IT department, which can be a challenge, especially with a distributed workforce. All decentralized.” Understandable that with their solution, Workwize is filling a gap in the market. By providing a platform on which you can deploy, manage and retrieve remote office equipment all integrated with existing systems.

Bounce back after Covid-19, and striking a balance

In the past there was only one operating model, everybody worked just from the office. Covid-19 naturally catapulted the adoption of remote work, post Covid-19 we see a bit of a balance taking place. According to our recent salary benchmark report, 20% of early-stage scale-ups in the Netherlands prefer an office-first policy, with only 2% operating fully remote. This trend indicates a shift back towards office-based work after Covid-19, especially among early-stage companies, which aligns with Victor's observations.

“We see this especially with companies below 50 FTE, the fast scaling companies from above 200 FTE mostly have a hybrid work model. There’s no one size fits all, and it’s important to look at what your company needs at the moment. For example, early stage companies that are growing rather fast, benefit from working together. But if you used to work remote, have clear alignment with each other, by for example a centralized system, it’s easier to work remote.” It’s critical to understand your needs as a company and that of your employees, to determine what the best operating model for your company is. And also keep an open mind in how this may evolve over time.

But how to make remote work a success?

Implementing a remote work policy can be challenging, especially when it comes to ensuring the success of such a policy. But what should be considered when implementing a remote work policy, whether it be fully remote or a hybrid approach?

  1. Set up a solid tech stack

Designing your tech stack is a crucial step for your remote organization. It forms the foundation of your operations, and it’s important to get it right from the beginning. A well-designed tech stack can help your organization to run smoothly and efficiently, ensuring improved security and scalability for future growth. Keep in mind key factors such as scalability, integration, cost-effectiveness, security, and reliability. Choose technologies that can handle growth in usage and data, easily integrate with each other, are cost-effective, provide strong security measures, and have a reliable support system.

To support your employees and keep them informed, consider setting up a knowledge centre where they can access information and find answers to common questions. This will help to streamline their work and ensure that they have the tools they need to succeed.

  1. Set up a good onboarding strategy

For any company, a good onboarding is crucial, and even more essential in a remote workforce. A lot of people who start working in a hybrid or remote environment often struggle with feeling connected to the company. Unfortunately, this lack of engagement can lead to high turnover, wasting valuable time and resources for both the employee and the company.

So overall, a good onboarding strategy is key to building a strong, engaged, and productive remote team. By investing in onboarding, companies can set new hires up for 

success, build a positive work culture, and create a foundation for sustainable growth. 

  1. Keeping the culture alive

In a remote workforce, it can be challenging to connect with everyone in the organisation. The lack of face-to-face interaction makes it easier for people to hide their emotions online. However, for a remote workforce to be successful, it's essential to have a strong and transparent culture. This culture should empower all employees to feel comfortable sharing their feelings, build trust, and foster a sense of belonging.

Victor adds that most remote companies that he speaks to try to keep the culture alive by “Bringing everyone together for a two-day meeting once every three months to discuss the strategy is a positive step forward. This in-person interaction is crucial for maintaining strong relationships and keeping everyone on the same page.”

  1. Continuously evaluate your policy

Many companies make the mistake of quickly implementing a remote work policy without fully evaluating its impact. It's important to first consider the needs of both the company and its employees. Different individuals may have varying preferences, so it's essential to establish guidelines that take these differences into account. Regular review and iteration of the policy should be performed to ensure it evolves with the company and meets the changing needs of both the organization and its employees. “The possibility of remote work always exists, whether you are a small or big company. The extent of its implementation can vary depending on the stage of the company's development. During the initial stages, when the focus is on collaboration among a small group and close contact on a daily basis with multiple people is needed e.g. the founders, it is common to have a shared workspace, to work hybrid, or some people will be even in the office almost each day. However, as the company expands and employees concentrate on individual tasks, a hybrid or fully remote setup will probably be the most common and suitable working model for your employees' needs.” Victor adds.

Upcoming years

It's evident that remote work, in its various forms such as hybrid and fully remote, is a permanent model in the future of work. The driving force behind Victor's ambitious aspirations for Workwize.

“First, we want to become the leading provider in Europe. Similar to how HubSpot and Salesforce are known for CRM systems, we aim to be recognized as the go-to company for remote work needs. Our current focus is commercially on France and the Netherlands, but we are operational active in the whole of Europe and US since our customers have employees all over these parts of the world. So the first focus is on the Netherlands & France and this might go fastly towards the whole of Europe since we can already serve all customers in that area.”

Want to learn more about Workwize’s journey and how to drive talent engagement in a hybrid work environment? Listen to the full story on Spotify. Want to learn more about Workwize’s journey and how to drive talent engagement in a hybrid work environment? Listen to the full story on Spotify

Let's shape the future. Together.

Let's shape the future. Together.

Let's shape the future. Together.