Webinar Recap: Box and Zapier's CPOs on Choosing Workplace Strategies

Pick your own policy

If you only look at the news headlines, you might get the impression the global workplace is in a battle between fully remote and office-only models. In reality, most companies are landing somewhere in the middle.

Surveys show companies are choosing between at least five different workplace policies, with most of them opting for some sort of hybrid model.

Attendees shared their workplace policies, and the results were diverse:

Webinar survey on workplace policy

Our speakers emphasized that no one size fits all, and it’s reflected in their own policies. Zapier is a fully remote company with 800+ employees in more than 40 countries with no office space, while Box has a more hybrid approach, as they have some employees working remotely while others are hybrid or in-office.

Both companies have thriving employees and successful workplace policies because they’ve tailored them to fit the needs of their business and their people.

Define what building culture means

Webinar attendees also shared their pressing workplace challenges, and building culture tops the list:

Webinar survey on workplace challenges

This is where Brandon pointed out the importance of defining what culture means at your company since it’s more than likely people mean different things when they say culture. One person might see culture as the norm of getting work done, and for someone else, culture is about building relationships with coworkers or customers.

Defining what falls under culture lets you identify which particular challenges employees and the company face and tackle them intentionally. Jess had a great addition to tackling culture challenges. At Box, an essential part of culture building is thinking about equity instead of equality, as people’s work experiences will differ based on their work model.

Ask (and answer) the right questions

To ensure your policy is right for your organization, start by identifying what the company needs to be successful and let that guide the outcome.

But this isn’t a one-time effort. Measuring the impact, getting feedback, and soliciting employee input is critical. Brandon and Jess suggested running targeted employee surveys at least once a year and implementing their findings.

Internal transparency makes a massive difference in how your team perceives your policy. As Brandon noticed, companies shouldn’t just announce their policy but also explain its reasoning and the specific impact it will have on all employees.

Be intentional about in-person connections

For both companies, in-person events and get-togethers are a significant investment of time and money. Still, they pay off by increasing employee engagement and a sense of belonging.

At Box, employees still want to travel, meet in person, and be together, and they’re looking at the company to provide those connections. Jess’ team supports these requests as it’s a way to plant the seeds for serendipity, but she doubled down on the need to rethink and redefine what these meetups look like.

Like all teams, she mentioned that costs for in-person moments need to be heavily considered, ensuring they’re spending money in more effective and meaningful ways.

For Zapier as a remote company, offsites and retreats are critical for building rapport among teams in person. But they’re rethinking their in-person strategy and focusing on defining the times and places employees need to come together.

Previously, they had functionally-driven events where departments would meet up, but they learned there’s a more impactful way to organize events. Now, their strategy revolves around how work gets done. This means employees get together in cross-functional units, making it easier to collaborate, build relationships, and deliver for customers.

Align your team on productivity

Our speakers also discussed friction points between employees and managers, especially around how each group perceives productivity and why differences are so stark. Brandon pointed out it has to do with different frames of reference. When employees talk about their productivity under a particular work model, they mainly talk about themselves. When managers do it, they’re talking about their whole team and sometimes even the performance of the entire organization.

Many managers don’t have a clear answer on how they approach and measure their team’s performance and productivity, and this is where tensions can rise in discussing workplace policies. To avoid misalignment and ensure everyone can do their best work, companies should train managers on tracking performance, measuring productivity, and managing distributed employees.

Get expert advice on which policy is the best for your team

Designing modern workplace policies can still get confusing and overly complex, and even the best companies out there need expert advice and guidance. If that sounds like something you need – get in touch with Gable. We’ll be happy to hear your challenges, tell you what other companies are doing, and give you practical advice on tailoring a perfect workplace policy.

Schedule Your Workplace Policy Session

We’re excited to hear your policy, show you how others are tackling challenges are doing, and give you practical advice.
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Liza Mash Levin
CEO & Co-founder @gable