At BenchSci, we have traditionally been an office-centric culture. We cherish the relationships we have been able to make by the coffee machine, sitting next to one another, or eating lunch in the cafe. Due to the global pandemic, we, like so many others, have been forced to adapt to a fully remote work model. While this is necessary to ensure our employees’ safety during these times, and there are certain benefits to this model (such as eliminating commute times), we still greatly value the in-person connections that only happen at the office.
With both the pros and cons of remote work in mind, we developed our new work-from-home policies, which we look forward to implementing once it’s deemed safe (by both health officials and the company) to return to the office. With these new policies, we seek to create a work environment that reaches the highest level of productivity to enable BenchSci to exponentially improve life-saving research while also maximizing our employees’ health, safety, and happiness.
Provide a base for local employees
Our approach to developing these policies was a methodical one. First, as a company based in Toronto but with employees across Canada and the U.S., we knew we needed to be pragmatic. So we created a separate set of expectations for those who live within and those outside the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) that provides flexibility to both.
For those within the GTA, we started by identifying when we would benefit the most from being in the office together. We decided it makes the most sense to require all GTA employees’ office attendance on Mondays since that is when the week’s work is typically laid out. That way, we can ensure everyone’s alignment on tasks for the coming days. Those living outside the GTA are expected to attend meetings via video conferencing. They are also expected to be in the office for the second week of January and July to attend quarterly kickoff meetings and company events so that we can foster relationships with them and improve company planning processes.
Allow teams flexibility
Next, we wanted to make sure we could adapt to the needs of each individual team within the company. Our leaders understood that a one-size-fits-all approach to mandatory office time doesn’t make sense. For example, our Sales team can work from anywhere, whereas our People and Culture and Operations teams need to maintain an office presence at all times. Other teams fall somewhere in between. So each department head was tasked with developing a unique remote work policy to help their team be the most productive.
Foster a sense of community
Finally, to foster a sense of community and camaraderie, we wanted everyone to gather for major company meetings and festivities, including things such as:
- Yearly and quarterly retrospectives and kickoff meetings
- Monthly all-hands meetings and company dinners
- Celebrations such as a summer barbecue, Thanksgiving dinner, and our Halloween party
Team members living outside the GTA are, of course, welcome and encouraged to attend these events as well, but we understand if they are not able to and provide the means for them to join us over webcam so that they don’t miss out.
Continue to learn and improve
We believe that constant learning-based iteration is key to success. While our current, fully remote working model may have come about out of necessity rather than desire, we’ve gleaned valuable learnings from the experience, which we’ve used to inform our work-from-home policies going forward. We will continue to evaluate and evolve all our policies as we learn and progress as a company.
Interested in working with us? See our open roles.
To stay up to date with all BenchSci news, subscribe to our blog.