We’re proud of the way we work.
At Focus BC, we allow people to be flexible with their location and working schedule. In a competitive environment, it’s crucial for us that our employees feel safe and comfortable working at Focus BC and we make sure to reduce as much tension as possible to enable them to do their best work.
Flexibility starts with the place where you work. We’ve departed from 2 hours-a-day commutes. That time is best-invested learning, exploring new things, or being with family and friends. We realized many people have great working conditions at home, having spaces where they can focus and work. Plus they might have the opportunity to have lunch with people they care about and more easily run errands.
Additionally, there needs to be flexibility on time as well, which is something that is not nearly as talked about. Asking your boss permission to visit the bank or go to the doctor is the type of micromanagement we’re not interested in. Everyone is a grown-up. We trust people will be able to make the right decisions and manage their time ensuring goals are met.
You might ask, how do you feed the team dynamic at Focus BC and make sure people still feel like they belong? There are a couple of things we’re currently doing, but learning along the way, as we’ve only become truly flexible since COVID-19 happened.
Daily morning meetings
Product teams meet every morning and perform the popular “daily standups”. Team members talk about what did they yesterday, their tasks for today, and potential bottlenecks. Not only is this super effective to get everyone on track with the project, but is also a daily moment of connection between all members of the team.
All company employees meet every two weeks for this meeting. It happens at the office, but people can join online if they would rather stay at home. Selected speakers share the main things accomplished in the company’s projects and introduce the main objectives for the following two weeks. It’s a great way to share knowledge between teams. Sometimes brainstorming moments can come up and this is also important for everyone to know where the company is moving as a whole.
Product planning meetings
These are our sprint planning meetings. We start by reflecting on the last sprint and then move on to the user stories of the next sprint. These meetings are a great way to discuss more deeply how we work, how we tackled specific problems, and discuss new ideas to implement in the future, allowing everyone to contribute.
Quarterly meetings and company lunches
Bi-weekly meetings get everyone together but are rather short. Therefore, we have quarterly meetings which are longer and go through topics with a holistic approach. Company vision and objectives are some of the items we discuss. These meetings are always followed by a company lunch where we take lots of photos and make lots of memories.
A silent issue with hybrid work has to do with innovation which is stimulated by people bumping into each other at the office or conversations between meetings. That’s why it’s important for us to maintain a tidy and colorful office in Lisbon. We enjoy going out for lunch or staying outside on our balcony drinking coffee and having a chat. The office is also a vital alternative for those who can’t focus at home due to not having a place to call an office, having kids at home, or other personal reasons.
Our employees are happier with our flexible work arrangement. Nonetheless, we’re glad to know research backs up our practices. A recent Harvard study shows that one or two days at the office is actually ideal for hybrid work. According to professor Prithwiraj Choudhury, “intermediate hybrid work is plausibly the sweet spot, where workers enjoy the flexibility and yet are not as isolated compared to peers who are predominantly working from home”.
Flexibility is about empathy. Workplace flexibility validates employees' individual needs. We’re all humans, but we don’t all function the same way.