Hot take: being together in-office is better than working from home
Are you familiar with “hot takes?”
Hot takes are statements of opinion that tend to elicit strong responses.
- Pineapple DEFINITELY belongs on pizza.
- The TV show The Office is overrated.
- Hot dogs are sandwiches, no question!
- The Cowboys are the best team in the NFL.
You can agree or disagree… but it makes for a lively conversation either way!
When it comes to Varay’s work-from-home philosophy, some might put our strategy in the “hot take” category:
Remote work simply can’t replicate the creativity, work, customer culture, and productivity of being together in person.*
Nothing better than together
Most can agree that working during the past several years has been, um… “unique.”
During the height of the pandemic, many of us had to utilize a work-from-home strategy like never before. At Varay, we already had the infrastructure for remote work in place before COVID hit — video calls, using messaging platforms like Slack instead of email, and being flexible to accommodate our team’s needs.
And as a managed IT service provider (MSP), we are big advocates for using technology to streamline, make businesses more efficient, and solve problems!
So our belief that “in-person is best” might seem surprising.
But our experience and learning from the experiences of other businesses going fully remote has only reinforced our belief that being together is best for overall success.
The challenges of remote work
Although there are circumstances where it’s necessary (and some benefits as well!) — there are challenges that come with working from home.
You might have faced some of these yourself:
- childcare arrangements while you work from home,
- a lack of spontaneity when trying to problem-solve,
- low productivity,
- trouble engaging with the team and customers,
- technical challenges in remote meetings,
- a general lack of interaction from being apart, and
- although it wasn’t an issue at Varay, the training needed to help employees use the work-from-home technology can be frustrating for some businesses and their employees.
Without in-person connection, even very introverted people felt stir-crazy during the work-from-home period.
There’s a famous line from a poem that says, “No man is an island.” And therein lies one of the biggest issues with remote work: It can be very isolating. Varay has always emphasized the value of being a team and the contributions each team member makes to our company’s success. As your high school coach said, there’s no “I” in “team” (and technically not in “work-from-home,” either — but you get the drift!).
We never were “lone rangers,” and we don’t want to be.
At Varay, we resumed in-person work as soon as we were able. But other businesses didn’t. Varay’s president Patrick got to hear firsthand from other leaders who delayed coming back to the office. Many of these businesses continued to struggle with low productivity, a lack of engagement, and low morale.
“As a business, we need to produce to survive,” explains Patrick. “And if we don’t produce, we don’t survive.”
For our business, we’ve found that we’re most productive and successful when we’re face-to-face.
But… Varay has three locations. Explain how that’s consistent.
That’s a great point (maybe a little snarky, but we’ll let it slide!). And there’s an explanation.
Varay has team members across the globe in El Paso, Texas, San Antonio, Texas, and the Philippines. And we don’t jump on an airplane every day to all be together — we utilize many of the same tools we used during our work-from-home season.
However, this is an intentional business strategy — we’ve found the best people in the world to meet the needs of our customers!
In IT support, providing round-the-clock service is important. Things break and issues arise outside of normal business hours. So to provide our customers with flexibility and service when they need it, we have “all-hours troubleshooting” team members in the Philippines.
With team members in three different locations, each with its own culture, we work hard to create a unified company culture that transcends location. And having each office in person helps to maintain that culture and connection.
Creating a common work culture
At Varay, we are very intentional about creating a healthy, positive work culture . Building an environment that emphasizes communication and collaboration is vital for any business, but it’s especially important when team members aren’t all in the same place!
We use EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) to ensure that the entire team is involved, on the same page and has the tools they need to succeed. We involve all of our Texas team in daily “huddles” to share wins and needs. During these meetings, one employee in the Philippines joins in the morning and another joins at the end of the day.
Our 90-minute weekly meeting (L10 meeting in EOS-speak) includes everyone, regardless of location.
Our whole team is live on Microsoft Teams all day — with hundreds of interactions. And together, we’re able to identify and solve 40-50 service tickets per day, quickly and efficiently.
Our hot take (with an asterisk)
The asterisk at the end of our original hot take wasn’t a typo!
At Varay, we believe that in-person is best for our business and customers.
However, we utilize work-from-home tools where it’s beneficial and makes sense! We recognize that our “hot take” might not fit every business or employee, and there are instances where working from home is the best solution. For some, like content creators, stay-at-home parents, or unique people who can live on that metaphorical island, remote work might be perfect.
But we maintain that there’s no substitute for the energy and creativity of being together. That’s our hot take, and we’re sticking to it.
At Varay, we work hard to build connections to meet our customers’ needs. Find out the difference that a great MSP can make for your business by contacting Varay for a free assessment.