TRAFFIT culture

How does Hybrid work look at Traffit, and how do we integrate within it

After trials and errors, we found a system that gives benefits of hybrid work and integrated team. Here’s what we do.
Mick Griffin
Mick Griffin
Head of Growth at TRAFFIT
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    How does Hybrid work look at Traffit?

    During lockdown, like every company, at Traffit we followed government guidelines and working from the office was not an option for any of our team. Even after government lockdown ended, we still didn’t pull everyone back to the office, the times have changed most likely forever.

    We decided to follow the route of some companies and pursue a hybrid model of work. 90% of our workforce lived in the surrounding area of our office and we felt we had not crossed a line yet where we would be ‘work from anywhere’ and no longer require an office at all.

    Our first attempt at Hybrid failed.

    We started by asking our team members which category of hybrid work they would like to fall into.

    Group A – 1-2 Days per week in the office<br />Group B – 3 or more Days per week in the office.

    We asked them to define their group because we also had to ensure we followed correct protocols from the government and also to have a good understand just how active the office can be on any given day.

    They could choose the days, and of course managers would try to coordinate team members so if they wanted to do in house meetings, or brainstorming etc, they could try and get the right team members all in on the same day. However the rule was simple, depending on your preference, come in those amount of days per week.

    The goal of at least 1 day per week as a company was for 2 key reasons.

    Firstly, it was to keep some kind of energy and culture. To feel the buzz around the office, and for people to interact with each other both in a scheduled manner, but also accidentally or because of a quick moment of inspiration that needed validating.

    Secondly, Traffit was going through a moment of strongly recruiting, and although we recruited people into a Hybrid environment, we always asked them to come to the office for the first two weeks of work for training, and to get to know everyone. For that to happen, each day we needed some kind of team presence.

    All team members got on board with this structure, and it was great seeing faces around the office each day (I’m a 5 days per week in the office kind of person). You can imagine Mondays and Fridays certainly were not popular choices, but during the week people were around.

    It didn’t achieve either of our intended goals or outcomes. Our culture or atmosphere didn’t return. At the time we were around 30 employees. So on any one day, we had 7-8 people in the office and also our office space is quite segregated, so each dept has their own room. Therefore we had many days that 1-2 people per department would come in and not only did that mean interactions between them and other team members were low. It even had a negative effect, as some people came to the office and spent the majority of the day say alone or in a room of 1-2 other people.

    Also, it didn’t solve the onboarding process because of the same reason. New starters got to come to the office, receive the planned training with their educator for that day, but little further cultural onboarding happened.

    After around 3 months, as managers, we realized it didn’t work and for a moment we wanted to throw hybrid away and consider full remote. However, we wanted to try one more time first.

    Introducing #TTT, our Team Together Tuesdays.

    We decided that instead of asking team members to come to the office at least 4 days a month randomly, let’s try 2 days a month but all on the same day.

    Every other Tuesday, hence the name we gave it. Team Together Tuesdays.

    I don’t have statistical analysis for you (other than high eNPS), but it worked!

    Team members came in, met with the people in their own departments, but also the interaction with other departments flourished. Two weeks was just enough for a gap to feel the need to give a work colleague a high five or hug, and have something to talk about at the morning coffee machine queue.

    Soon as we saw the concept had potential, the usual things followed. Managers would start to schedule certain meetings, workshops, etc to fall on those Tuesdays. Meetings that they felt was just that little more productive when in person.

    Our awesome culture team started to celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries in bulk on those Tuesdays, so cakes could be orders and we could celebrate together. Photoshoots could be arranged to get updated head shots of our team members. We could also introduce new team members who joined and they could get to know other people not only via their slack profile pictures.

    Little #TTT and Big #TTT

    After I think around 3-4 Team Together Tuesdays we felt that the business benefits were there, but we didn’t really think that we had successfully achieved social integration, and inter-departmental cohesion. Also, we started to hire some awesome remote based people which was a little new for Traffit. We had some employees who worked in the office pre pandemic, and then relocated for personal reasons. But we had never hired remote.

    We really wanted those people to be part of our #TTT also but traveling from Krakow to Gdynia (6-7hrs each way by train) twice per month was too much, and inefficient. So we changed the #TTT model to have a Little #TTT and a Big #TTT. Still only 2 per month total, but one smaller gathering, and one bigger gathering.

    Little #TTT

    We would continue to ask the team members local to the office to come in, we would run similar meetings, and we would still celebrate our birthdays and have cake 🙂

    Big #TTT

    Here we would have everything like little #TTT, but we would bring in our remote employees too, and on top we would plan a monthly fun integration event.

    Integration Events

    Before pandemic, I think like most tech companies, Traffit had 2 major integration events per year. Summer and Xmas. Plus probably 2 small ones in between like bowling etc. They were pretty hard to coordinate for our Culture team and they took up a big part of our integration budget.

    Yet here we are, making a plan to go from 2 major integrations (which we keep btw), and adding 10 monthly integrations on top (skipping the months we have big integrations), without really changing the budget, and without hiring people to our culture team. Sounds awesome right, all your HR people reading this 😀

    We basically freed up 20,000 PLN. Money we would pay for those 2 smaller integrations in the past when we would hire some company to come help us have fun.

    We shared the responsibility

    So we had 10 unique events to plan, and 2,000 PLN per event, and no extra resources. So we decided, in Traffit style, to share our the responsibility and we asked departments to take control of our integration activities.

    January – Customer Success
    February – Marketing
    March – Backend Team
    April – C-Level
    and so on.

    Every department has to create an activity that would last around 2 hours and involve all employees. They would have too also from their budget order food and drinks for the integration.

    It’s been an amazing success</strong>, and the innovative ideas the team’s have come up with has brought the entire company closer together while feeling they have been part of it. Soon i’ll share a post detailing each integration idea and some photos. As a preview I can tell you we have already had a scavenger hunt, a real life Cluedo murder mystery, and a quiz around ‘do you know your team members’.

    Wrap Up

    To summarize, getting to a hybrid model that worked for both the company and team members has been a journey. However we found a balance that works today. I think the key is re-evaluating the structure all the time and being open to change. Hybrid is a two way process, not just part home-part office, but it’s also about finding benefits for both company culture and employee satisfaction and belonging.

    Thanks for reading and hope this was interesting!

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