Why Not Both? How Bounteous Seamlessly Fuses In-Person And Remote Working To Make Collaboration Possible
Bounteous was poised to weather a 100 percent remote workforce. With our team members and clients spread across time zones and country lines, the tools, meeting cadence, and video etiquette were already in place. Distributed teams are the way we work.
Many businesses, including organizations that play in our space, weren’t as ready and were forced to quickly pivot their working model in response to an international pandemic. Now, those same companies are finally realizing what Bounteous and our clients knew all along: Smart people who are aligned with the mission of your organization contribute meaningfully, no matter where they sit.
Flashing forward to the present, many leading organizations are now promising to close their physical doors permanently. Although Bounteous knows this model does in fact work, we strongly believe it doesn’t have to be one way or the other.
Today, we have a number of state-of-the-art collaboration centers, acting as centralized meeting hubs for our distributed clients and team members. While currently closed, we are not only keeping our collaboration centers open for the future, we are continuing to invest in these spaces to keep pace with our growth. As part of this plan, we recently announced a new location in Pittsburgh, almost doubling our footprint and putting us in a position to expand that team by up to 40 percent.
Our hybrid way to work has served our Agile and Bounteous-blended client teams well throughout our history and is a model that encourages autonomy, a diverse workforce, centralized access to shared services, and impactful community building.
The Co-Innovation Manifesto reminds us that "enlightened companies know it is easier to win with better talent." Our team members are knowledge workers and understand the importance of continual learning and staying ahead of the market trends. We not only hire team members who possess the right skills, but individuals who are filled with vision, drive, and passion for the host of coaching and learning opportunities that we offer.
Companies that dictate a universal working model for their knowledge workers (all remote or all in office) are focused on the wrong rules of engagement. Why would any company create restrictive, red-tape regulations that discourage creativity, usurp innovation, and strip autonomy? If our people are smart enough to lead the digital transformation revolution, they’re smart enough to determine when and where they should work.
Serving a Diverse Workforce
A 2018 HR Review study found that heightened anxiety levels in individuals are often triggered by incompatibility with their designated office circumstances. For example, while some workers find it distracting to work closely alongside their peers, others credit isolation as their main source of frustration. At Bounteous, we understand that productive environments differ from person to person. Varying levels of lighting, spacing, temperature, and noise have the power to inspire or disrupt.
If I take a single, recurring lesson away from being a mother, an educator, and a human resources professional, varying personality types and learning styles move this idea one step further. The vast number of studies that confirm this theory are far too many to reference here, but the research almost always supports the same conclusion: People respond to and process their surroundings differently.
Some individuals may learn effectively by interacting, while others learn by listening, reading, or shadowing. A segment of the population needs solo time to think through a problem while their counterparts may produce better results by riffing in a collaborative setting. A company concerned with inspiring their people to contribute meaningfully, should also provide the freedom for each person to work in a space that best suits their individual proclivity to learn (and produce)!
The facets of diversity are complex, spanning population characteristics (age, ability, gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation), work status (seniority, income, field, tenure, role), and character experiences (political affiliation, religion, hobbies, education, family). Not to mention a team member’s personal responsibilities—caring for loved ones, balancing work and home, and contributing to interests, friendships, and obligations outside of work.
Our goal is to provide the flexibility and resources necessary to support a diverse and complex workforce. Offering both remote and face-to-face collaborative options is an important component to achieve this goal.
Although we hire the best talent no matter where they live, our Bounteous collaboration centers are planted based on the geographical plots of our teams. We set up camp in centralized locations with easy access for our local people and effortless airport entry for our remote team members and clients.
Our collaboration centers are used as welcoming meeting spaces, stashed with supplies, bursting with drinks and eats, innovation lab headquarters, and homebase for developing our public training curricula. Even if a team member primarily works from home, these easily-accessible offices are called "collaboration centers" for a reason: They exist to inspire, innovate, team-build, and commune.
We believe that when we co-innovate, we create something bigger that neither Bounteous nor our clients can achieve exclusively. This same belief applies to our philanthropic philosophy: It is a promise to give back to our people, clients, and communities and to inclusively build something better together.
Each of our collaboration centers serves as a community anchor, from supporting neighborhood small businesses; hosting networking, team-building events, and boot camps; working in our local schools during Hour of Code; sponsoring regional charities; or providing pro bono digital services for our philanthropic partners. As our CEO, Keith Schwartz reminds us, "creating a vibrant, talent-magnet culture is about more than just the opportunities that exist for individuals—it’s the opportunities to meaningfully transform company, clients, and communities together. A good culture is about being truly Bounteous."
Offering a hybrid model confirms our commitment to our communities, creates a homebase to celebrate and collaborate, and provides inclusive options to support diverse experiences. Our goal is to empower (and trust) our team members to take hold of their destinies and provide a suite of possibilities that ignite innovation for our careers and our clients. It also serves as a powerful and living testament to be truly Bounteous.