At ActionIQ, as part of our hybrid office culture, we designate two remote “seasons” every year when employees can work from anywhere up to four weeks each season. It’s been over a year since we introduced remote seasons and I would like to share with you my thoughts and experience about this benefit.
Being an immigrant is an emotionally complex situation. Even though exciting, it takes some time to assimilate, get used to the norms and life in the new place. Initially you cling on to your past, and then gradually let go. You sometimes find yourself in a situation where you’re neither here, nor there. The new place is home, you make new friends, you enjoy it (especially NYC!), but there are still things that you miss about your home country. The old place is also home, but it has changed quite a bit since you left. People move on, and as years go by you tend to keep in touch with less folks. But there’s always a special connection — and one always feels nostalgic.
We (my wife, my now 11 yr old son, and I) moved to the US from Greece in 2012, so just over 10 years ago now. For the first few years, we went back sparsely and for short periods of time, 2 weeks max and it always felt so rushed. Fly into Athens on a Saturday, tell most friends “I’ll be in bar XYZ from 5pm till close — see you there” and next morning take off for vacation with a select few of your closest friends.. Then you come back on a Saturday night, see family and fly out to the US on Sunday so that you can be in the office on Monday. Hey, don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad. But it’s not enough time. Not enough to walk around in your old neighborhood, catch up with extended family, network with old colleagues, check out the new places. Not enough to feel that you’re still part of that world too. So every time we left, we felt nostalgic. Every time we hugged our loved ones goodbye, it was very emotional.
The pandemic however introduced a new reality. We went fully remote, so we were able to work from anywhere, which we took advantage of every year and spent a few weeks working from Greece before taking our vacation. With some flexibility in the working hours to account for the time zone difference, we were able to lead a fairly normal local life. Work from the house you grew up in or from a place with a beautiful view by the sea for a few days. Work hard, but enjoy the flexibility offered to you. Spend more time with the folks you grew up with, go to the new restaurant that your friend opened, see your aunts and uncles, spend a weekend up in the mountains where you had proposed to your wife, and even run some needed errands. And then take some vacation before you head back to NYC. It was so refreshing.
I remember I was speaking with Stacy Larkin, the VP of People & Employee Success at ActionIQ, and told her “if we keep the flexibility of working from anywhere, I’m never leaving the company.” After 2 pandemic summers, the time for the return to the office had arrived.. ActionIQ conducted a survey across all employees to understand everyone’s preferences and ended up deciding on a very flexible policy with a hybrid approach: 3 days/week in the office and 2 from home. And on top of that, 2 months of work from anywhere! Amazing!
This year was the 3rd year that we spent a good part of our summer in Greece. By now we knew, we tweaked the period, not too long, not too short. When we now leave to come back to the US we’re ready, we miss it and are eager to come back. What the pandemic started, grew into a set of thoughtful decisions, which allow for a much better work-life balance. My childhood friends tease me now and tell me “Hey, it seems you’ve become cold hearted…no tears of goodbye, you don’t love us any more!”. Not exactly, but thanks to ActionIQ I don’t have to miss you that much folks. :-) If you’re looking for a place that really values every employee and their needs, check out ActionIQ.
ActionIQ brings order to Customer Experience (CX) chaos. Our CX Hub empowers everyone to be a CX champion by giving business teams the freedom to explore and take action on customer data, while helping technical teams regain control of where data lives and how it is used. We are backed by top-tier VCs Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, March Capital, and First Mark Capital. Enterprise brands such as Autodesk, Acrisure, Washington Post, Neiman Marcus, Hertz, and many more use our CX Hub to drive growth through extraordinary customer experiences.
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