What a year.
As a stealth financial technology studio, String and Key started 2020 with incredible passion and excitement to solve some of the most daunting financial challenges in the world today — and assembled a team of the best minds across business strategy, technology, creative and operations.
And about 6 weeks into our launch, the world was faced with one of the biggest health crises in history, a global pandemic that has affected people of all ages — and shaken every company around the world to the core, transforming the workplace seemingly overnight.
Since March, String and Key has been operating fully remote, but every quarter we have assessed the opportunity to return to our campuses and enjoy the culture and environment our team collectively created and loved.
But as the months passed and hopes for a quick recovery from the coronavirus pandemic have faded, it became clear that in order to provide the comfort and safety of everyone, we made the decision to remain fully remote until January 2021.
This decision wasn’t just made by leadership, but was in partnership with everyone in a company-wide survey. This survey gave us some insightful key learnings.
- 93% of employees believed they were able and are performing their job effectively while being remote
- Although, 40% of the team would welcome returning to the office immediately, 75% indicated they would only return less than 1–2 days a week
- 82% of employees currently have a dedicated space at home for work, but only 57% felt it was ergonomic
With these learnings, String and Key decided to put programs and practices in place that would set us up for success in this remote-first world, and to give our employees the clarity they needed to make long-term plans for themselves and their families.
It is important to call out that String and Key is committed to getting back into the office. Lately we have read a few cases where companies are telling their team members they can work remotely forever. At String and Key, our objective is to get back into the office and not become a remote company.
We feel passionately about this because we believe that a key component of String and Key is our in-person experience. We flourished with the ability to collaborate in person, side-by-side to solve business challenges, and we had the perks and benefits that allowed everyone to learn, grow and enjoy their day in the office. And although trying to replicate the in-office experience isn’t always perfect, the leadership at String and Key developed a plan on how we can bring what we love about the office, into a remote work environment.
What we love: Free meals!
What we did: Create a weekly virtual lunch outing for select employees, paid for with Seamless gift cards, to have lunch together and catch up on what is happening in their lives and work.
What we love: Happy Hours!
What we did: Host weekly virtual happy hours for all employees to connect and engage with each other.
What we love: Work Comfortably!
What we did: Launched a Work Remote One-Time Stipend — to help pay for the new expenses the office perks like faster wifi, comfortable chairs, air conditioning costs, or additional equipment.
What we love: State of the Art Equipment
What we did: Built an Equipment Loan Program — where each team member can schedule a visit to the office to pick up their monitors, keyboards and other items they feel they need.
What we love: Our commitment to our community!
What we did: Our charitable giving has already surpassed our 2020 goal thanks to office costs disappearing.
Of course, our new work environment isn’t perfect and we are constantly learning from our mistakes and peers, but the output from the team continues to be world class and we haven’t missed a milestone since going remote.
Moving forward, our sights are set on how best to assess when is the right time to return to the office. Our office in NY is in a beautiful loft, but in a very old building that had company shared bathrooms (same with NC) limiting our ability to contain team exposure. We also rely on public transportation as a main form of transportation to the office for many team members, which is also a point of concern for employees. We also want to implement appropriate health screening, but without making it a big lift for our People Team.
We will continue to bring our innovative thinking and problem solving skills to these challenges, and are confident we will find the solutions we need — so that our team of 30 (and growing!! Apply today) can feel comfortable and safe in the workplace of String and Key.