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Is work no longer a place (and why we quit our office)?

Early in corona-quarantine, we quit our office. And in the process of moving to distributed work, we learned a strong lesson on company culture.

Søren Vasø Hansen

Søren Vasø Hansen

It’s week 1 of corona-quarantine, and my partner Morten slacks me.

“I just terminated our office lease.”

My reply: “Cool.”

At the time, I was thinking of saving some money off an office we didn’t use during Corona-lockdown.

We are a small start-up, and we are used to working from home. We also make software for distributed teams, so we were pretty set. And now we were forced to work from home anyway, so why not go all the way.

Bye-bye office.

Now, a few months later, I realize how important a decision we made.

As Denmark slowly opens up the society again, I’m hearing more and more something in the lines of “Back to work.” As I explore this, it really paints a picture of company cultures that weren’t ready for remote work. And fair enough. No one expected a pandemic.

But it’s almost like a lot of companies had a break from the real work. And now finally can go back into the office to roll up the sleeves and starts attacking the real challenges again.

Because we, in Acadal, quit our office, we haven’t been waiting around. We established what distributed infrastructure we needed and had a new standpoint. Nothing gets pushed until we can get back into the office — we don’t have one.

It changed our mindset entirely about working from home.

I know most companies aren’t as agile as a small tech-start-up, and I’m not trying to get you to quit your office. I want you to think of your mindset moving forward from here.

Is work a place or what we do?

Now is unique — and we have a big choice to make. Do we think of this as a big work-from-home experiment that’s finally over, or do we leverage our new experience to build culture and digital infrastructure for the future?

The trends are pointing to a distributed workforce.

In our research paper “Business Culture statistics for 2020” you’ll find a a lot of evidence towards that. But one prediction stands out:

By 2025, an estimated 70% of the workforce will work remotely at least five days in a month.

Are Acadal never to have an office again?

Actually, I think so.

But we are never going to build our work infrastructure around it. We want to leverage distributed work to get the optimal resource pool to recruit from. And make sure we can provide autonomy and freedom in our people’s work-life to keep them happy.

I think now is a great time for companies to ask themselves: Is work a place? Or is it what you do.

And then start building culture around it, using our recent pandemic-experience as a springboard — no matter the direction.

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