As a business, WiredScore runs with culture at its core. We’re incredibly proud of the values-driven attitude we’ve carried with us from the start and firmly believe that although we’re in the business of technology, it’s the people that make us tick.
Going back to 2016, about four months into my time at WiredScore, a friend asked me what the company culture was like. I didn’t really know what to say – it didn’t make sense to me that we might have a culture as distinct from the personalities of my handful of colleagues.
I now realise that the task of combining people with expertise in property, telecommunications and technology was especially formidable; different backgrounds led to differing expectations of the workplace.
Maybe more by luck than judgement, the steps we took then laid the groundwork for the culture of the company that we have today: a place that values radical candour in feedback; that believes in meritocracy in problem-solving; where we try to be a good company as well as a great company.
The changing purpose of offices means landlords must create inspirational spaces
But then came Covid-19. In March 2020, like many businesses, WiredScore stepped into a remote working model. Keeping our workforce safe was the number one priority and our once-bustling office was emptied as we reshuffled ourselves overnight. So, what to do when you’re running a growing global business through a worldwide pandemic to keep the culture alive and kicking?
I’ll admit that maintaining global and sustained engagement throughout the pandemic wasn’t easy, but the overall success of our initiatives was thanks to trial and error. Weekly virtual “donuts” (30-minute coffees between randomised team members) have continued to be very popular and brought the company together, whereas virtual team yoga had a strong start, then faded quickly. Giving recognition to colleagues for great work via virtual “tacos” on Slack will endure, but regular virtual board games will not.
As we weathered the storm of multiple lockdowns across several different countries, staying in tune with the different kinds of fatigue employees were going through was of utmost importance. One of the most impactful things was identifying when people needed a break — which led us to introduce additional all-company days off.
But, ultimately, keeping the culture meant creating context. Context is really important for people to do their jobs well and, more importantly, to be fulfilled and energised. As context conversations are often the ones that occur organically (the ‘watercooler chats’), we were aware that this was a cultural aspect that perhaps wouldn’t translate so well online.
To remedy this, we (our CEO Arie Barendrecht and I) write a monthly roundup email that provides a relaxed but direct summary of our successes and failures as a global company.
Back to the office
And now we’re excited about the next phase of our culture: the return to the office. For WiredScore, this will include hybrid working, as we reassess our working habits on the basis of what we’ve learnt in the past year and a half.
Our office will need to play two very important roles. First, it will need to be a magnet to draw our team back into London. Second, it will need to facilitate our hybrid-working future.
Smart technology will be at the heart of both of these roles, allowing us to offer an inspirational experience for everyone who comes to work in the office and creating a sense of in-person participation for hybrid teams.
From dial-in 360-degree cameras in all meeting rooms (so those working remotely aren’t marginalised) to platforms that deliver booking and occupancy monitoring services, we’ll rely on tech as never before. We won’t get it right on day one, but the technology will allow us to better understand how our space is being used and to adjust accordingly.
In a post-pandemic world, it’s imperative that the office stands out as the place to be. WiredScore doesn’t face this challenge in isolation. The changing purpose of offices means landlords must evolve to create safe, inspirational spaces that allow tenants to collaborate and socialise, while encouraging individual productivity to flourish like never before.
William Newton is president and managing director of WiredScore