Shifting to remote-first work during the pandemic created real opportunities and challenges for Fraym. At the beginning of the public health crisis, we asked ourselves, “How can we bring the best aspects of our community to a fully decentralized, digital workspace?”
Fraym is a stronger community when we have meaningful interactions and build relationships with our colleagues. With fewer opportunities for in-person engagements, we kept everyone connected by using the lessons that we learned from integrating employees who were remote before the pandemic.
As we transition to a hybrid work environment with more opportunities to meet and collaborate face to face, we are now asking, “What can we learn from the digital-first way of working that we should maintain going forward?” We simply want the best of both worlds.
The Hybrid Work Environment
First we need to reflect on what it means to come together as talking heads in rectangular computer frames. These digital windows limit the amount of space that any one person can occupy and can actually flatten organizational hierarchies. This structure is the embodiment of how we strive to operate at Fraym. Each employee is an essential contributor to the company’s mission and we want the spaces where we gather to reflect this conviction.
Given that we are all situated in individualized home spaces, what we reveal can provide insights into our personalities and interests. There is also the matter of what we do not reveal deliberately. These are things about ourselves that we share as a matter of circumstance.
Caregiving at Fraym
The intersection of our work and home lives allows us to redefine what it means to show up as your full self to work. Our roles as caregivers were always a footnote in our professional lives. Now they are a more prominent aspect of the profile of employees. For this reason, it is easier to speak up when we need an accommodation to balance our responsibilities.
A partner or a child with a burning question may step into the frame. A pet, usually a cat, will walk across a keyboard. A newborn who you hoped would sleep through the next meeting will cry out from an adjacent room.
“Having young children in elementary school, we have had to be flexible with quarantines and missed school days. My kids have been known to pop into a meeting to see “who mom is talking to”. Fraym team members are great about engaging them, and making me feel less embarrassed by the unexpected interruption.”Carmen Tedesco, Director of Analytics
Caregiving comes in a lot of forms. We are caregivers to the people in our households. We are caregivers to an ever-growing community of pets that tell us when they are not well. For those of us who live independently, the desire to show care and to be cared for can mean traveling to see friends and family or setting aside time for self-care.
We seek to create an enabling environment for all employees to produce their best work and create value for the company. To this end, we encourage each other to be assertive about taking the time we need to take care of ourselves, as well as to nurture the people, the pets, and the other things that matter to us. We even have a JIRA code for wellness time.
The digital grid limits but it also expands how we can appear to each other as co-workers. It is a visual representation of the multitude of backgrounds that we come from and an assuring reminder of the resilience of the ethos that guides collaboration at Fraym.