Finding Space for Traditional Office Spaces
Published by Spinutech on July 28, 2021
The first company-wide email about COVID-19 went out on a Thursday in March 2020.
Just three months prior, Spinutech had rang in the New Year with a holiday party celebrating 20 years in business. At the time, the company consisted of about 75 team members, the vast majority of whom worked out of offices in Cedar Falls, Des Moines, and Chicago.
That email, which outlined how the company initially planned to respond to the burgeoning spread of the coronavirus throughout the United States, would become the first of many communications regarding COVID-19. When team members all started working from home, few expected their dining room to become their office space for the foreseeable future.
Weeks working from home turned into months. Conference calls became video calls. New hires introduced themselves through the camera on their computer. Happy Hours went virtual, with teammates popping the top of a cold beverage from the comfort of their own home.
“Normal” was redefined, not just at Spinutech, but around the world. As a pandemic swept across the globe, changes to the way we live our lives -- for better and for worse -- followed in its wake. The working world was especially impacted, as the spread of COVID-19 and efforts to mitigate it put a strain on businesses. Many businesses were forced to close their doors and millions of Americans were left unemployed at the peak of the pandemic.
Many people were left to wonder if we would ever return to normal.
For Spinutech, there is no “return to normal.” Only “a new normal.”
Growing from a sea of change
Over the last 16 months, Spinutech has changed dramatically. As the company has navigated the myriad challenges presented by the pandemic, it has only experienced growth.
After nearly a year of sustained growth, Spinutech took a big leap forward in January, merging with Bayshore Solutions. The company now boasts more than 160 team members, with an additional office in Tampa. But that’s only counting traditional office spaces. Truthfully, Spinutech now has more than 100 different offices.
Well, home offices, to be specific. Spinutech has team members who work remotely from their own homes across the country in Iowa, Illinois, Colorado, Florida, California, Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
That’s a lot of home offices and a lot of real estate. But more flexible working arrangements have paid dividends for Spinutech in the last year.
As other companies across the country have made their “return-to-office” plans in the hope that the end of the pandemic is on horizon, bringing with it a return to the pre-pandemic days of office dwellers, Spinutech’s plan is simple: No one has to return to the office.
Rethinking the traditional office space
For the foreseeable future, Spinutech has no plans to implement a mandatory return to an office for those who live near one of our traditional office locations. Why? Because that’s how businesses used to operate. And if you’re only returning to it because that’s the way it’s always been done, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.
Spinutech has experienced unprecedented growth in the last year, and that growth was no accident. Growth is a product of success, and the source of that success is the team members who have spent the last year proving that a traditional office is not a requirement for success.
Offices used to be where work was done. Now offices are a supplement to our work. It’s a place where people can gather in person, but they need a better reason to come into the office than their boss simply saying, “Because I said so.” Offices can be used to strengthen a company’s culture, but it’s no longer the only place where culture exists thanks to technology that has enabled us to connect people across great distances virtually.
There is still value in interacting in person, though it has to be on each individual’s terms, especially as people still have varying levels of comfort about gathering in large groups. Which is why Spinutech has issued a friendly challenge to its team members: You don’t have to come into the office every day, but look for opportunities to come into the office instead.
Maybe there is an in-person training you can complete with your team. Or perhaps you’d simply like to get together with the members of your department for a potluck one day.
The office is there. You don’t have to use it, but it’s available to you as a space where you can collaborate, learn, and grow with your teammates in a non-virtual setting.
Change can be challenging. But sometimes the best thing you can do is embrace it as an opportunity to get better. Because it’s not about how your business has done things in the past. It’s about taking care of the needs of the people who make your business what it is.
A message from Marc Reifenrath, CEO of Spinutech: