Jen Dennard and Dan Pupius, Founders of Range

Setting Intentional and Effective Hybrid Policies

Jean Hsu,Yellow Squiggle

In this episode of Lead Time Chats, Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range, chats with Range co-founders Jen Dennard and Dan Pupius about how companies can roll-out intentional and effective hybrid work policies.

Jean, Jen, and Dan discuss:

  • Some of the more effective hybrid return-to-office rollouts we’ve heard about, and others that…could be better.
  • Why in-office work may not actually create more serendipitous interactions for most employees.
  • What companies should pay attention to when implementing or iterating on a hybrid office policy.
  • Companies that are technically “remote-friendly” but have a reputation of not being great for remote employee career development.

Additional Resources

Takeaways from Jen and Dan

Remote and hybrid work policies can be wildly inconsistent and frustrating

"Even if I like working in the office face to face, if I'm being forced to commute 45 minutes in traffic and then get to an office, it's a ghost town, like I'm not gonna want to go into the office. So we are hearing people struggling with that. One person I talked to they're meant to work at their desk three days a week in order to qualify for being a San Francisco employee, otherwise they get 15% pay cut, but they go into their office and then zoom with people in the South Bay and New York, and they're not actually collaborating with people face to face anyway. I think there's just like a lot of inconsistency to the policies." — Dan Pupius

Companies will gain reputations for how remote-friendly they actually are

“I think it's very similar to the stories you hear in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space, right? Where it's like, cool, everyone has the commitment on their website. We commit to equal hiring and promotion and things like that. And yet we also all know certain companies that are like, Cool, I don't wanna work there as a woman or as a person of color, or different things because of the reputation. And I think that'll start to be true over time with remote work and inclusion of remote workers as well.” — Jen Dennard

In-office employees may not actually be getting serendipitous collaboration

One of the biggest arguments for bringing people back to the office is this serendipitous collaboration. A lot of the data just shows that doesn't actually happen for the majority of people. When you move into the open plan offices, face to face communication actually drops, I think 70% with one study and then the serendipitous interactions in common rooms — the water cooler effect — doesn't really impact other people.

So potentially what we're really talking about is the serendipitous interactions that leaders get, but the majority of workers don't really benefit from those serendipitous interactions.” — Dan Pupius

Design in-office interactions intentionally to get the most out of co-located time

“If you want people in the office for face to face collaboration, let's make sure you have face to face collaboration. Make sure you're scheduling time, make sure you are actually running effective in-person meetings. Make sure that you're facilitating those serendipitous interactions that you believe are so powerful, versus making people sit quietly in a cube all day, because then people just feel like they're being forced into the office just for surveillance. And it's not really about communication, it's about, you don't trust me to do my work.” — Dan Pupius

Employees have a lot of agency in choosing where they work

“In tech there's still a lot of optionality in terms of what you choose for your work. Obviously the economy is shifting right now, and that is changing to some extent. But I think that's one thing for that the individual does have agency over at times is, okay, do I want to stay here? And it can feel like, well, I want to be loyal to my team and to my manager and to these other things.But I'd encourage folks to also think about, okay, well I've brought up eight times that I'd like to be able to work remote for these valid reasons and I haven't gotten a good understanding and as much as I care about my team, the company is making these policies, et cetera. There are lots of constraints like family and salary and all sorts of things that prevent people from moving jobs, but it is something that I think we will see over time of people leaving. And that isn't necessarily bad, right? If a company wants everyone to be in the office and they're hiring exclusively for that, then they're going to attract the people that want that, and just like other company cultures is a totally valid thing to hire or not hire for.” — Jen Dennard

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About Lead Time Chats

Listen in on unscripted conversations between Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range and other leaders in tech to help you make remote teamwork a little bit less challenging.

Lead Time Chats is brought to you by Range. Range helps remote teams work better together — with asynchronous check-ins, integrated team-building, fewer and more effective meetings, and easy goal-tracking. When you run your team with Range, you’ll always know what’s going on — without having to be in back-to-back meetings.

Checking-in with Range creates more focus time for heads-down work, all while feeling a deeper sense of connection and belonging with your team.

To learn more about Range, you can check it out here.

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» Episode 1: Najeeb Khan on Fostering Belonging on Remote Teams

» Episode 2: Hong Quan on Hiring for Remote Teams

» Episode 3: Jori Lallo on Working Effectively Across Timezones

» Episode 4: Suzan Bond on Navigating Conflict on Remote Teams

» Episode 5: Andy Detskas on Building an Inclusive Team

» Episode 6: Steph Mann on reinforcing values on remote teams

» Episode 7: Fred Plais on Globally Distributed Teams

» Episode 8: Brooks Scott on Fostering Diversity and Inclusion on Remote Teams

» Episode 9: Joaquín Roca on Feedback and Performance on Remote Teams

» Episode 10: Douglas Ferguson on Facilitating Large Meetings on Remote Teams

» Episode 11: Nadia De Ala on Managing Up

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» Episode 1: Jen Kim on how startups can hire better

» Episode 2: Kate Heddleston on managing burnout on your team

» Episode 3: Jessie Duan on the Chief of Staff to CTO role

» Episode 4: Dan Na on pushing through friction

» Episode 5: Pat Kua on flavors of tech leadership

» Episode 6: Anna Sulkina on Endurance Sports and Software Engineering

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» Episode 1: Camille Fournier on making boring plans

» Episode 2: Tess Rinearson on early career engineering managers

» Episode 3: Kim Scott on building for systemic justice

» Episode 4: Sumeet Arora on moving on from a big company

» Episode 5: Rachael Stedman on IC manager work

» Episode 6: Chris Bee on Behaviors of Effective Eng Leaders

» Episode 7: Lynne Tye on the Engineering Hiring Landscape

» Episode 8: Beau Lebens on Distributed Team Meetups

» Episode 9: Indrajit Khare on Getting Acquired by Google

» Episode 10: Jack Danger on Technical Debt

» Episode 11: Sarah Milstein on Successful Remote and Hybrid Teams

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» Episode 1: Will Larson on the path of the senior engineer

» Episode 2: Duretti Hirpa on mentoring junior and mid-level engineers

» Episode 3: Cate Huston on working with an external coach

» Episode 4: Juan Pablo Buriticá on common eng manager mistakes

» Episode 5: Gergely Orosz on the decision to go into management

» Episode 6: Lara Hogan on leading effectively in a pandemic

» Episode 7: Kaya Thomas on common early career engineer challenges

» Episode 8: Uma Chingunde on starting a VPE role in a pandemic

» Episode 9: Katie Wilde on supporting your team's mental health

» Episode 10: Akhil Gupta on navigating uncertainty in new roles

» Episode 11: Harper Reed on giving everyone a voice in team meetings

» Episode 12: Marc Hedlund on sponsorship

Jen Dennard and Dan Pupius on Setting Intentional Hybrid Policies
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