We have big news to share with you. TL;DR: We’re moving to a remote-first hybrid model!
• There is no expectation of being in an office on a fixed day; because we are moving to be remote-first, we will not be setting a company-wide “return date.”
• For most roles, Latticians will have the option to be either remote or connected to an office, and we’ll support either based on preference.
• There still will be a small number of roles that need to be connected with an office based on the needs of the team; there will also be many people that choose to be connected to an office because they prefer it.
• We will actively invest in bringing people together to collaborate and build relationships in person; this would be subject to current COVID/health risks and we will be flexible when there are individual limitations or concerns.
• This will still be a journey — not every question will have an answer at this point and it will take time and effort from everyone to build strong remote-first communication and collaboration norms.
Leading With Transparency
The last two years have been quite a journey.
We’ve experienced and learned a lot — as a company, teams, and individuals. We’ve seen the ability of remote teams to perform at very high levels. We’ve seen the benefits of recruiting the best and most diverse talent when we open up our hiring to any location. We’ve learned new ways to create community virtually as well as have seen the particular benefits that in-person time can also bring. With Omicron, societies as a whole are also grappling with a future where COVID is with us for the long term and how we all learn to adapt to that.
We’ve always leaned into full transparency internally. We haven’t had all the answers, but we’ve believed that it’s important to bring you along on the journey as we’ve figured out a complex situation. As I shared in an earlier note, on the spectrum of communication styles between “certain but opaque” and “open and in-process” we’d always aim for the latter.
It hasn’t been easy. As we’ve kept an eye on the constantly shifting COVID landscape, we changed, revised, and edited our plans. We’re an increasingly diverse company and we’ve tried to be thoughtful about the many different circumstances Latticians face. Parents and other caregivers have faced particular challenges. We’ve expanded internationally and also hired nearly 100 Latticians who we already know are going to be full-time. About half of the company started when there wasn’t even an office to go to. It’s a lot to consider.
Trust has always been at the core of our culture. Trust is a result of shared experiences, vulnerable disclosures, and meaningful and authentic relationships. Trust is the foundation for communication, feedback, and healthy conflict. Trust is what will allow us to co-create something new together.
What It Looks Like
Everyone says hybrid work is here to stay, but what hybrid will mean in practice for different companies spans a really wide range. For us, remote-first hybrid means that most roles will have the flexibility to be remote or office-based and most teams will not have any regular expectation that they must be in the office. It also means that for company or broad department programs and norms, we will optimize for a world in which most people are virtual (whether remote or working from home that day).
This is still a hybrid model for a few reasons. First, we’ll still have offices and anyone (whether based in that office or remote) can decide to come into the office and work, subject to vaccination and any other safety measures. As we did during May/June and then Oct/Nov when cases were lower, we’ll also use the offices to support social connections for people to optionally participate in.
Second, there may still be some individual roles or teams that either need to or choose to be based in an office. For example, in EPD we already seek to organize teams based on location preference; when hiring a new engineer, we match them with the team aligned to their preference of being office-based or remote. For office-based teams, the team sets norms about when and how often they come into the office.
Finally, there will still be times that teams gather in person and we’ll invest in supporting that. For example, a leadership team may gather together for an offsite or a cross-functional group may gather together for a planning session. Our ability to do this will fluctuate – several groups had planned in-person gatherings in February but then moved to virtual due to Omicron. We’ll invest in these, and we’ve already substantially increased our 2022 travel budgets in anticipation of this.
In some ways, at least for some teams, this is a big change. And yet in practice, we have basically already been in a remote-first hybrid model since May when we opened the offices. During May & June there was a lot of in-person activity in the office and then when Delta hit we emptied out. In October and November, we gathered for RfH, Halloween parties, and a lot of really good in-person planning. At the moment though, only a few people are in the office and we’re mostly virtual. Throughout the pandemic, many Latticians (including me) have worked from various locations while seeing family or friends.
Positive Impacts for Our Future Team
This approach will open up our ability to recruit candidates from as diverse a group as possible as well as provide options for Latticians, including parents and other caretakers, that best work with the other aspects of their lives. We know that there can be challenges too and that we’ll need to all work to ensure that whether someone is in the office or remote that everyone is included and equally supported in their career here.
Undoubtedly we all have many questions (many of which we will do our best to answer in follow-up FAQ and materials), but many of the most important questions about hybrid won’t be answered by an HR policy. What hybrid looks like in practice – how we communicate, collaborate, and ensure that everyone belongs – is for all of us to create together.
As always, please reach out with thoughts, feedback, and questions.