Making Work Work: The Power of Choice
In March 2020, fear turned to reality and the novel coronavirus began to take root in the U.S. Employers of all sizes scrambled to determine how to keep their organizations afloat while keeping their employees safe. At Komodo Health, to support our Dragons and their families during the pandemic, we closed our offices on March 12, 2020.
At that time, over 80% of our Dragons were office-based, and the shift to a fully remote work setting introduced new challenges. In an unpredictable environment, we anchored to our mission to reduce the burden of disease and focused on our values: seeking growth, enjoying the ride, delivering wow, and being awesome. Looking outward, we sought out ways to help address the pandemic. And internally, we recognized that the success of our mission hinges on our ability to stay connected, collaborative, and motivated as a team. So we stayed nimble, listened to each other, and found creative ways to replace in-person interactions with new forms of communication to keep our team connected.
Our co-founders have always prioritized the entire Dragon experience and our leadership team immediately created a Work from Home (WFH) Task Force, which was responsible for maintaining a positive Dragon experience during an unprecedented and challenging time. Our task force helped us identify what was needed to make WFH actually work: connection, collaboration, and communication. Throughout 2020, we learned to enjoy the ride in new ways; we replaced our monthly in-office Town Halls with founder-led weekly All Hands meetings, instituted a “No Meeting Wednesday” to combat Zoom fatigue, and “Flex Friday” to give Dragons a few hours extra of their weekend. We even enjoyed some friendly competition and virtual happy hours!
There’s no doubt this past year and a half has been challenging. Perspectives, priorities and people have changed. At Komodo, we believe in embracing the growth that can come with change. In defining the future of work at Komodo, we’ve listened to our team and made our own organizational changes to reflect the wants and needs of our Dragons.
Our Dragons’ Voices
In May 2020, we recognized that pre-pandemic office life was not returning any time soon, and we committed to keeping our offices closed until our team felt safe and ready to return. As we entered 2021 and vaccines became more widespread, we sought feedback from our team. Would our Dragons want to return to an office at all? If so, how often and in what capacity?
We take feedback seriously at Komodo Health; our team’s voices inform our actions.
So we asked our team and the results were clear with 70% of respondents wanting to return to offices, at least in part. Some wanted to return five days a week, while others wanted just a few days in the office each week. Dragons’ feedback reaffirmed what we knew to be true: our offices provide an irreplaceable source of connection and collaboration that was missed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but folks need the freedom to choose when, how, and if they use the offices.
The Power of Choice
To support our Dragons’ power of choice in where and how they work, Komodo has made three key commitments to the team.
- We’re reopening our offices. Whether a Dragon is based in New York City, San Francisco, or Chicago, those who are eager to collaborate and work together in-person will have the opportunity to do so. We’re monitoring COVID-19 regulations for our Dragons across India, the UK, and the EU to provide them the same opportunity for in-person connection when it’s safe.
- We’re expanding our office presence. Our offices have always been an important source of connection for our team – both to each other and to our communities. As we continue to grow, we’re thrilled to be exploring opportunities to expand our offices in the U.S. and abroad. We love giving back to the cities where we work and live, and look forward to working with our social impact group, Komodo Cares, to build new partnerships with local organizations and universities.
- We’re committing to a remote-friendly Komodo Health. While many of our Dragons are excited to return to an office in some capacity, we recognize that not everyone is or ever will be. The past 15 months have shown us that we can work effectively in a fully distributed manner. Going forward, we will honor our Dragons’ power of choice in whether they return to an office, and we will begin to open the majority of our hiring to flexible locations, whether tied to an office or fully remote.
Remote-Friendly at Komodo Health
Every team defines “remote-friendly” a little bit differently. For Komodo, “remote-friendly” means providing support for our Dragons’ choices, now and in the future.
For our current Dragons, anyone who is currently working remotely can continue to stay remote. All Dragons, even those office-based, will have the choice of when and how frequently they come into the office. All current Dragons who wish to relocate away from a hub location will be able to have that conversation. While we may not be able to support fully remote work for every role at Komodo, we commit to challenging our assumptions by asking “Why not?” before we ask “Why?”
To support our remote friendly commitment going forward, all roles at Komodo will be labeled as either Remote, Location Flexible (within a specific region or commutable to any U.S. office), or Location Specific (tied to a specific office).
We recognize the power of choice and the importance of flexibility and support for the well-being of our company, our customers, and our Dragons. We’re excited to stand side by side, in person and virtually, with our ever-growing team of Dragons, wherever they choose to be.