Over the past week, our move team helped set up our new office. We had a beautiful mural designed by our talented Truvetan Marisa Ling and painted by Leo Shallat, which will serve as a focal point of inspiration for Truvetans.
We created collaboration areas for teams to meet and whiteboard together. We set up many conference rooms to enable teams to meet together and virtually at the same time – hybrid style. And, we stocked snacks, coffee, tea, and other amenities to make Truveta HQ a comfortable place to visit. While getting the office ready for our teammates, our move team made some incredible memories together.
Building a company during COVID-19
The decision to have an office is not one we made lightly. Building a company from the ground-up during a pandemic is challenging for many reasons – for all of us, how we work has been disrupted.
In some ways, largely having a remote workforce has been a fascinating way to get to know each other. We see each other’s favorite books on bookshelves, meet kids that pop into Teams calls, learn which dogs will bark at each other – connected via our screens. We have accomplished so much largely virtually – building Truveta together and along with our many health system members.
We have celebrated two New Year’s/holidays now on Teams with trivia games and a virtual scavenger hunt. Same for Halloween costume sharing. And our team meetings, where now, nearly 150 of us come together each week. And, for many of us, we have missed the human connection.
For the last year, we were fortunate to have a small lease of space alongside our member Providence and some of us have used this space over the last year. We have been so grateful for the opportunity to use some of their office space. A small set of employees typically used the space, but we have had a few moments where the bulk of the team has come together – and it has been magical.
Moments when we’ve come together
First, there were about a dozen of us early Truvetans who met for the first time to play frisbee golf. Then, we had a calm COVID window where we had pizza and games at the office. A few of my favorite moments were at our brand unveil day (where about 60 of us came together in person to enjoy an outdoor lunch, along with virtual activities for all Truvetans) and a special lunch in celebration of Diwali. In these moments, we met our teammates, laughed, chatted, and bonded.
A big decision
Of course, there is so much research and reporting on the future of work right now with many opinions – the traditional office is dead, hybrid is the way, etc. We really pondered whether to get an office. We polled our employees – multiple times – to understand what space they would like, if any. We watched the market, we read endlessly, we watched what decisions other companies are making. One of our values is Freedom with Responsibility, with a focus on frugal responsibility. Office space is expensive. We looked at many, many offices. Some with tremendous potential – some…not so much😊.
Embracing a hybrid model
Ultimately, we decided to make the best bet for Truvetans. For us, it is a hybrid model, grounded in our values.
- We embrace a remote-first work environment. Over 30% of our Truvetans live outside the Seattle area. We are fortunate to recruit great talent from anywhere and our company is better for it. Maintaining an inclusive work environment will remain a top priority – both for work and fun. Our meetings will remain hybrid, welcoming participation from those via Teams and in person.
- We will create a great home for Truvetans who want to use it. Many of our employees have told us they miss having a collaborative, engaging, and productive office. As more of us have gotten more comfortable living with the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re ready to come together more frequently. For many of us, this will be several times a week. Our latest poll shows that 2/3 of local Truvetans plan to use the office, many around three times a week. But we’ll have no requirements – the space is here to use, but not required to attend.
- We’ll invite our remote-based employees to visit and rally around quarterly Planning Weeks, where we hope to bring most of us together for productive planning and some fun.
Along the way, we’ll learn a lot. The world continues to be unpredictable. But, we believe there is power in human connection, collaboration and creativity can flourish in person and with thoughtful integration of remote employees. Many of us are really excited to leave our homes a few days a week!
Toward the end of the week, as I walked through the space, I watched teams enjoying pizza together during a break, playing ping-pong and pool together, holding productive hybrid meetings, and excitedly setting up our new space. It felt energizing, exciting, and dare I say….a glimpse of the best of what we hope will become a “new normal” for work.
I am super grateful to our move team – setting up a new office is no small feat. A big shout-out to our move leader, Annie Spencer, and many Truvetans who pitched in to help make the space great including – Alisha Mark, Deb Nielsen, Fabien Mousseau, John Dycus, Oscar Papel, Pradeep Surukanti, Ryan Della, Sarah Climaco and Terry Myerson.
Truvetans, welcome to Truveta HQ!