The change to remote and hybrid work represents another paradigm shift in the business world. Some companies feel that company culture and collaboration are lost when employees don’t work in an office full-time. But at Progressive, we think culture and collaboration aren’t confined to the four walls of a building.
And, like so many other changes before it, we see it as a new opportunity.
Building up and letting go
Changes in the marketplace require new perspectives. It’s no different with company culture. Maintaining a high performing culture in a remote or hybrid world means building up certain things and letting go of others.
Progressive built up our technology so a big company like ours could work from home and interact via video conferencing. We also increased our streaming capabilities for large-scale communication meetings. These investments provided us with the tools we need to connect with anyone, anywhere.
In addition, we also let go of the notion that connection only happens in proximity. It was easy to check in with people in the office. Now it takes more intentionality; if you want to connect, you purposefully make time to meet with someone. That’s not to say our teams don’t gather from time to time—interacting with others in person is a basic human need. But when it comes to connecting, we’ve learned that intentionality is more important than proximity.
The point is this: Strong company cultures don’t fade in a remote world. They adapt; they change. But they don’t fade. And a strong culture leads to better employee engagement, better retention, and ultimately better performance.
The power of flexibility
I’ve always valued flexibility in the workplace. And from what we’ve learned from our internal surveys, Progressive employees do, too. When you have flexibility, you can adjust your work to the speed of life.
I’m currently writing this while experiencing a severe weather warning at my home in Florida. In between meetings, I ran outside in the driving rain to bring in my outdoor furniture and make sure the house was secure. As unusual as it was to start my next meeting in soaking wet clothes, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would’ve been like if I wasn’t working from home. I’m sure I would’ve been at the office wondering if our house was okay rather than knowing everything was taken care of.
I’m sure many of you have stories of how your work-life balance has improved while working remotely. That's because when the workday is done it’s easier to get to your child’s activity, care for a family member, or even volunteer in your community when you're already home.
This level of flexibility makes us better employees because we don’t have to choose between our jobs and our lives. We can make time to do both well.
The trade-off is worth it
Undoubtedly, there is a trade-off with remote work. The in-person experience has existed for so long because there are definite advantages to working in the same space. In fact, Progressive has decided hybrid work (which, depending on the role, consists of a certain number of days in the office each month) is necessary for some of our positions. But that’s not to say remote work is inferior. It actually gives us back something we often lost working at an office.
I’ve been able to repurpose the time I once used to commute to be more productive. I also save additional time by not having to get ready to go to the office. And since my meetings are virtual, I don’t have to find an available conference room or factor in travel time to get to my meetings. This gives me more focused time to devote to my work, which—to me—is a worthy trade-off.
Change brings new opportunities
At Progressive, the last few years have been an exercise in examining what our roles need in a work environment. For some positions, we learned that hybrid work is essential. But for others, we discovered that remote work has its place. And I believe that embracing this new way of thinking has made Progressive better.
We are strengthening our culture by becoming more intentional. We are increasing work-life balance and freeing up time to be more productive. We are purposefully connecting in person to collaborate, develop, serve together in our communities, and share a laugh or two over a potluck. And we are continuing to grow our careers, as evidenced by the thousands of employees who have made internal job moves over the last few years to roles that previously had geographic constraints.
Every change brings new opportunities—and remote work is an opportunity that’s too good for us to pass up. If that’s appealing to you, check out Progressive’s job listings and see if there’s a remote or hybrid position among our available jobs that interests you.