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The Rotational Regional Remote (R3) Framework
ChurnZero is a fast-growing software company in Washington DC. Like most “knowledge companies,” we are dealing with:
We thought hard about going fully remote but decided to go with a semi-remote schedule, or what we’ve termed Rotational Regional Remote (R3). To start, we divided the company by department and letter group. For example, an employee is assigned to their department (i.e. Sales) as well as a letter group (i.e. Group B). Using combinations of the department and letter groups, we create a rotating remote work schedule. Team members get BOTH face time and 50% work-from-home (WFH) flexibility. The company benefits from a happier and more collaborative workforce and a smaller real estate footprint.
This hybrid model could be an attractive option to knowledge companies looking for balance between in-office and remote work.
ChurnZero is a fast-growing software company with ambitions to be a very large company. This required us to locate in a vibrant metropolitan area with a strong pool of talented people. The downside of being based in a vibrant metropolitan area is the traffic and high costs. For instance, we’re headquartered in Washington, D.C. where traffic is ranked as the second worst in the United States. The time spent in a typical commute is lost time to one’s professional and personal lives. Traffic congestion means that a company’s target talent pool does not span the entire metropolitan area, but rather a smaller, more constricted subregion zoned by untenable commute times.
An expanding company, like ChurnZero, benefits from having a physical office. Our employee base is doubling every year and the development of a strong culture as well as the training and onboarding of new colleagues is made easier with in-person interaction. And some people simply prefer an office environment.
We think ChurnZero is a great place to build a career because we offer compelling work in an interesting industry. But the reality is that we must compete with other great places to work in Washington, D.C., including the entrance of Amazon’s second headquarters.
R3 allows us to attract more candidates across a greater area of the D.C. metro, because of our flexibility and reduced commute time. We have employees whose commutes are over an hour each way. Without R3, these employees may not have decided to be part of our team.
For many professionals, the best perk is having their office be their home office.
We started with implementing a “partially remote” schedule where all employees came into the office 2-3 days a week. This resulted in our office being underused and idle approximately 50% of the time. With the company still supporting home offices with technology and equipment, maintaining an underutilized office space was wasting money.
A partially remote schedule, where the office was empty half the time, did not help employees who:
ChurnZero has four main letter groups and three department groups in R3, but you can vary the number of letter groups or department groups to suit your own needs. Tweak these groups and the schedule to bring in employees more or less often than the 50% that ChurnZero does.
Below is the ChurnZero scheduling cadence for our Monday-Thursday workdays. On Fridays, we bring in one letter group and that rotates on its own schedule.
The schedule allows us to be flexible. For instance, if we are outgrowing our office space and need some time to find a new space, we can add additional letter groups and break departments into smaller units. This will create a smaller population for each day. This same technique would work if you decided to have 40% in office instead of 50%.
As of this writing, ChurnZero’s local governments are still requiring Shelter At Home. But we expect the following changes to our office space when we return: