Working Dynamically: Building a Lasting Community
As the pandemic turns a new corner and many companies share their “return to office” plans, employees are looking for guidance as they navigate this new world. Unlike many other companies, Okta’s “return to office” plans don’t revolve around our physical locations.
While our offices around the world are removing capacity limits and welcoming employees back with open arms, it's important to us that Okta employees have as much choice as possible around if and when they come to the office.
With Dynamic Work, employees are not required to spend a specific number of days in the office or with colleagues. Rather than requiring employees to come onsite on a regular basis, we create environments that employees want to come to and empower them to make that choice. Work schedules are flexible and based on employees’ work preferences, who they need to collaborate with, and how they balance those commitments with their personal life. This enablement includes the trust from leadership that employees will work the schedule they need to successfully get their work done.
How Dynamic Work started
Okta introduced Dynamic Work in 2019 in response to a number of converging trends we were seeing—macroeconomic trends such as the increasing costs of living in cities, tech trends as companies adopted tools to empower employees to work from anywhere, and changing flexibility preferences by the generations making up the majority of today’s workforce.
Then in 2020, the pandemic hit and we moved our operations to fully remote. As we aligned on our “return to office” strategy, we came to understand that what we have been doing for the last two years (working remotely during a pandemic) is not Dynamic Work. We’ve only scratched the surface of what it means to work dynamically and have so much opportunity to expand our footprint, reach incredible talent outside of the markets we have offices in and create a more diverse workforce.
Dynamic Work today
Okta has doubled in size in terms of employees since it initially launched Dynamic Work. By incorporating what we’ve learned over the past two years, we’ve had an opportunity to re-write the playbook on what it means to work flexibly. Dynamic Work is more than enabling employees to work from anywhere, it’s about providing employees with comparable benefits, flexibility, and work environments/experiences in the location that best fits their needs.
So how does this work in practice as some employees return to the office and others prefer to continue working remotely? We think about it in three key ways:
- How employees can engage with one another and maintain company culture
- How we design our physical spaces with sustainability at the forefront
- The technology we provide employees that enables their success—from anywhere
We know that returning to the office isn’t just about productivity. It’s about building long-lasting relationships with team members and creating a stronger community and culture. It’s about promoting equitable working behaviors that empower everyone to work asynchronously, no matter where they are working from. We’re creating opportunities to enable employees to come together to build relationships and connect with others across the company while ensuring those working remotely have an equitable experience and working environment. Our strategies include:
- Launching an app called Atmosphere that provides office information and allows employees to register for a space at a particular location. The app also lets others know when they’ll be in the office so teammates can plan accordingly.
- Offering LiquidSpace hybrid workspace options for employees not located near one of our offices who still want a location to work from and/or collaborate with colleagues.
- Relaunching employee experience programs and services with a fresh menu of equitable programs, benefits, and events for employees, both in-person and virtually.
- Creating dedicated ‘team days’ so when employees choose to come into the office, they know what day they’ll most likely see team members.
- Adopting the technology that enables employees to collaborate effectively from anywhere, such as Google Workspace and Miro.
- Providing a WFH store so employees can expense furniture and technology for their home work station.
- Scheduling regular off-sites. While there’s no requirement for a set amount of time spent in person, we recognize that teams do their best planning and relationship building when they can get together. We encourage teams to connect in person at a regular cadence.
Dynamic Work, responsibly
Acknowledging our commitment to science-based targets (SBTs) for absolute emissions reductions, we encourage teams to select a location to meet in person that avoids, or minimizes, air travel. We also provide employees with "Tips to Go Green on Travel."
As we continue to expand our footprint around the globe, we’ll be in more locations, but with smaller footprints in those locations, with spaces that serve multiple purposes to ensure we’re making the best use of our space. As we grow, we keep sustainability top of mind, redesigning spaces or rethinking utilization to support a lower carbon footprint. Dynamic Work can have a positive impact on our environmental impact and we’re dedicated to building a more sustainable workplace in the future. A few ways we do this is by achieving 100 percent renewable electricity for our global offices, including co-working spaces, global employee work-from-home electricity consumption, and a commitment to energy efficiency with both LEED Silver and WELL Silver certified Okta offices (at a minimum). We’ve also created a Dynamic Work Sustainability Guide to help employees working from home reduce their carbon footprints.
Unique office design
With employees coming and going to the workplace on various days and for various lengths of time, traditional office spaces with rows and rows of desks are a thing of the past. Dynamic Work guides how we design our workplaces today and into the future. Okta offices are now multi-use and centered around the concept of “neighborhoods,” which are zones designed specifically for teams to enable collaboration, community, and culture. There are also settings for individual focus time.
Okta at its core enables people to securely connect to the tools they need to successfully and safely do their work. This means we’ve been built for Dynamic Work from our start. As we continue to expand and grow our employee base and physical footprint, we continue to adopt new tools that enable employees to work asynchronously from anywhere. These tools range from employee portal tools like Simpplr to collaboration tools like Slack and Google Workplace, to communication platforms such as Zoom, to a global recognition platform. All of these tools help employees stay connected to their team, colleagues, and work, regardless of location.
Dynamic Work is truly about maintaining flexibility and choice while maximizing opportunities for engagement and community building. We’ll continue to gather insights on what works and what doesn’t to ensure we’re setting employees up for success. Our employees are our most valuable asset, and ensuring they have what they need to optimize both their personal and professional lives is our top priority.
Interested in working dynamically at Okta? Check out open roles here.