When shelter in place first slammed down on San Francisco in March, I was eager to return to the Coinbase offices, where I had been a software engineer for the last three years. I missed the close collaboration with my peers, the camaraderie forged over daily lunch conversations and my ergonomic office setup that helped me get stuff done.
But after I invested in a proper desk at home and got into a routine with cooking and groceries, my experience shifted — and I started to experience some of the most productive months of my career.
I am naturally a night owl so I switched my routine to get my coding and deep focus work done at night while cooking, working out and following my personal care routines during the daytime between meetings. I launched multiple growth experiments at Coinbase that had a double digit impact on revenue and I started a Conscious Leadership coaching business on the side.
As I reflected on my experience, I began to realize that the world was already trending towards more distributed, flexible remote work, and that the pandemic put this trend on a rocketship by proving that remote work can be highly productive. More and more knowledge workers want a combination of in-person and remote work, and companies are shrinking their commercial real estate footprints to match decreased interest in daily office commutes.
That’s why I decided to quit my job at Coinbase to start OfficeTogether — to enable the trend toward hybrid offices. OfficeTogether makes it easy to become a hybrid office company with its team office scheduling and capacity management software, integrating your physical space with the Slack, Gcal and the cloud apps you already use.
Mine is not a unique experience. Atlassian reports that 76% of employees avoid the office when they have something they really need to get done, and multiple companies, including Chegg, report that most of the company is as productive or more during shelter in place.
A huge reason for this is that employees hate open floor plan offices. Open floor plans represent ~70% of US offices, but many employees withdraw from the noise, constant interruption and lack of privacy. In 2018, research from Harvard Business School confirmed many people’s felt experiences: The data show that open floor plans decreased face-to-face interactions by 70% while also having a negative impact on productivity and work quality.
That’s why, not far into COVID, companies like Coinbase announced that they would permanently shift to becoming remote and in-office companies. More marquee tech companies (Twitter, Square, Shopify, Brex, Google) soon followed suit with some version of “hybrid offices.”
Like open offices, hybrid offices enable companies to save substantial sums of money on real estate expenses, but without confining employees to a noisy space while they attempt to do deep work. Employees have the flexibility to work from home to do deep work in the environment in which they’re most productive. The office instead becomes a place to socialize with co-workers or collaborate with key individuals, fulfilling the open office’s promise as a place that facilitates creativity and serendipity.
At home, you work out of a virtual office made up of Slack, Google Calendar, and the cloud tools you use. In the physical office, you have desks, conference rooms and perks and benefits like team lunch. I realized that for the hybrid office to work seamlessly, without laborious and frustrating administrative overhead, it needed a software layer to connect the two.
That’s where OfficeTogether comes in.
I left Coinbase over the summer to focus on building an office reservation and scheduling tool designed with hybrid remote offices in mind. Unlike existing desk booking software, OfficeTogether is focused on helping teams plan their time in-office together, while automatically capping the number of employees who can visit the office on any given day.
Additionally, we collect data on how often employees and departments use the space, which feeds into how much commercial real estate is needed long-term and what perks and benefits are most appropriate for employees coming in daily, partially or not at all.
Today, I’m thrilled to announce OfficeTogether’s oversubscribed Seed Round to help companies transition to hybrid offices. We have amazing partners in Defy, Neo, MGV, January Ventures and some incredible angels and advisors who are executives across Coinbase, Rippling, Paypal, Gem, Facebook, Canix and more.
We already have paying customers across the US, Canada and Europe, and are growing quickly! If you’re a talented engineer or want to build critical infrastructure for hybrid remote offices, check out our jobs page.