As at many startups, Gergana Srebkova-Kiranova, the Head of People and Culture in Tide’s Sofia, Bulgaria office, quickly found herself having to pivot when the COVID-19 pandemic first started. She went from leading Sofian people ops in a 100% in-person office culture to supporting a COVID-mandated remote working setup for all 600+ Tide employees.
“We’ve only had an office in Sofia for a year and a half,” shared Gergana, “So we are working mainly on developing the teams and setting all the processes and procedures that we didn’t have a year ago.”
Pre-COVID, Tide’s London office served as the company’s HQ.
Now a year into the pandemic (and a year into the remote-working experiment), The Tide team is looking to transition the Sofia office to not only a hybrid-office model but the largest office.
“Our main focus this year is to hire at least 150 people in Sofia in 2021,” says Gergana. “Currently, we’re working fully remote. So far, not many people are willing to come back to the office. We are working on a plan to make the office space more attractive so that we can bring people back onsite.”
With aggressive hiring and people operations goals, it didn’t help that Gergana’s processes and tools required hours of manual work and time-intensive tasks per week, per office.
In fact, to complete health checks and keep employees safe while in the office, the Tide people ops team relied on Google Forms, spending 30 minutes or more each day manually copying and pasting the form responses into Envoy, Slack, etc.
Gergana continued, “We were asking [team members] to sign up before coming to the office, and we were approving that manually. When someone wants to come, we see that in a Google Form, and we approach them manually through our Slack channel and say if they’re fine to go or not. So, we were checking every person, whether they feel fine, whether they were in contact with a COVID-positive person in the last ten days, and having enough capacity in the office. All that work was done manually.”
This manual process created the opportunity for human error; as Gergana added, “There was also always a risk of someone not filling out the Google Form, and you cannot track that. So it was more based on trust.”
How OfficeTogether Helped Tide Return to the Office
Tired of the back-and-forth communication and time-intensive manual work managing dozens of Google forms, the Tide team was desperate for a better solution for their Bulgaria office and their London HQ and India satellite offices.
“Now, when we are using OfficeTogether, all of the manual tasks are gone,” says Gergana. “We’re just making sure that people are taking their health checks before they arrive in the office. Plus, it’s much easier, and people love doing it. You don’t have to push them to do it. They just go into OfficeTogether, sign in, and enjoy seeing who else will be in the office, which was not visible in the form we were using.”
“So, it was a huge relief for us to implement OfficeTogether.”
Head of People and Culture, Tide
Using clear communication and insightful data to inform business decisions
Internal communication is crucial for a growing company, and tools that provide audience segmentation capabilities are essential as we begin to navigate the post-COVID office return. The OfficeTogether software makes it easy to message only the people in the office on a given day.
“For example, recently, we had a case with a COVID positive person. Instead of digging into the Google Form, I just clicked on that specific date in OfficeTogether, and it allows you to send an email to every single person that was in the office that same day,” says Gergana. “It was very easy to inform everyone that they were in contact with a COVID-positive person. And, we managed to handle the situation very fast. We isolated all of them for a week. It’s helping us to keep the team safe and to avoid spreading infections among the team members.”