How Hurree Made Working From Home Work For Them

A guest post by Hurree’s HR Manager

4th Jul 2022

At Hurree, we pride ourselves on being forward-thinking and innovative; embracing a culture that supports working from home has become a key part of this. Like a lot of other companies, we were mostly office-based prior to the COVID pandemic. During the height of the lockdown, we shifted to a remote working structure. It was a struggle at times, but overall, it was a huge success for the team, so much so that we realised the flexibility that comes with working from home was a game changer.

To provide some context, Hurree is a SaaS company that has always embraced technology and forward thinking ways of working. Our platform is a pinboard for company analytics that brings together data from all of your tools,. User experience has always been at the forefront of our software design process, and we wanted our own internal culture to extend that ethos to our team.

How we shifted to working from home

When restrictions eased and we were allowed back into the office, we didn’t want to force our teams back into an environment where they weren’t able to thrive. We have worked hard to create a culture that embraces and facilitates all types of working - office, hybrid, and remote. 

As the Head of HR, it’s my responsibility to bring all of our teams together, no matter where they are working from. I’ve found that for Hurree, focusing on 5 key elements has allowed us to achieve success: people, support, technology, engagement, and flexibility.

1. Hire the right people

People are our greatest tool and finding the right people who fit the Hurree ethos has been the driving force behind our work from home success. A Harvard Business Review survey found that 41% of managers were skeptical about whether remote workers could remain motivated. At Hurree, we haven’t had that problem as we’ve made it our mission to hire the right people. What does that mean?

Trust is first and foremost what we look for in our employees, even those who are based full time in our Belfast HQ. Can they get on with work without much supervision? Do we trust them to achieve their goals? Are they proactive? If the answer is no, then they are probably not the right fit for Hurree.

2. Support your people

Just because we trust our team doesn’t mean that we leave them to their own devices. Rather than trying to micromanage or scheduling unnecessary meetings just to check up on them, we have created a support network within the company to ensure all employees, especially the fully remote ones, have the support they need. 

This strategy includes:

  • Comprehensive onboarding where we introduce new employees to the entire team, culture, and our ways of working.
  • Regular check-ins with both new and existing staff, just to catch up, chat and make sure they are doing well.
  • Mental health support, mainly through Spill, an all-in-one mental health support service that is accessed easily through Slack. With Spill, the team can book counselling sessions, managers can access training, and we can gauge how the team is doing as a whole, both in terms of mental health and general team morale. 
One thing that a lot of companies overlook when it comes to remote working is that it is still important to actively manage their teams. Out of sight should not equal out of mind. But, bear in mind though that there is a fine line between supporting employees and micromanaging them and we work hard to find the right balance. 

3. Invest in the right tools

Another element that is often overlooked is providing staff the right tools to excel in their roles, no matter where they are. I know, every company has a different budget, but we’ve learned that the one place you shouldn’t cut corners is tools for your teams. Expecting someone to work from a kitchen bench with a folding chair is not something we do at Hurree. We use tools like Slack and Gsuite - accessible and easy to use - to ensure our team can work with relative ease. 

One area where we’ve seen real success is an onboarding survey, giving  our employees the chance to tell us what they need. Some people already have great office set-ups and might only need a laptop, while others need an entirely new set-up. We don’t assume  we know what’s best for them, instead, we invest in a set-up that works for them.

4. Make engagement a top priority

We have employees based all over the UK, from Belfast to Glasgow to Bristol, in office, hybrid, and remote. A big part of the Hurree culture is being a team, and we didn’t want that to change when working from home was introduced. How did we do that? We put engagement at the forefront, starting with our everyday tools, like Slack. Slack is our single source of truth, with nearly all internal communications taking place there. But as you probably know, Slack is so much more than just a messaging app. We use it for everything from trivia challenges - everyday at 3:35pm - to mental health support (as mentioned above). A lot of companies already have the tools to engage their remote employees, they're just not using them effectively. 

At Hurree, we wanted to take engagement beyond Slack. We have a comprehensive internal social events calendar that ranges from an at-home pancake day, bake off competition, to a virtual easter egg hunt, to oculus paintball games in the metaverse. With these events, we focus on ensuring the entire team, including our remote members, can actively participate. 

5. Flexibility doesn’t stop at working from home

You might think that working from home offers all the flexibility that someone needs, but at Hurree, we disagree. Flexibility extends to how you set-up your day and when you work. We believe that people work differently, and that not everyone will fit neatly into a 9-5 box. 

Introducing flexible working hours has been a huge benefit for both our  office and remote employees. And it’s more than just allowing people to pick their work schedule around our core hours (10-4), we ensure that no major meetings are held outside of those hours. How many companies claim they have flexible working hours but then schedule all of their meetings at 4:30pm? That’s hardly flexible working. 

Every company is going to have a different approach to their working from home set-up, but the most important thing to do to make it a success is to invest in your people. If you put your people at the centre, you will create a culture that will allow your strategy to excel.