When COVID hit—which feels like just yesterday and at least a decade ago at the same time—the Far Reach team adapted and made a seamless transition to working from home.
Thankfully, we had become remote ready in the years leading up to 2020, not knowing of course that a global pandemic was coming. In about 2015, we started doing our daily standups on Zoom (even for people who were in the office), got every team member a quality headset, made sure VPN access was fast and easy, and started hiring team members from outside the Cedar Valley.
Through the various stages of the pandemic, team members made their own choices about where to work. Some came into the office once it was safe, while others kept working from home and stayed there.
When the time came last year to decide whether to keep our downtown Cedar Falls office, we had a lot to think about. In the past, the decision was fairly straightforward: we wanted a physical place for our employees and clients to meet and work because we had experienced the benefits of face-to-face interaction for a number of years.
But, as they say, times change and almost three years into the pandemic, we generally only had one or two team members in the office each day and all of our client calls were taking place on Zoom. The conference room was rarely used, the 10+ desks were collecting dust, and most team members were happy and productive working from home. Less drive time, no fighting icy Iowa roads, and working while also being home with the kids on no-school days—not to mention comfy pants, pets, snacks, and all the other benefits of working from home–were powerful factors influencing the team’s decisions about where to work.
The lonely conference room.
At this point, we had hired team members from around the country, and the world had accepted remote meetings as a part of daily life. We knew we’d never go back to being an in-office team. We probably really knew that back in 2015, long before the decision was kind of made for us thanks to the pandemic. Still, embracing the reality of being a fully remote team wasn’t easy. We loved our space in downtown Cedar Falls, having “grown up” there over the course of almost 15 years.
So much room for activities! -Step Brothers
But after getting feedback from the team and looking clear-eyed at the future, the decision was obvious: It was time to say goodbye to 208A Main Street. We disassembled the desks, took down the core value posters, donated our many books, and said goodbye.
We miss having our team all together in one place, but we’ve learned a lot about how to stay connected in a meaningful way across the miles and have been pleasantly surprised by the level of interaction our team can maintain virtually. We consider ourselves lucky to be able to make this choice for our team and our business, knowing it won’t have a negative impact on our clients and the work we do for them.
We’ll always have our memories from 208A, including holiday parties, fun days, birthdays, anniversaries, office dogs, and too many more to name.
I hope the next tenant makes 208A their home and makes as many memories as we did. And if you find any stuffed toy squirrels in the rafters, that’s our bad.