In today’s world, there’s no “one-size fits all” approach to how companies should work. The global health crisis resulting from the coronavirus pandemic has made us all reflect and rethink the status quo in the world of work. In a pre-pandemic world, the standard 9-5 in-office model prevailed - and few called it into question. Today, that way of working is no longer a given.
Businesses around the world have reshaped their working models, and have come up with innovative ways to blend flexibility with the ability to meet in person. At TravelPerk, we believe in the power of real-life interaction among colleagues, and empower companies to bring their teams together face-to-face. Earlier this year we helped LaserHub, which runs a platform for the sheet metal industry, to organize what they’re now calling an “on-site week”. Here’s how it went.
A spotlight on Laserhub
Laserhub is a startup based in Stuttgart. Founded in 2017, Laserhub developed a B2B platform for the sheet metal industry that connects suppliers and customers in a streamlined, efficient way.
Like many companies worldwide, Laserhub followed an office-first model when they first kicked off their operations. With a policy that gave employees the freedom to work from home 1-2 days a week, Laserhub was already fairly ahead of its time in a pre-pandemic world, offering more flexibility than most.
They decided to become a fully remote company when they entered their phase of hypergrowth but still kept their Stuttgart office open for those who wanted or needed to come in and work.
While employees are thrilled with the degree of flexibility their new way of working provides, the vast majority of the team still feels that in-person interaction is an essential part of their professional lives.
Is on-site the new offsite?
The onset of the pandemic brought about a number of new challenges for Laserhub. Like many businesses worldwide, Laserhub had to close its office doors and send everyone back to their homes for their own health and safety. Most notably, their greatest challenge was finding a way to keep their company culture alive.
Even though Laserhub is a remote company, meeting in real life is an important part of who they are. That's why they came up with the concept of an "on-site week" - an event that happens 2-4 times a year where all employees are invited to Laserhub's Stuttgart office.
This week is about more than work, though. It's about the sparks of energy and creativity that happen when people meet in person. Over the course of this week, Laserhub employees engage in workshops, teambuilding events, and other opportunities to foster long-lasting connections in a way that simply wouldn't be possible online.
“When the pandemic came, we had to go to the home office model from one day to the other. We had to implement new formats to keep all the people together, and especially to maintain the culture itself."Verena Rauch, Head of Talent at Laserhub
Why did Laserhub come up with this new concept?
Put simply, because it's what the team wanted. We caught up with a number of LaserHub employees and asked them what they missed most during the pandemic and what they were looking forward to in this new era - here's what they said.
“During the pandemic, we had to work from home and we couldn’t interact with other people. I really missed this human aspect – of course you can see people on a videoconference, but you don’t see the emotions. You just can’t interact the same way.”Ludivine Levaillant, Business Development Manager @ Laserhub
“It’s very important for me to meet my colleagues face-to-face. I’m a person who needs contact with other people.”Beate Przerada, Office Manager @ Laserhub
"What I missed most during the pandemic and meeting people was creating that personal relationship."Rui Felgueiras, Head of Engineering @ Laserhub
How Laserhub uses TravelPerk to bring people together in real life
Laserhub started using TravelPerk in 2020 to make organizing in-person meet-ups easier and more efficient. Before signing up for TravelPerk, Laserhub employees used consumer travel sites to book business trips. They would need to search for their flight or train tickets and accommodation separately, and generate multiple invoices for each. Booking group travel was a challenge, and making any changes or cancelations to a trip was a logistical nightmare.
Now, with TravelPerk, each traveler is able to manage every aspect of their travel itinerary themselves! Beate, Laserhub's Office Manager, can book trips for groups of employees traveling from the same place in just a few clicks. They can all book and manage everything in one place, and get one invoice for the entire trip.
Getting people together in real life just got a whole lot easier for them with TravelPerk!
"It's so much more enjoyable to book travel with TravelPerk, you have a search engine where everything is compared, and I don't have to do expenses!"Radek Srubkowski, Scrum Master @ Laserhub
"The flexibility that comes with TravelPerk is cool. Just this morning a colleague told me she couldn't come to our on-site week, and I had a look to see if I could cancel her trip. There was no problem - I canceled it and it was all OK!"Beate Przerada, Office Manager @ Laserhub