At Credera, we’ve always believed we’re better together. Our mission as a firm to make an extraordinary impact on our people, our clients, and our communities is truly contingent on the connections built between our people and our clients.
The pandemic has forced us to figure out what that means with remote work as a regular reality. How do we maintain those connections across distances? What have we learned from this time that we want to apply to a post-pandemic future?
After a lot of research and reflection, we’ve developed Credera’s Flexible Connection model to begin to answer those questions.
Credera’s Working Model History
Prior to the pandemic, most Credera employees worked from a Credera or client office five days a week. It was never because we questioned their work ethic or didn’t trust our people, but we believed this in-person collaboration gave our teams the best opportunities to build connections, both within the firm and with our clients.
The pandemic has changed us though. Working from home these past 18 months has shown us how teams, when given the right resources, can operate effectively when they aren’t allowed the opportunity to be in person. It’s proven we can be fully remote, but still grow our company and the careers of our employees.
And personally, it’s allowed me the opportunity to be a more present mother even during traditional business hours and to build stronger connections with my team members in other cities.
The pandemic has created space to see the opportunities of a totally new style of working, but as we’ve all experienced, a fully remote model still has its drawbacks. As much as we’ve tried, Teams calls can’t replicate the dynamics of working side by side in the same room all day or the benefits of a chance hallway encounter.
Deciding on Credera’s Future of Work
To deal with these realities, Credera created a working team during the summer of 2020 dedicated to exploring our future of work. What needed to change post-pandemic? What needed to return to “normal” (if there was a normal!)?
We started by researching what other companies were thinking (curiously, most either weren’t saying much at the time or were making bold “work from anywhere, forever” statements).
We looked at studies on productivity and employee satisfaction done with companies that had fully remote models before the pandemic to see how those companies successfully combated the drawbacks of remote work.
We also talked to focus groups of our employees to learn what they were trying out organically, what things they missed the most about being in person, and what they hoped for in the future of work.
Every angle we explored led us back to a few key conclusions:
The consistent feedback we received is that most employees believed they would thrive with a combination of remote and in-person time, but finding this balance would be new for us.
In the client-focused world of consulting, we determined it would not be effective to prescribe fixed hybrid schedules for Credera employees (e.g., everybody in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays).
If we moved to a more flexible model, we wanted to protect the flexibility of all. If we allowed for individual employees to fully set their own personal schedules for in-office versus remote time, employees may find it difficult to plan remote time as they accommodate the needs other employees’ unique schedules. Needing to individually align schedules would erode their flexibility.
Each Credera employee naturally belongs to a team—a project team on a client engagement or a department team for our corporate employees—and those teams are Credera’s lowest common denominator for effective scheduling.
After evaluating these insights, we combined these team-based conclusions with a healthy dose of Credera’s core values and scenario planning to define Credera’s approach to hybrid work.
This is how Credera’s Flexible Connection model was born.
Unpacking Flexible Connection
I’m excited to introduce our work model, Flexible Connection, which is focused on living out our people first core value by balancing flexibility for our people, building meaningful connections, and delivering exceptional client service.
As discussed, the team is the core group of this model.
How does this play out?
No set schedule: There is no one-size-fits-all solution to flexibility or connection for Credera employees, which is why we aren’t requiring a set schedule. Each employee has unique needs and preferences to consider, and Credera is allowing team members to determine when and how they work based on those preferences. Flexible Connection will look different for different teams and even for individuals on the same team.
How is that decision made?
Team based scheduling: Team members work with their project teams to make inclusive decisions about where they work and to establish core collaborative working hours—whether that’s fully in person, fully remote, or some combination of the two.
At the same time, the model shouldn’t be seen as a one-sided freedom for each Credera employee to set personal work locations and time. Flexibility is a harmony between Credera’s needs and the individual needs of each Credera team member.
How else can employees connect?
Local offices as cultural hubs: Underpinning the team-based scheduling, our local offices will be our cultural hubs, providing opportunities to connect with other local Credera employees outside of their project teams. Outside of the team’s designated in-person time, employees can choose to work from a Credera office if there’s an opportunity to connect locally.
Four Pillars of Flexible Connection
There are four main pillars of this model. Our leaders use these pillars as a guide when deciding on the logistics of team meetings or group events.
Teams can set any schedule for when and where they work that allows the team to work effectively with each other and our clients.
Some potential schedules might include:
A development team with three people from the same office may choose to work together in a team room on the first and last day of each sprint and every Thursday.
A team located across the country might set a milestone schedule with their client to travel to work in-person at the client’s office for key weeks in the project (e.g., project kickoff, testing for major releases, etc.) and work remotely the rest of the time.
For a project with work that requires a lot of individual focus time, a team might set a core hours schedule to hold all meetings between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and allow team members to set their own focus time hours outside that window. This schedule might also benefit a parent who wants to pick up their kids from school and plan their focus time for after the kids are in bed.
Hearing From Our People
We rolled out Flexible Connection to the entire US Credera team in July 2021. Even with the pandemic continuing to limit some of our options, we’ve seen the principles of Flexible Connection have a positive impact on our teams.
A few of our people share how Flexible Connection has impacted them:
“When I told five Credera leaders in April that I wanted to spend the back half of 2021 working across Latin America, I was nervous. I wondered what concerns they might have. However, today I’m grateful to share that the unanimous, immediate reaction was, ‘Heck yes—you have to do that.’ Credera has proven to me on a daily basis that our value of people first is more than just great branding: Before we are consultants, technologists, and designers, we are people. We are people with loving families, cool hobbies, hidden talents, and hopes and dreams that are valued by Credera.”
- Ileana Martinez, Management Consulting
“Credera’s Flexible Connection model, as the name suggests, will continue to flex. Today it means conference calls where everyone, even the people who meet in person, have joined from their laptops so everyone can see who is talking. It means providing people options: Maybe today you’re busy so you join the meeting remotely, but next time you come into the office for lunch with your team or happy hour after the meeting. It means working with our clients to help them understand that we aren’t going back to the old way, and why they’re going to benefit just like our employees have.”
- Garrison Neely, Technology Consulting
“Credera’s plan for a Flexible Connection model is an excellent practice for our rapidly changing world. On one project, I was based in London while the rest of my team was scattered across four different time zones. They key to our success was communication. We spoke candidly, scheduled meetings by playing Tetris across open meeting slots, and planned according to who was working at what time. This new model has boosted our efficiency and not only did we deliver a better product for our clients, but it’s helped build our team be better for every deliverable that came after.”
- Martin Jones, Experience Design
Credera's strategy has always focused on the connections built between our people and our clients. We’re proud of that focus. But we’re also thankful for the ways we’ve grown and evolved due to the pandemic.
We know things will continue to change—no one knows exactly what the future of work will hold. But we’re confident the future of Credera will allow flexibility for our people while still creating opportunities to build strong connections.
Whether it's an in-person strategy meeting with a client, a lunch with a co-worker, or a virtual coffee chat, we are truly better together.
To learn more about our Flexible Connection model, read The Future of Work: Why Something Has to Change.
Interested in Working at Credera?
Is this way of thinking and working through challenges interesting to you? Are you looking for a new career that allows more flexibility?
We help both new and experienced professionals take the next bold step in their careers. If you are seeking a similar opportunity in a fast-growing, global firm, we encourage you to check out our open opportunities.
Additionally, explore what our employees are saying candidly on Glassdoor.com.