Post-covid recruitment: lose the commute – keep the community

by Ned Hallett
Published on February 2021

Covid-19 has shown us two things:

  1.  You can lose the commute, and keep the community
  2.  Tech-enabled (and most modern businesses) can work just as well made up of people talking and collaborating from their living rooms, as people talking and collaborating from their desks

And this has meant we’re thinking differently about recruitment. 

A lot has come together to lead us to these conclusions, but two of the most important examples are:

Incident management

At Just After Midnight, we’ve built our reputation on supporting complex, distributed mission-critical applications, and resolving any issues that come up fast.

We’ve even developed our own platform for this – Mission Control  – which combines every disparate element and service into a single bird’s-eye view, allowing us to triage and remediate where needed.

And really, this has meant we were, unaware, preparing for something like lockdown all along.

JAM Singapore Team
Team Singapore outside our office

Because we were already set up to monitor far-flung systems, and to coordinate this across three continents, doing so from a couch as opposed to a desk didn’t really present much of a challenge. We’d already been working with a system that connected everyone to the view they needed, anyway.

And with a little extra help from the platforms everyone’s using – Slack, Zoom, etc – we were able to handle the transition without a hitch,  in some cases even improving performance.

Everything else followed the same pattern, from resolving tickets to drawing up SLAs – anything could be done from home.

‘It worked easily from the start, I mean obviously I missed seeing the team, but half the time I was resolving incidents, I was chatting with people in different timezones, looking at data pulled in from cloud-based resources – I just didn’t need to be in the office to do that,’ Anjali, Customer Success Manager.

Virtual events, chats and community building

A virtual cocktail class from our desks

The harder challenge was how to keep the people and personalities that drove our services together. It’s one thing to send data down a fibreoptic cable halfway across the world, but at the risk of sounding schmaltzy, some things just don’t transmit as well.

For this, we really leant in, not only to stand-ups and virtual meetings, but to global and local online events that built community.

We held wine tastings, escape rooms and quizzes, and while obviously nothing is exactly the same as face-to-face, we found that a new, more global, more inclusive type of community and culture sprang out of these events.

Which is just a fancy way of saying people apart could feel together.

What this means for recruitment

Through these discoveries, a new vision of work has evolved. This is true for us, and it’s true for a lot of companies undergoing the same changes.

We think the risk is that by embracing this new too fast, we might lose something of the old way of doing things, and that’s why our vision is a balance of things we learned, and things we already knew.

JAM Singapore team member Richard in Dalat, Vietnam
Richard works remotely from Vietnam but is a part of our Singapore Team.

Some people love being in the office. And that’s great. Some people are digital nomads. And that’s great too.

What we need to do going forward – equipped with the tools and systems that mean we really can work from anywhere – is create a company where both these people, and everyone in between, feels at home.

In the future, we believe businesses that can let people with different styles play together, give them a sense of belonging, and give them the technology they need to work decentrally, will thrive.

And that’s who we want to be.

If that sounds good, we’d  love to hear from you.

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