When you think of bootstrapped SaaS companies that operate at scale, Mailchimp is one of the first names that would cross your mind. They make $1bn in annual revenue from their products while still being completely owned by the founders!
To top it all, Intuit is in talks to buy Mailchimp for >$10 bn 🤑 But that's not what we will be talking about today. Our discussion point is the new hybrid working framework they plan to implement starting 2022.
Learning from the great work-from-home experiment
In Jan 2021, Mailchimp published a great post on how the Covid induced work from home has changed their perspective around how work happens.
In a nutshell, they had this to say:
1) Wellbeing and burnout
They accepted openly that the pandemic has had serious mental health repercussions on employees. There has been a blurring of the line between work and play and it's important for employers to be flexible.
Not just in words, Mailchimp put this into action by giving a week off to everyone twice in a span of 7 months.
2) Asynchronous work
As with most others, they started with lots of video calls, meetings & message exchanges only to realise that there's a better way to increase productivity in a remote setting - asynchronous work.
They also nicely pointed out that while tools like Threads & Twist are great, implementing async is mostly about good habits and expectations that must come from the leaders.
3) Company culture
Mailchimp rightly pointed out that company culture is more experienced than articulated. Hence, it's tougher to enforce it in the absence of a central workplace.
However, office is just a place of gathering and company culture can thrive well in a remote setting provided that leaders direct company resources into creating a positive environment.
Of course, given this realisation, a huge move in the way of working for Mailchimp was very much expected.
A flexible first framework with four work options
Mailchimp decided to opt for the hybrid working model, but the choice wasn't a forced one. Rather it was based on the inputs from employees and offers them the choice of picking one that suits them the best.
WFH: Full remote working with occasional office visits throughout the year. Employees can also book a desk at the office location they visit.
HomeFlex: 2 days/week in the office, while the rest are work from home days. Employees can book a desk at their local office along with the entire setup - monitor, keyboard etc.
OfficeFlex: 3+ days/week in the office, while the rest are work from home days. Employees will have a dedicated desk at their local office.
Office: This is their usual work setup before the pandemic with the additional option of occasionally working from home.
Mailchimp probably has got hybrid working right
The hybrid model that Mailchimp plans to implement offers complete flexibility and choice to employees. They can decide what kind of working suits them the best.
However, hybrid working, particularly with such flexibility, is going to be a huge challenge to implement. We will have to see how Mailchimp tackles these challenges and the changes it implements.
For now, however, Mailchimp's original return-to-office plans in late 2021 (for those who are not fully remote) have been pushed again, now to 2022, due to the Covid Delta variant.
Here's what our users had to say:
Rachel said "❤️mailchimp's approach. great model for others."
Hrishikesh Pardeshi said "Yes! I really like how they are focusing on flexibility and offering the choice to employees vs. managers. Hope they are able to execute well too."