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Future of Work Pioneers - Joanna Zak
Hear from a workplace experience expert, Joanna Zak, who shares insights on how to bring a compelling work experience to life while overseeing a safe reopening of their offices.
Over the last two years, we have interviewed 2,000+ Future of Work Pioneers who have shared their insights into new work paradigms. Today we feature Joanna Zak as part of our series. Enjoy!
Joanna Zak is the Director of Workplace Experience at Sprout Social and has worked with the company since 2017. In her role, she is responsible for overseeing the safe reopening and ongoing experience in their US and international offices. She is additionally responsible for advising and executing future iterations of each office as Sprout dives further into its hybrid work model. Prior to working at Sprout, Joanna’s career was focused in the education non-profit sector. She holds a Masters in Public Administration from New York University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan.
How are you approaching your organization’s new work model (in lieu of 9am-5pm | 5 days a week)?
Sprout Social is fully committed to a hybrid work model where people’s work location is determined by what makes the most sense for their respective lifestyles. All of our offices are open and available to our employees. We offer a work-from-home stipend for all employees and are working towards aligning our meeting norms, events, and other operating structures to ensure all Sprout employees have a great experience regardless of location. Since the pandemic, we’ve also launched our monthly “Rest & Recharge” days where the entire company has a day off each month to ensure we’re striking the right work/life balance.
What metrics or other indicators will you be using to measure how your new work model is performing?
We are most focused on understanding how people use our office so that we can take that data and marry it with our overall hybrid structure. We use capacity tracking software, quarterly surveys, and WiFi usage to understand both the quantitative information (numbers, areas occupied) and the qualitative details (how people are experiencing the office).
What does the purpose and vision for an ‘office’ look like from your perspective in the next five years?
"The office is now going to be considered the first place people look for collaboration and socialization. If the office doesn’t meet their needs, they’ll orchestrate offsites or other get-togethers."
And that’s why it’s so critical that we make the space the most conducive and inviting to collaboration that it can possibly be. Gone are the days of 9 - 5 pm heads-down work in the office. People can do that at home and avoid the commute. It’s now about how to satisfy the needs of those that want space to ideate and congregate in person.
What were the top three challenges you faced since Covid hit?
The first is absolutely morale concerns. Everyone’s lives changed overnight and many looked to their employer for certainty, levity, and support. Second would be how to bring people back to the office and together in as safe and simplified a way as possible. And third are all the things that people don’t think of when going remote (what do we do with snail mail, is someone regularly going into the office to ensure things are working, etc…). There were so many tasks that needed to be accounted for in our remote world that weren’t automated when we were out of the office.
What is one tip you’d give to your peers or have you learned from your peers?
"Talk to your network! Everyone is in the “figuring it out” phase and the more information that can be shared the better we will all be."
Can you share one prediction for the Future of Work that you’d strongly bet on?
I feel pretty certain that the office will still be relevant. It will be different, but I disagree with folks who say the “office is dead.”