The future of work at Thumbtack is virtual, library-style study spaces and camp outings

Barring any new surprises, it looks like businesses are on track for a return to the office. There is a segment of the workforce that wants to stay remote only. Meanwhile, tech companies are championing a hybrid model — spending two or three days a week in the office and the rest at home or elsewhere — and Wall Street banks are requiring people to be in the office five days a week.

Some forward-looking companies offer a unique value proposition to their employees. Jelena Djordjevic, vice president of human resources at Thumbtack, a home-based management platform that connects owners to skilled workers, offers her perspective on the company’s workplace culture programs.

At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Thumbtack transitioned to a remote workforce and offered its staff the flexibility to work wherever they wanted. As time passed and the virus began to subside, the company sent out surveys to gauge the desired work style of its employees. They overwhelmingly preferred a flexible remote model.

Thumbtack has adopted a virtual-first model for its more than 1,000 employees, operating remotely in more than 35 states. The company favors a flexible, fair and inclusive work environment. Djordjevic said that by offering a remote-first program, they will be able to recruit talent from across the United States and other countries to cultivate a diverse and inclusive virtual workplace, with employees living in the same communities as the customers and the artisan they serve.

Staplers have the freedom to decide where they want to live and work. This model allows employees to have a better quality of life, while pursuing their professional ambitions. Conversely, if the company had implemented a hybrid model, there would be issues with proximity bias and people would feel left out of the conversation because they are not in the office and are only seen in video.

The owner’s tech app has adopted a “library” style office space in San Francisco that will be rolled out in other cities. The library is a “non-office” aimed at complementing and reinforcing the first virtual culture. The bespoke space has been personalized for socializing, in-person connections and virtual work. It mostly mimics a university library, where you can work without a lot of background noise and interference.

These new workspaces will not be traditional old-fashioned offices. Instead, they will serve as individual workspaces with the ability to join meetings and a way to take a break from being home. The company plans Thumbtack libraries in San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Manila, Toronto and other cities. As the company launches new locations, the intriguing concept offers two unique features, one for hosting larger gatherings and socializing, the other dedicated to self-employment, day-to-day.

Thumbtack plans to create high-quality in-person events to unite people. The company presents Camp Thumbtack. The mission is to provide in-person connections to cultivate a deeper sense of connection, build relationships, provide opportunities for career growth, and most importantly, have fun together at events hosted outside of an office.

Thumbtack will regularly bring teams together for events and off-site. These gatherings will focus on team-wide or project-specific meetings, such as design sprints, product launches, leadership team development, and strategic planning. Most team members will attend two to four times a year, and senior leaders will meet more frequently.

They will also meet each year for Camp Thumbtack. The days at Camp Thumbtack will be filled with meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones. Some of the events will include a company-wide scavenger hunt, activities around common interests, such as cooking classes and quizzes, employee resource groups meeting in person and attending guest speakers and panel discussions, as well as talks for launches and product launches.

The goal is for everyone to leave camp with a stronger sense of community, belonging, deeper relationships and personal growth.

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