Work from Pondrom’s Wednesdays: Why Remote First isn’t Remote Only

Written by John Pondrom

August 24, 2022

Since day one here at Cribl, I’ve felt nothing but support — and I love it! As the new guy joining a rapidly growing company at the beginning of 2022, I had some trouble settling in. Not only was I new, but as soon as I was brought on board, two of the people in our newly-three-person department were promoted. Then I began to appreciate the crazy amount of integrations our products have — to this day, I notice that many of the customer issues that pop up are ones that we’re seeing for the first time. Needless to say, it was hard for me to learn all of the tasks that I needed to learn — not because the job required skills I didn’t have already, but because it was just a lot all at once, and I was doing everything remotely. That’s when I had the idea to invite some colleagues over for an impromptu coworking session.

More Collaboration Makes For Happier Customers

My job title here is Senior Technical Account Manager, but my role is simple — customer success. Cribl’s number one priority is putting the customer first, always, which can be hard to do at times because customer support is a team effort, and being remote can sometimes be a challenge for collaboration.

No matter how many Slack messages, emojis, or memes you send to each other, it’s hard to establish context or create emotional connections with your coworkers. Having the people from my team in the same room as me helped us all to do our jobs a little better. It was also a really good time, so we decided to make it a weekly thing. And just like that, Work From Pondrom’s Wednesdays was born!

Cribl is a Remote First, But Not Remote Only Company

We support everyone’s dream of living wherever they want and being able to spend more time with families and friends. But if you want to come into the office or attend quarterly meetings in person, that’s cool, too.

I knew all that coming in, but I was pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming enthusiasm I was met with when I initially proposed hosting some of the Cribl crew at my home. Leadership was into the idea, and I got the same positive feedback from coworkers who live near me in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. There are only about fifteen of us total here in DFW, but there are always at least five or six of us who show up every week.

Going From Just A Few Engineers to The Sales & Leadership Teams

At first, I opened it up just to the support crew. It was a no-brainer for everyone because it gave us a space for that collaboration we were all looking for in order to serve our customers better.

When I’m on a call with a client, and it’s deadline time, it’s much easier for me to turn to someone and say “Hey man, what’s the answer to this?” than to send a message and sit around waiting for an answer. It gives you that immediate feedback or reassurance that you sometimes need when you’re working on tough projects, and we can all build each other up in the process. The reciprocation and ability to easily bounce ideas off of each other goes a long way — it feels good to have that close-knit group nearby, especially when you can all grab dinner and hang out together after work.

A few months after we started getting together, one of our sales leads invited me to jump on a call with a client so I could learn more about our customer’s needs and how we can serve them better. I ended up meeting up in person with everyone from the call, along with a few other people from Cribl, a couple of weeks later for happy hour.

Fast forward to now, and some of those people are now regulars on Wednesdays. It’s no longer just the support crew — we have sales people in and out whenever they aren’t on the road, and even some of the directors are a part of our Work From Pondrom’s crew. It’s at the point now where a majority of people that come aren’t part of my direct team. I even had to buy more tables and chairs so there would be a spot for everyone to sit. Not only that, but because leadership loves what’s happening, they told me to expense lunch for everyone if we order Uber Eats or Doordash.

A Little Support Makes All The Difference

What started as me just wanting some help with my new job and to be around people after two years of the pandemic has blossomed into an incredible space for collaboration and connection. For a lot of people, having the option to get out of the house for one day a week really breaks up the monotony of working at home full time. You can come to get some work done, hang out with some cool people and their dogs, and then all head out for a happy hour or grab some food afterward.

Flexibility is an essential part of the culture at Cribl, which is why we’re remote first, but not remote only. In a world where some companies are forcing their employees to return to the office, we want to encourage everyone to work from wherever they are comfortable, whether it’s a lovely beach, their home office, or the new guy’s living room. Does this culture sound like something you’d like to be a part of? Join us!

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