As a college student who was in his freshman year at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m well acquainted with the practice of being forced online due to circumstances outside your control. But how many companies choose virtual work without any external factors?
Avid Core is a remote-by-design company. While many were forced to pivot to virtual meetings and home offices at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Avid Core was already prepared.
I talked to Virginia Quiambao Arroyo and Amanda Roberts, Avid Core’s co-founders, about this prescient decision and how they feel it is working nearly three years in. They said they had always planned to be virtual as they anticipated a lot of travel for client work.
“If we’re going to be out of the office weeks out of the month, it doesn’t make sense to make that investment,” Roberts said. “We looked at potentially getting some short-term space, but then the pandemic happened, and we decided to continue being entirely virtual.”
They have no plans to change their current strategy, as it has allowed them to get the best talent, while not being constrained by geography.
“We’ve had full time [team] members and interns in other states, even across the coast in California, so it gives us a mix of options,” Roberts said. “We don’t have to buy office infrastructure, and we can instead invest in our people and ensure we always have a safety net, while overall building a sustainable business.”
The boom of working from home, and consequently often a much more flexible schedule has been a cause for rejoice among those who dislike traditional office schedules. Research has shown that people who are hard-wired to sleep later are forced to battle their body and wake up early when forced to adhere to traditional 9-to-5 work schedules. This can make it difficult to reach full productivity in day-to-day work.
An Italian study focused on office workers during the second wave of COVID-19 concluded that participants working remotely had gained the ability to properly align their work and sleep schedules. In addition, they found that those who considered themselves “night owls” were able to sleep longer and deeper, and even saw decreased symptoms of insomnia and depression.
Avid Core’s policy of asynchronous work allows all team members to figure out what time they need to be online in order to attend meetings while making it work with their preferred schedules.
For Stephanie Mace, Avid Core’s Vice President of Digital Services, working from home has allowed her “to be a better mother and learn more about the public education system,” as she’s found herself able to be more engaged as a parent and as a colleague.
“It brings me so much joy to be able to volunteer to bring fun STEAM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math] activities to my children’s classrooms,” she said. “Seeing my daughters’ faces light up and interacting with their classmates is something I treasure.”
As a business, remote-by-design has allowed Avid Core to work with clients across the continental U.S., simultaneously working on projects in L.A. County, California, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Boise, Idaho. Not only that, Mace said it’s allowed her to reach more potential workplace partners while deepening their meaningful conversations.
“Pre-pandemic it was expected to meet people for coffee or in offices, which required more costs and time to get to/from those meetings,” she said. “In our field, virtual meetings allow us to share screens, use different engagement tools to gather feedback, and overall deliver final products more effectively.”
Working virtually as an Avid Core intern has given me an immense amount of flexibility for where and when to work. Though I most often work at my desk in my apartment, I often take advantage of the asynchronous nature of Avid Core and bring my laptop to the park, to a café, or even just out onto my balcony.
As Amanda Roberts said, “without an office space, we’re forced out of the box.” For Avid Core, that approach has been nothing but successful.
Brennan Fiske is a senior at The George Washington University and the Summer 2022 Strategic Communications Intern at Avid Core. You can find him on LinkedIn.