Better Together (Even When Apart): EFI’s Successful Work from Home Model

Better Together (Even When Apart): EFI’s Successful Work from Home Model Energy Federation Incorporation EFI | Energy Federation Incorporation

Still only a bit more than halfway through the calendar year, 2020 has already been one for the books for the Team EFI. At the start of the New Year, employees were scattered as EFI headquarters went through a remodel. Half the staff worked from the additional office one town over while the rest worked remotely to make the remodel happen as efficiently as possible. This renovation was a paramount achievement as we worked to unite the two Massachusetts offices to form one corporate headquarter.  

The updates to the office wrapped at the end of February and all of EFI’s Massachusetts employees were able to collaborate under one roof! It was thrilling and exciting to settle into the renovated space - we certainly looked forward to saving gas and mileage (not to mention cut our carbon emissions) now that we didn’t have to drive back and forth for meetings!

Be careful what you wish for…
It seems we got more than we bargained for when we aimed to save mileage on our vehicles, though. Just a mere week or two after everyone moved into the refreshed corporate office, the COVID pandemic hit the US and companies all over began closing and moving to a work from home model to keep their employees safe in a scary time.

efi has a successful work from home model in place

Our New Normal
EFI employees have been working from home ever since and adapting to this weird new normal has taught us all many things. The last five months have been challenging but also inspiring as nearly every team at EFI has been forced to think outside the box and pivot to the new way of the world.

With the adoption of using webcams during meetings, the way that EFI teams stay close and connected has expanded greatly from email and Skype chats. Video conferencing has helped keep productivity up and collaborations running smoothly. It also offered some entertainment whenever pets or young family members made surprise cameos! We welcome all - the more the merrier!

EFI employees have also embraced flexibility with working hours. A new practice that began this year is shortened work weeks. With everyone logged off by noon every Friday for the rest of the year, productivity has been up as employees enjoy a few extra hours added to their weekends. Schedules are also naturally flexible while working from home – some enjoy working early mornings while others prefer to stay logged in later in the day.

virtual happy hour helps the efi team stay motivated during COVID-19

Virtual Fun
One way EFI has been successful with the WFH model is to continue to plan fun activities for all employees. EFI has had an activities committee for years. The committee is made up of representatives from every department committed to keeping the fun alive during work hours. Together, the activities committee plans and executes all kinds of fun and exciting events, challenges, and themed days.

With everyone working from home for the foreseeable future, the committee moved quickly to figure out how to continue implementing enjoyable activities virtually. It certainly was a challenge but the committee knew that giving up and ceasing the fun was not an option.

Since early spring - in addition to themed weeks, baking challenges, a contest to find the cutest pet at EFI, and more - the activities committee has hosted numerous weekly virtual events such as coffee breaks, lunch hours, and happy hours.

EFI's 1st ever Cutest Pet Contest bracket

Using web conferencing tools, these virtual hours have been a fantastic way to keep up with each other while working from home. While not the same as being together under one roof, it sure does feel good to share a laugh with a teammate on screen as you each enjoy a coffee in the morning or sip a beer at the end of the day.  

EFI plans to continue the work from home model until January 2021 to ensure the safety of staff and do its part to cease the spread of COVID-19. With the amazing way teams have come together to keep the momentum going this far, it is safe to say the next 6 months or so will fly by quickly and we’ll be back in the office together in what feels like no time at all.

Cheers to all of EFI’s employees for their ongoing hard work and perseverance.  We are, once again, proving just how flexible, smart, imaginative, and super Team EFI really is!

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