10 Jan 2021 2021 resolution? Going virtual
For a few years now, Spirula has been a partially virtual company. Spirula OÜ – the Estonian company, is a purely virtual one founded using the e-residency program. Its older sister, Spirula Systems – the Egyptian company is partially virtual for around seven years now, as attendance is mandatory for only three days per week. But this changed in 2020, as the whole world changed.
Like everyone else, we moved to work from home. And now, we are taking the next step. We are dropping our office and physical presence in general – except for the minimum required by laws and regulations, of course. Why? There are multiple reasons for that. Some of them have been rooted in Spirula’s culture since the beginning.
Needless to say that the immediate reason for this is our concern about our staff health. Our team is Spirula’s first and only asset; after all, we wouldn’t be able to do anything without our outstanding and reliable team. They manage to lead their jobs and carry on their tasks with the same level of professionalism from their homes’ safety during these critical times.
But that’s not just it. Regardless of COVID-19 now, the whole industry is shifting towards remote work. Almost all companies’ processes are heading towards being virtual companies, whether they acknowledge it or not, and whether the laws and regulations recognize it. Even after the immediate danger of COVID-19 subsides, we foresee this trend will continue. We decided to acknowledge it out loud with practical steps.
Another reason – which is more philosophical – is our belief that Spirula belongs to the digital world more than the physical one. Although we have physical bodies, we are also digital citizens. Our minds belong to cyberspace more than it belongs to the physical world, and we always wanted to soften the physical world’s grip on us. By going virtual, we can be one step closer to being a truly digital company. We will be planning to widen our team beyond borders, adding more diversity and giving equal opportunity to talents around the globe in Spirula regardless of their nationality, location, religion, gender, race, etc. Hopefully, we can truly achieve that soon.
Last but not least, we are lucky to work in a sector thriving due to COVID-19. However, we believe that it’s part of our social responsibility that we divert the money we spend on a physical office to better use when people around us need all the help they can get.
Our decision comes with challenges that we were already facing in 2020. Each team member loses the feeling of togetherness. The current situation dramatically affects the team spirit, the innovation process, the horizontal flow of information, and, more importantly, the individuals’ mental health and social life.
Addressing these challenges is hard, but luckily we live in our beloved coastal city of Alexandria. We will be meeting now and then – as the general health conditions allow – in open areas by the sea. It could be sea-side cafes, well-ventilated co-working spaces, or a place in Egypt’s low-density north coast. We are optimistic that working in sunny open areas by the sea will help. We will explore other online measures such as daily video calls and increasing human interaction to help when we cannot meet or for remote employees.
We see this direction as the future, and we believe most of the companies around us will take this step sooner or later. We hope the laws and regulations in all countries will help the companies in such efforts.