It’s been over a year since the world as we knew it shut down and the age of COVID-19 was ushered in. We’ve been wearing masks everywhere we go, distancing ourselves from others, and replacing handshakes with elbow bumps. Naturally, as the pandemic has touched our personal lives, it’s affected our working lives as well. Yet, not much has changed for our friends and clients at Next Door Photos who have been working remotely for years – which makes us think they saw this coming and only reaffirms our suspicions that they might be time travelers. 

In November 2018, Next Door Photos launched an experiment called “No-Show November” where they asked their in-office teammates to work from home for five weeks. The real estate media/photography company took its meetings to virtual conference rooms and its office scattered to couches, coffee shops, and home offices that were once “home gyms.”

This cultural shift was not brought about by a pandemic, but rather a problem we can all relate to from the past year, a disconnect from community. 

Originally, Next Door Photos was a hybrid workspace. That means some teammates were having chats around the watercooler and others chatted with their pets while working from home. The problem: cats don’t always make great conversation. Company leaders slowly realized a disconnect between the at-home teammates and those in the office. Workers at home wanted to chat about weekends and life, while in-person teammates had enough of that around the office and sought to be productive during online meetings.

In a move of intuitive leadership, “No-Show November” was created to test-run a completely virtual office. By the end of the five weeks, Next Door Photos found that sending teammates home fostered a balanced work environment for everyone, allowing them to socialize during online meetings and shut out distractions when needed. It closed the frustrating social gap between those online and those in person and made everyone feel more connected.

Over the last year, we’ve all had a taste of how difficult it can be to maintain a healthy work community when we aren’t face to face. Our own experiences in 2020 have made us admire the communication feat that Next Door Photos has pulled off even before the pandemic. So, to our time-traveling friends, we’d like to say thank you for teaching us how to stay connected even when we’re apart.

To learn more about the psychics at Next Door Photos, click here.