French organization launched in 2015 and today’s European leader in long distance car rental, Virtuo has experienced significant growth in recent years, counting more than 2,500,000 downloads, 100,000 users and 4,500 cars in 2022. Virtuo has also been recognized for its excellence through several app awards, as well as becoming a member of FrenchTech Top 120.
After raising €96M in 4 years, Viruto has extended its activity to the main European markets, now located in 6 different countries with almost 200 employees, who are spread across several offices in Europe.
Like many businesses, the Covid-19 pandemic has shaken the company’s organizational and labor policies with new challenges, resulting in major changes to the company culture and policies that follow.
After several months of lockdown, during which full-remote was introduced in all the company’s offices, Virtuo finally decided not to return to its pre-pandemic office-first model. Instead, it would adopt a new, more flexible one: the hybrid work model.
18 months later, this new hybrid model brought many advantages to Virtuo, as explained to us by Kataryna Urbanik - Head of People, and Rafaelle Cromières - Office & Event Manager.
Through this new work organization, Virtuo has been able to offer more flexibility to its employees, while maintaining strong bonds within and across teams.
Virtuo's hybrid policy: get visibility, offer flexibility
Before confronted with the pandemic, Virtuo, like most companies, operated with an office-first model. Employees went to the offices every day, and used a platform to book their office in advance.
By transforming into a hybrid organization, employees now have more flexibility in where they choose to work from day-to-day - with a minimum of one team day in the office per week, to maintain cohesion and encourage people to connect in person.
"Hybrid is a great benefit: remote is the rule, and office the exception, it’s much more flexible." - Katarina, Head of people.
Beyond the benefit for the employees of the company, this new way of working has been a real selling point for future employees. At a time when more and more employees seek to have a more harmony across work and life, providing flexibility that enables it - without giving up the social aspect of work - remains a real key to success in this hybrid model of work.
Using hybrid to connect again
The most encountered challenge and perhaps biggest risk of the full remote model is the lack of connection and social interaction it causes between employees. The Virtuo team understood the detriment it caused to organizational creativity, innovation, and cohesion. This is ultimately what prompted company leaders to settle on a hybrid model, rather than full-remote, as others have done.
And yet, even by dividing the time spent in the office each week by 5, the need for social connection quickly emerged as the main challenge of this new way of working.
To avoid endangering their hybrid model, the Virtuo people team set up initiatives to help maintain cohesion and connectivity between and across teams. As Kataryna put it:
"Each team meets once a week in the offices - the day of their choice."
As many recent studies have shown, having in-person team days is the best way to establish and maintain a high degree of cohesion - which positively impacts the entire organization and its efficiency.
Even being remote has a lot of virtue around balance or flexibility, there is nothing to replace in-person contact to maintain social connection and ensure the well-being of employees. This is also one of the reasons the Virtuo team puts a lot of efforts into ensuring that every time they bring people together IRL, the moments are intentional and valuable. They do this through bringing people together through events inspired by collective interests amongst the teams, and by enabling employees to do the same.
"We also organize a lot of events to keep that connection, which is crucial for our teams", - Rafaelle, Office & Event manager says
Thus, Virtuo makes sure to offer its employees more flexibility and balance in their daily organization, without giving up the social aspect of work - which is the main motivation of 8 out of 10 employees who go to the office (Café user questionnaire, 2022).
Holding regular events in an office remains the best way to build an effective hybrid model, as it improves cultural cohesion and social connectivity within and across teams, but it’s also the most complex.
Choosing the right (hybrid) tool
Behind the executional success of many workplace strategies - especially within a hybrid model - lies the process of implementation, most of the time managed through a tool to which all employees have access.
The success of work policies within an organization - and even more so in a complex work model like hybrid - often depends on the process of its implementation, and the company’s ability to apply new rules to employees while improving their employee experience. And often, the choice of the tool to implement and the work policy to set-up is a game changer for Hybrid and remote first organizations.
In order to implement its hybrid work strategy, Virtuo has chosen to partner with Café - following a move from one of the company’s main offices.
While Virtuo was previously equipped with a tool that only managed the booking of workspaces, the arrival of Café in the company has provided employees the visibility across individual and team calendars needed to encourage in-person moments and new connections. Here’s how the Office & Event manager, Rafaelle, describes her experience with Café:
"A very user-friendly platform that allows us to get more visibility on the internal functioning of the office - while staying close to the employees. The possibility to access a team schedule in real time is really practical in our organization."
Another reason for choosing Café as a hybrid tool is the ability to combine several features into one: Café allows users to manage their calendar, create events and book workspaces from a single platform. In addition, Café can be synchronized with other tools: calendars, messaging, and 50+ HRIS.
Café for hybrid Teams
At Café, we truly believe the future of work is hybrid.
We designed the ultimate social hub for hybrid teams, to enable employees to shape their hybrid work styles with flexibility, transparency, and interest-based connections at the forefront of each social interaction.
We help hybrid and remote first companies increase workplace connectivity and build efficient, flexible and thriving cultures.
Boost office connectivity with social moments and create strong connections across teams from your social hub in Café.
Learn more about companies building people-first cultures :
- Veepee: Crafting a successful return to office policy
- Playpug: Building a Hybrid culture in a shared workplace
- Team Vitality: Customize workplace experience with Café public API