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From Succulents to Social Committees: How Farewill Show Their Remote Team They Care

Hannah Watkins
Hannah Watkins|

One of the biggest challenges companies have been experiencing over the past 12 months is ensuring that remote employees know that they remain front-of-mind, even when they’re out-of-sight.

The pandemic has thrown us all into a brand new way of working, and it’s been no mean feat to adapt. So often, companies who prided themselves on having a friendly, supportive, and sociable team relied on face-to-face interaction to create that culture.

But when obligatory WFH became the norm, that was no longer possible.

As such, the past 12 months has required a huge amount of innovation, creativity, and care—from People and Ops teams in particular—to ensure that employees continue to feel valued when they’re at home. One company making strides in this area is Farewill.

Not only did they have to adapt quickly from an office-centric way of working to being fully remote, their team grew dramatically amid the pandemic—meaning they had to hire and onboard a number of brand new employees, in this brand new context.

We spoke to Tiziana Basilicata, their wonderful Office Assistant, about how they’ve found the whole experience.

Hey Tiziana. First things first, tell us a bit about Farewill!

Farewill was founded in 2015 and is currently based in Haggerston. We are one of the UK’s largest will writing firms and death specialists. Farewill offers easy-to-use online and telephone will-writing, and probation and cremation services at a fraction of the price they traditionally cost. By blending smart technology with outstanding customer service, we’re making everything to do with death easier, faster and fairer for people all over the UK.

We currently have over 100 team members. We’re solicitors, product managers and salespeople; designers, developers and data analysts, all with the shared goal of making things simpler and more accessible for our customers.

Overall, how has the experience of working from home during the pandemic been for the team? 

Like a lot of companies, we had to adapt quickly! Getting everyone set up comfortably at home was our first priority. Then we had to rapidly expand the team to keep up with demand for our services, whilst changing our hiring and onboarding processes for the many new teammates who joined us remotely. 

It has been a long learning curve, and at one time or another, everyone has felt a little isolated. However, the company as a whole has really banded together to try to help as many people as we can during these unprecedented times! 

How has this period of remote working made you re-evaluate your team’s working practices?

Previously, we had optional work-from-home-Wednesdays as standard, and a couple of people in the team who were based remotely but came to the office for a few days every week. In the future, we will have a hybrid approach. We definitely plan to reopen the office for those in the team who want to come in, with the option to work remotely for a percentage of the time. While everyone has proven that they can work well from home, many want to be able to work alongside their colleagues once again in our lovely plant-filled office.

How have you ensured that your team continues to feel valued and motivated whilst working remotely? 

Like most companies, we held our fair share of Zoom quizzes at the beginning of the pandemic! But we wanted to come up with other ways to keep our team connected and motivated. One thing we did was to expand our social committee—we held several remote off-sites for the whole company in 2020 and had an end-of-year Christmas extravaganza…which included our very own Farewill movie!

We also have a wellbeing support line in place, provided by trained counsellors, which can be used by anyone in the team. Our People Team also more than tripled during 2020, and is there to listen to and support the entire company. And to say thank you to everyone and to lift their spirits after a difficult year, we sent everyone a care package with help from Hubble.

What did the care packages include? How did the team respond when they received them?

Our care packages included a small succulent or cacti plant with a pot, gourmet loose tea packs with a tea strainer, a beanie with our logo embroidered on it, a Tony’s Chocolonely bar and a specially printed tea towel with team self-portraits, primary school style, that Hubble kindly accepted delivery of and included in our care packages.

The team LOVED the packages! We had kept them as a surprise (they thought they were just getting the tea towel) and it was lovely to see everyone’s joy at receiving the whole package! Even now, it is so great to see teammates wearing their beanies over Zoom.

Interested in sending your own team a personalised care package, with none of the hassle? Get in touch with us at perks@hubblehq.com and we’ll do all the legwork.

What’s on the cards for Farewill in 2021?

We are expanding, both in size and services! We predict that we will almost double the team and we are launching new products for our customers. It’s a very exciting time to be part of Farewill, and we can’t wait to help more individuals and families where we can.

Thanks Tiziana—best of luck with everything!

Looking for ways to improve your own team’s WFH experience?

At Hubble, we’re constantly uncovering new ways to improve employees’ remote working experiences. That’s why we’ve started building a central hub of the very best virtual socials, treats, and home working supplies we can find. 

And to help as many teams tap into these as possible, we’ll be sharing our favourite discoveries with you, via a dedicated weekly email. Sign up to the Hubble Perks email below to get these awesome ideas straight to  your inbox.

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