trivago goes hybrid: Intro to our hybrid work model
tldr: At trivago, we strongly believe in employee equivalence, inclusion and peer relationships, so we set a baseline consisting of at least four on-campus days per month. Our team-by-team approach allows individual teams to decide when it is ideal for them to commute to campus and collaborate in person. Our hybrid work model is based on trust instead of strict rules or guidelines.
Our journey to hybrid work
The most fundamental change that the COVID crisis has brought to the world is the way we work. Though trivago has proudly offered flexible working hours, vacation days and the opportunity to occasionally work from home since we were founded in 2005. During the pandemic we were amazed to see how our talents handled the remote setup, and we also saw an increase in productivity and improved work-life balance.
We understood that talents could spend more time with their families and have enough focus time while working on independent tasks that don’t require much in-person collaboration. Nonetheless, working fully remote came at the cost of not being able to meet with our colleagues on regular basis, bumping into each other in the hallway, grabbing a spontaneous coffee, and just having informal chats at the Barista Bar or in one of our kitchens. Moreover, our team comes from 80 different countries and we feel this special energy when we’re all under one roof at our campus in Düsseldorf.
The decision-making process
We firmly believe in employee participation in decision-making whenever an organizational change is required. We developed and sent a survey across the company to collect our talents’ buy-in on what the future of work at trivago should look like. Surprisingly, more than 80% of our talents showed their interest in coming back to campus on at least bi-weekly basis.
We developed our initial proposal and held a workshop with our team leads across the organization to assess the proposal’s feasibility. We adjusted the model according to their feedback and we are ready to roll it out this April. Our model was received very positively and we cannot wait to welcome our talents back to campus.
Hybrid set-up in practice
Our hybrid set-up is based on a team-by-team approach as we have realized that different teams within trivago have different needs. There are teams that need to be present on campus due to the nature of their job, e.g., our Campus Team and IT Support. On the other hand, we have teams that don’t require much in-person interaction. These teams have the advantage of additional flexibility, meaning they only have to come to campus about once a week – we believe this could help them to be more productive in collaboration while benefitting from the improved work-life balance and focus time.
As mentioned above, trivago talents come from all over the world to Düsseldorf and many of them indicated their interest in coming back to campus when it is allowed in order for them to socialize and build relationships with their peers. Taking all of this into consideration, we believe that there is a need for a universal work model that has to be set across trivago, where talents from different organizational teams meet each other in-person. Therefore, our baseline framework consists of minimum four days on campus per month:
- One trivago day, when the entire company is present on our Campus in Düsseldorf. Talents can expect socializing activities organized by their teams as well as events and team building activities.
- One Unit day, when talents come to Campus with their Unit. This day is merely dedicated to networking with the unit, alignment on strategy and any activity that requires higher bandwidth of communication.
- At least two team days, when talents come to Campus along with their teams. Teams can decide which activities should be performed during these days. Depending on the period of year, teams may hold their strategy planning and review sessions as well as performance appraisal and feedback sessions on team days. Finally, let’s not forget about our team events and team dinners which are quite likely to happen on team days as well.
That said, our hybrid model is built on trust instead of strict rules and guidelines, therefore this is just a minimum framework. However, individual teams may decide to include additional days as part of their monthly collaboration cadence on Campus. Our team leads decide with their teams which days they would like to spend on campus and whether they want to increase them based on their team needs or depending on the nature of the meetings during that time of the year.
Back to campus and much-deserved fun!
With the pandemic slowly becoming endemic, we can finally start bringing back some of our pre-pandemic event formats in full force! We’re known for our trivago Fridays where we deep dive into specific topics and a variety of more social after-work events, and in the afternoon we have our internal band playing which gives us again a chance to cheer life and connect with talents bringing their exceptional stories with them. Our culture kitchen and barista bar are also up and running again, which means lunch dates and spontaneous coffee chats are back in full force. We also have a monthly budget for a team event that can be used for a social gathering or a team activity of our choice.
Finally, our much-awaited trivago on tour is back. It’s a company trip where all our talents travel together for two or three days to a secret destination. Our talents usually find out where we’re headed and what is awaiting them on the trip once they arrive at the train station or airport. Any guesses where our next trip will be?!
Our Mobile Working Policy
In general, the contractually agreed place of work is our campus in Düsseldorf, Germany. Our mobile working policy grants our talents with the benefit of flexibility regarding their workplace. As long as the talents commute to campus on the pre-established Campus days, where they decide to center their life in Germany is up to them. Furthermore, our talents are eligible to work from abroad within the EU and some additional countries (Brazil, selected USA States and more) for up to 20 days in the calendar year.
We know that everyone would love the opportunity to work from their home countries from time-to-time, so we’re currently evaluating the countries and associated risks related to where our talents come from in order to increase the list of locations where mobile work would be possible. Stay tuned!
Future of work at trivago
We can certainly say that testing and learning is part of our DNA at trivago. We will constantly reflect on how we operate in order to find the right set-up at any given moment. Our hybrid work model is no exception. We will test and reassess our framework moving forward and adjust if necessary, taking our talents’ experience and happiness into consideration all along the way!
Shoutout to Danish from our Strategy & Operations team for compiling this article 🙌