Bottle Rocket, a company with a history of pioneering, is at it again. From its timely launch as a mobile app development startup in 2008—the day after Steve Jobs announced the App Store was open to third-party developers—to its current vision to help brands lead in a connected digital world, the Dallas-based company aims to stay at the crux of technology and innovation. Now, CEO Calvin Carter, who founded the company, wants to lead the way into an all-new future of work.
It’s a future that has a better life/work balance, Carter says. And that can pay dividends all around.
As many experts talk about what a new normal may look like post-pandemic and companies everywhere debate when to return to the workplace, Bottle Rocket execs are planning for a reinvention. This week, Carter took a major step with the announcement of Bottle Rocket’s new “Work from Wherever” plan. The initiative is self-explanatory—employees can work from wherever they want—permanently.
With the announcement, Bottle Rocket is among the first firms to officially put in place a permanent model for a virtual workforce after its pandemic experience. Twitter also recently announced its employees may work from home “forever.”
Bottle Rocket, which has been noted for its innovative office space with pods that feature cross-functional teams (something that became the norm in workspaces around the globe), says it’s now blazing a new trail.
The “Work from Wherever” policy can create a “more relevant, contextual, productive, and personalized way” of working for employees. It will also show clients a continued commitment to an innovative mindset, the company told Dallas Innovates in an email.
Company culture is still an essential part of the picture, and Bottle Rocket is taking steps to make sure collaboration remains core to its teams and their clients.
The COVID-19 pandemic has “accelerated existing trends in both consumer and employee behavior,” Carter said. That’s thrust the company into its future, he says.
During the pandemic, like most companies, Bottle Rocket shifted to a work-from-home model to protect its employees and their families. The company’s new “Work from Wherever” plan simply expands on that model for the future by making it permanent, Carter said. In addition, the company’s new definition broadens to address geography. Now, a Rocketeer (aka, a Bottle Rocket employee) may work wherever—at home, in the office, across the country, or even abroad.”
Carter said the move was motivated by his employees’ success throughout the COVID crisis. While working remotely and adjusting to the ‘new normal,’ he says the quality of work remains high and productivity hasn’t slowed. And the quality of living has increased, he noted.
“Due to our unique style of cross-functional collaborative working, we had to quickly and proactively take measures to ensure our employees felt supported and that our clients continued to receive the value that we are known for,” he said in a statement.
When companies across the country made the monumental shift to remote working about two months ago, Bottle Rocket followed suit. The company said it used technology, advanced tools, and revamped processes to ensure a “business as usual” approach flowed throughout its employee base.
Nearly every process was “rethought”: how to collaborate, socialize, share, forecast workloads, conduct reviews, and request time off. While “Work from Wherever” is broad, Bottle Rocket acknowledges the approach to work will vary by situation.
Some meetings will still require in-person collaboration, so Bottle Rocket plans to adjust its in-office environment. But Carter said the company will make accommodations that allow Rocketeers to be as productive as possible, such as additional tools, technologies, and cultural rituals.
“This will enable a better work/life balance, help us recruit the best and brightest talent from anywhere in the world, and help us continue leading the market in creating innovative and customer-centric digital experiences for our clients,” he said. “This is not an iteration of our previous working style—it’s an all-new attitude, an all-new way to think and act. We’ve tossed out all previous notions and are moving forward a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to our people and our craft.”
It’s a move that makes sense for a company innovating in the digital experience space, as all companies need to consider how they are planning for the future, the company says.
As for the brands it works with, Bottle Rocket recognizes what it does is more important now than ever. Digital touchpoints should be mandatory for brands, the company said, because of the shift to a “Connected Lifestyle” brought on by the pandemic.
“Brands cannot ignore this and expect to survive much longer,” Carter said. “This is our new normal, and brands must embrace digital as their future success depends on it.”
Rocketeers at Home
Bottle Rocket found that employees were efficient and happy working at home during the pandemic. Ever on the cutting edge, CEO Carter says Bottle Rocket’s new permanent “Work from Wherever” policy will have benefits for the company, employees, and clients alike.
Here’s a look behind the scenes at the people who inspired the change.
Photos are courtesy of Bottle Rocket.
The story was updated with additional details on May 21, 2020.
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