The Biggest Perk of Hybrid Work in LA? Cutting Down the Commute

How two LA tech companies approach a hybrid work structure.

Written by Taylor Rose
Published on May. 22, 2024
The Biggest Perk of Hybrid Work in LA? Cutting Down the Commute
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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A lot of things can happen in 100 hours. 

A hundred hours is what it took Nigerian chef Hilda Baci to break the Guinness record for longest time cooking nonstop. 

A hundred hours is how long astronomer Bob Williams pointed the Hubble Telescope at what seemed like a patch of nothing in space, only to take the deepest space photo we had seen thus far.

A hundred hours was the average work week for industrial workers in 1886, which caused the Haymarket Riots in Chicago. 

And a hundred hours is how long Los Angeles residents sit in traffic every year on average, according to the Southern California Association of Governments.  

That number stands as one of the worst in the world, and it’s too long for a lot of commuters — and why tech employees in LA are often so in favor of hybrid work. 

At Core Digital Media, SVP Mitch Viner shared that cutting down on commuting time comes second only to curated collaboration as the things the company’s employees love most about hybrid work.  

“We selected home days as Monday and Friday, specifically to eliminate that start of week/end of week crush on the freeways,” he said. 

For Hot Topic Senior Human Resources Manager Krystal Burke, a hybrid schedule allows her to adjust how she works on days when she isn’t in the office. 

“A hybrid model removes mundane tasks such as commuting,” she said. “I can start my workday earlier and work longer because I do not have the looming dread of sitting in traffic. Being a LA resident, this is a definite favorite of the hybrid work model.”  

Built In LA spoke with Viner and Burke about how a hybrid schedule works at their companies. 

 

Krystal Burke
Senior Human Resources Manager • Hot Topic Inc.

Hot Topic is an e-commerce and retail clothing company that sells pop culture and music merchandise. 

 

Describe what a hybrid work model means at Hot Topic.

A hybrid model at our organization is a mixture of employees who are 100 percent remote, hybrid employees who come into the office on core days and employees who work a full week in the office. Although there are in-office core days, employees are more than welcome to come into the office for any business needs. Our organization’s hybrid model is  flexible, ensuring that it works for both the employee and the organization.

 

Why does this schedule work well for employees? 

It offers employees schedule autonomy. The current hybrid model allows employees to schedule and prioritize business needs while encompassing their personal needs as well. Allowing employees to modify the traditional ‘nine-to-five’ has translated into higher retention, therefore creating an efficient workplace. 

 

PERKS OF THE OFFICE

  • Commuter benefits 
  • Onsite gym 
  • Some meals provided 

 

What is your favorite aspect of the hybrid work model?

My favorite aspect is the freedom I possess in my role. I can schedule meetings and work on projects in a way that makes sense in both my professional and personal life. 

 

What are the key ingredients that make Hot Topic’s hybrid model work?

The key ingredients are recognition and open communication. Hot Topic Inc. does an incredible job of acknowledging the efforts and achievements of employees regardless of their hybrid schedule. We recognize employees by employee nominations for employee of the quarter, team shout-outs where peers can thank each other and employee appreciation events, which are both in person and virtual. 

The second ingredient is open communication. Open communication is vital to ensuring a hybrid model succeeds. Our organization uses a chat application where employees can communicate instantly amongst each other, their teams or the entire organization. Creating an environment of constant open dialogue empowers employees to succeed in their roles, a stronger team dynamic and increased involvement in the organization.

 

 

Mitch Viner
SVP of Legal, Compliance and People Teams • Core Digital Media

Core Digital Media is a fintech and adtech company that provides consumers with valuable information and company connections to help navigate financial decisions.

 

What is Core Digital’s hybrid model like?

Presently, Core Digital uses a three-day in-office model. Team members may use the office at any time during the week, but we provide primary office support services on site on the selected, specific days. That includes front office, network/desktop support, lunches and culture programming. On non-required days, team members still can connect with desktop support via Teams or other electronic means, still have access to snacks, TV, drinks, etc., just without onsite office personnel. Their work at home is supported by remote tech support and access to all data and information systems via VPN.

 

What is your favorite part of hybrid work? What about your team’s favorite aspect? 

The number one aspect of a hybrid work model that team members appreciate is the ability to calibrate their activities around those which benefit from in-person collaboration with team members versus those which don’t require that kind of face time. A very close second place (if not tie) is decreasing commuting time.

 

PERKS OF THE OFFICE

  • Free breakfast on Thursdays, free lunch on Wednesday and Thursday
  • Recreational clubs 
  • Onsite gym 
  • Pet friendly 
  • Free snacks and drinks 
  • Meditation space 
  • Mother’s room 


 

What makes Digital Core’s hybrid model a good fit for your company culture?

We believe the office is a hub of connection, culture and organizational coordination. But, we also recognize that some types of work simply don’t need to be in person. We also know that by having alignment in approach (like having everyone have the same in-office days), we can cut down on wasted time, amplify in-office cultural connections like all-team meetings, lunches, birthday/anniversary celebrations and welcoming new team members — all while optimizing meetings and planning sessions. Because we have a robust feedback system, we’re always looking for ways to help team members use the time well and find value in their office and non-office time. 

Although everyone enjoyed aspects of full remote work, we’ve also received a lot of feedback that at a certain point, particularly for culture and social connections, virtual just wasn’t a sufficient substitute for being on site together. And, the cold brew on tap didn’t hurt.

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Shutterstock and listed companies.

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