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A look at one Utah’s company’s journey to an all-online workplace

One significant adjustment that most companies had to make due to the pandemic response was the physical closure of the office. The move from office space to home-based remote work, or the move from the meeting room to video conferencing may seem like the new normal to many people.

Many companies in the Beehive State are still taking stock to see if a work-from-home situation has been for the better and if a complete return to the conventional office space is even in the cards. Other companies are likely thinking of keeping the remote workplace a permanent fixture.

One Utah business that’s grappling with these questions is eLearning Brothers. Its founder wrote an article that goes into detail on how they made the switch to an online work culture, and how that affected them. Spoiler alert: it was ultimately for the better.

While there are changes from the conventional workplace, there are some facets in the business world that have remained consistent. That includes the need for checking, and First Utah Bank has solutions for businesses that can meet any need.

Keeping important connections

Andrew Scivally is the CEO of eLearning Brothers, and he wrote in Utah Business magazine that pre-pandemic his business had a robust employee culture, much of it centered on interactions and events in the office. Activities like team volunteering, holiday potlucks and even Donut Fridays were standard element.

That changed dramatically in March 2020, when eLearning Brothers joined many other companies in shutting down the office. At the same time, Scivally believes preserving that culture was as essential as any other business at the time. 

“I knew that due to the stresses of the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, our employees needed to feel connected and supported at work more than ever,” he wrote.

There was another element at play: Scivally’s company acquired two other companies away from Utah only a month after the pandemic response began. Integrating those employees into the fold was yet another challenge.

As appropriate for a company based in the e-learning space, the leaders used a brain-teaser game to bring some additional culture to its now virtual world. They re-tooled one of its offerings — a game-show style application called The Training Arcade — to start a virtual “happy hour” that brought together the workers in disparate locations.

“The key is to pick someone outgoing and social from your company to lead it, and create interesting questions,” Scivally explained. “We peppered ours with pop culture and company history. Our newer employees learned a lot about the company and we all learned who keeps up with current pop culture and who doesn’t. As it turns out, very few of us can tell Britney Spears apart from Gwen Stefani.”

Leveraging technology

Pop divas aside, there was another repurposing of a tool that helped keep the culture alive at eBrothers Learning. Scivally wrote that the company used a software tool tied to virtual reality as part of a conference for customers and employees.

“We built a virtual version of my actual office that attendees could visit,” he wrote. “This was mostly aimed at potential customers, but it turned out to be a great way for remote employees from the recently acquired companies to feel like they were visiting our company headquarters.”

The company also used more conventional tools to make sure culture was still in tact. This included the message board site Slack, which was used not only for work-related project development but also was used for employee recognition on a channel they called “#singingpraises.”

Overall, Scivally believed that having these tools in place ended up breaking through a common barrier in uniting distributed teams. It made it easier for people to know who to turn to for specialized help, and that it was clearer who at the company had specific skills and strengths for any type of project or challenge.

As for the future, Scivally admitted that he still wasn’t sure if the company would fully return to the physical office. At the same time, the adjustments they made still point to a promising future.

“I know that as our company grows, we’re adding more and more workers across the country—and even a few internationally,” he wrote. “The pandemic may have been the impetus for us to get creative and use these learning technologies in surprising ways to engage our team, but these are strategies we’ll be able to continue using in the future to keep our company connected and engaged across the globe.”

Utah businesses can benefit from free checking

Whether or not you had to pivot a bit in order to thrive during the pandemic, it’s clear that finding solutions to further progress are always needed. If you run a business that averages fewer than 100 ACH checks and debits per month, First Utah Bank can provide you with free business checking as a method to maximize your time when managing these essentials.

There’s no minimum balance required for the free business checking program at First Utah Bank and it includes unlimited debit card transactions and deposits as well as free mobile and internet banking. The program is also insured to the legal maximum by the FDIC.

We also have you covered if you need something different to meet your business checking needs. These options include a commercial checking account for higher transaction volumes that also gives you an earnings credit allowance based on your balances.

As your hometown bank, First Utah Bank has the knowledge and tools to keep your business thriving in any kind of financial climate. Learn more at our website, or call First Utah Bank at 801-308-2265.