Hybrid work environments are here to stay. Here’s how we made it work.

Paul H. Mauritz
President, CEO

According to a United States Census Bureau report released in September 2022, “Between 2019 and 2021, the number of people primarily working from home tripled from 5.7% (roughly 9 million people) to 17.9% (27.6 million people).” One Census statistician was quoted as saying: “Work and commuting are central to American life, so the widespread adoption of working from home is a defining feature of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

We all read in the press these days that many organizations are calling their work-from-home employees back to the office. How they reintegrate their employees back into the workplace is a question of culture, collaboration, and enabling technology.

Whether remote working is good for your organization or not is a decision you should make only after careful research and consultation with experts familiar with your industry. In this blog, we’ll explore how NetCraftsmen made a hybrid work environment a key pillar of our success and how we manage to keep both employee satisfaction and productivity at a high level in a hybrid work environment.


To help understand how NetCraftsmen has made a hybrid work environment successful for our company and our clients, a little history is required. NetCraftsmen was founded in 2001 by 13 people who had worked together previously and were looking to build a world-class consulting company. The original employees created a list of founding principles which we follow to this day. Among those principles are the following:

  • Hire great people
  • Solve hard problems for our clients
  • Empower our people to do the right thing

To make a hybrid work environment successful, principles like these need to be considered. It is MUCH easier to create a culture in a greenfield environment than to change one, but these principles stand as a solid foundation for a successful hybrid work environment. What we found is that if you hire great people, they will be self-motivated to be successful. We find that two characteristics make up great people: curious and driven. Curious means they are self-motivated to learn, to get better. Driven means that they want to be the best, and they recognize that to be the best, they need to work with and learn from the best. Solving hard problems keeps great people engaged. It lets them use their natural curiosity and drive to be successful – and to make those they work with better as well. With empowerment comes accountability. We find that great people empowered to do the right thing is essential to a successful and motivating hybrid work environment.


Once the foundation for the culture was laid through the guiding principles, collaboration became the enabler of a culture that has been hybrid for more than 21 years.

Collaboration was achieved with a regular cadence of in-person interactions – at a company, regional, and small team basis. Without a “water cooler” to gather around (NetCraftsmen did not open an office until 2016), we created opportunities to socialize around regularly scheduled meetings. We ensured we had a mix of project meetings, team updates, and opportunities for socialization.  Ensuring the schedule was adhered to, but never included meetings for meeting’s sake, was key to making the time valuable.


During the height of the pandemic, we moved all meetings to virtual – but we kept our regular schedule. This allowed us to maintain contact with our employees and, more importantly, kept them in touch with each other.

Whether meetings or social events were in person or virtual, technology was utilized to make collaboration possible among NetCraftsmen employees. A central repository for document production and management made sharing during delivery to clients easy. With strong security, sharing information internally among employees and externally with clients and partners was enabled. Collaboration tools for teamwork and socializing enabled instant communications with context. Our central repository platform is Box, which is highly secure. We front end Box with Webex Teams as a collaboration and voice platform, and we utilize Confluence as a “wiki”-like interface to our data repository and other information. These tools are the enablers of our processes, which then drive how we work, collaboratively, no matter whether we are in person or virtual.

On the social side, when we held our annual All-Hands Meeting with significant others (held face-to-face pre-pandemic) every employee had a budget to pre-order dinner to arrive at the same time so that we could eat together – virtually. It was a little chaotic, but our in-person All Hands Meetings were chaotic as well. Lots of people all trying to catch up with each other. We used breakout sessions to manage the chaos so people could move between groups at their choosing. The chaos was part of the charm of the events, and our people loved it. Even though the pandemic is receding, and the risk has diminished, virtual meetings will continue and play an important role in keeping our distributed workforce connected in between in-person gatherings.

At NetCraftsmen, we chose to build a culture of collaboration and empowerment and then enable collaboration and socialization with technology – all in an IT infrastructure that is extremely secure.

While the tools have changed somewhat with innovations over the years, the process of collaboration has stayed the same – develop a trusted relationship on a social level leveraging technology to enable collaboration to make working together effective – in person or virtually.

Now that the pandemic risk is receding, where NetCraftsmen’s employees are working is not an issue. Whether they work from home, at the client site, or in the office, the culture of collaboration we have built – enabled and secured by technology – has made a hybrid workplace a reality.

Contact us to learn how technology can help you effectively manage your workforce.