Working Virtually

Trig Innovation is a virtual company. That doesn’t mean that we’re an alternate version of a real company, but rather a real company where people are connected by technology, not by shared office space.

When we launched Trig almost nine years ago, we began by working from home and then quickly set about becoming a company tied to real estate. We shared office space with a like-minded engineering company, and that worked well for us. Back then, we had a much smaller team, and Trig was ultimately faced with the decision of how best to accept the challenges that growth in our business would present.

As technology advanced, the sources of our business became much more diverse, not only in terms of industry, but also in geography. We found ourselves taking flights to meet with customers, versus hopping in the car for a short drive across the Triangle or to clients from Georgia to Virginia. The tipping point certainly occurred around the turn of the decade, as we could leverage technologies like Basecamp for virtual project management, Skype for chat and calls, and Join.me for internet-based audio/visual conferencing. These burgeoning, ever-improving technologies converged with the expanded geography of our customer base.

So, when ultimately faced with the costs of growing, largely related to expanding our roster of full-time employees in innovation, design, and marketing, we took a hard look at ways to keep that cost growth from passing along to clients in the form of higher rates. If we could pull off being a virtual company, why not put that in the service of what our clients actually need AND achieve these needs in the most cost-effective manner possible.

Operating as a virtual company has tremendous advantages for our people, too, and their increased creativity and productivity ultimately benefit our customers in spades. When people can work from home or a great little spot of their choosing, such as a coffee shop, they’re comfortable. And if you attract talent with the right attributes—technical expertise, leadership, independence, and driving determination—they will take blow past their own wildest dreams for their potential. We’ve seen this phenomenon over and over again.

The elusive virtue of work/life balance is much more achievable in a virtual company, and it’s not because you work any less. It’s actually because you largely choose when to work, outside of obligatory meetings with clients and fellow staff during what’s usually thought of as “normal” business hours. Some of our employees have young children, and they are able to do things like pick them up from school, attend recitals, and actually play with them! For other employees, it’s about working when you feel like working—if you’re a bit of a night owl, you can crank out most of your best work when it feels right, rather than conforming to workday hours designed for an agrarian society many years ago.

What we’ve also seen continued expansion in our business, as well as the service we can provide, by breaking the geographic barrier of non-virtual operation. That way, we can bring serious, diverse talent to bear and not have to adjust our operations a single bit.  For example, certain projects have demanded animation talent that’s in short supply here in the Southeast. So, we just went to the best place we could find that talent, in California, where there’s a treasure trove of opportunity for those types of professionals.

Connie Tran, loves working within Trig’s virtual model, and she’s developed an appreciation for her work on many levels. “I really enjoy the ability to manage my own schedule,” she said. “As long as clients are happy and we’re meeting our deadlines, I have the flexibility to do many things, like go to my doctor, help my parents out, or even take a nap to rejuvenate.”

Connie also sees benefits for the team: “We try harder to relate to each other as a group and as individuals—we’re very family-friendly and close-knit as a result. I love how independent we all are in this type of environment. It makes you feel like you have more ownership of all the projects that you touch.”

Finally, Connie related a couple of nice benefits that many working people take for granted. “I also really like how there’s no commuting, so there’s lots of gas and toll savings,” she said. “And maybe the best thing about working for a virtual company? You don’t have to get up super early in the morning and drive to work!”

For more information on working at Trig, the ultimate career destination for industrial designers and marketers, and a listing of our available opportunities, visit https://triginnovation.com/careers/