15 Jan Finding family in your remote coworkers
“I guess you could call me one of the old-guard of Simplus. Four years. I’ve been here since the real beginning of what Simplus was to become.”
That’s Stu Jones, Delivery Manager and veteran Simplus team member. Jones has long sung the praises of Simplus company culture. He quickly found his home with a group of engaged, caring people and has been sold ever since on the core values of Simplus.
But in early 2019, catastrophe struck.
“My wife, then-girlfriend, was diagnosed with stage-4 cancer,” Jones said. “We had already fallen in love, made plans. I was hers, no question. But the news hit us hard.”
The diagnosis came without warning for Jones and his partner. Marriage plans went into full-speed, and the Joneses’ life changed dramatically. Time was suddenly more precious than ever.
“That kind of event… it reaches everything. I evaluated everything,” Jones said. “It became a lot for me to bear. I knew I had to do something. I had to turn to someone.”
So Jones turned to Simplus. But not without some thought.
“It was tough. I decided to share the news, my emotional state, and really just a full outpouring of what I was going through with my entire company,” Jones said. “It took a lot of vulnerability that, frankly, I didn’t even know I had. You have to truly know that you trust such a large group with something like that. It was risky; but, it seemed far riskier in the long run to keep it bottled up.”
The company-wide reaction floored Jones.
“I expected sympathetic this and that, sure,” Jones said. “But I did not expect how genuine, personal, and constant the support would be. I had people sharing their own stories, resources they used, and, six months later, I’m still getting check-in messages from countless people who really want to know how I’m doing, what’s going on, and catch up. It’s incredible.”
Jones knew the logistics of putting his life on pause, accommodating his work situation for the needs of his wife, and adjusting to the situation overall would be taken care of.
“Leadership has always been great at Simplus,” Jones said. “It’s not always just about hours worked, utilization targets, etc. These company values—the underdog spirit, the critical thinking, the stewardship—they really live it. They’re simple, to the point, and are easy to fall back on to guide decisions and interactions. And they enable me to find ways to be a better employee and a better leader, too.”
After marrying the love of his life, taking a honeymoon in Italy (where Jones even got an invite from a C-Suite leader at Simplus looking to meet up and hang out—both of them halfway around the world from home), and adjusting to the at-home care situation for his wife, Jones returned to work. And to his surprise, more motivated than ever.
“I’m able to work from home and take care of my wife the way she needs to be taken care of. I don’t have to compromise on that,” Jones said. “There’s this sense of commitment from my peers and supervisors. Commitment to fitting what’s working with my family into the professional work I’m doing. And that sense has really inspired me to do even better than I did before, in all areas of my life.”
Jones knows Simplus isn’t the only place he could find a satisfying workplace culture. But he has no desire to look for what he already has.
“It’s really surprising and kind of counterintuitive,” Jones said. “Here I am, I just had this tragedy shake my entire life, and yet… I’m working harder? It’s crazy. You’d think I’d feel trapped by something like this, having to stay in a situation that accommodates my needs, because I can’t afford to lose those benefits, and have it be all about that. But here at Simplus, it’s enabling—freeing. I can do so much.”
Already a witness to the benefits of authentic company culture, Jones is now more convinced than ever of its true importance.
“It’s easy to make culture a buzzword. A lot of people do,” Jones said. “But I would encourage everyone to take that message of culture more seriously. It’s not just catchy or trendy. It’s a real, deep thing that, for me, is actually exhibited where I work. It should be one of if not the top consideration for work benefits. When culture backs you up and is truly a way of life, it changes who you are for the better.”
In his four years at Simplus, Jones has always felt that Simplus was his home. But the support, reactions, and lasting friendships shown to Jones through this past year of radical change have solidified for Jones that despite high growth, business expansion, and rising headcount, Simplus is still, truly, his family.
“Simplus has grown fast since I’ve been here,” Jones said. “But what hasn’t changed is that I love who I work for and who I work with. I looked at the wedding list earlier this year, and there are people from Simplus I can’t imagine not being at my wedding, some of them from across the country. And they stood beside me on that day—that meant everything. That’s why I’ve felt fulfilled for four years. That’s why I felt so much genuine support through this. And it’s why I don’t ever see myself leaving.”