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Hybrid office models? Just another day at SAIPS

HR Post Covid

Hybrid office models? Just another day at SAIPS

While millions of companies have had to balance working remotely with occasional office visits during Covid-19, for the Israeli tech company it’s been more of the same

CTech | 09:23  05.01.2021

For machine learning and computer vision provider SAIPS, the concept of balancing the office and the home during work hours has been an integral part of their culture since their founding in 2013. But during Covid-19, things had to be adjusted to make sure they don’t interact with too many employees and risk a spread or outbreak.

“Nowadays, the company works in two capsules, with each capsule working two days a week from the office, with no office-time overlap between the capsules,” explained Yaffa Vizner, HR VP and Board Member of SAIPS. “Therefore, some employees have not met each other since the onset of the outbreak.”

Yaffa Vizner, HR VP and Board Member of SAIPS. Photo: Ran Biran Yaffa Vizner, HR VP and Board Member of SAIPS. Photo: Ran Biran Yaffa Vizner, HR VP and Board Member of SAIPS. Photo: Ran Biran

This solution doesn’t come without its difficulties. Vizner told CTech that it sometimes has an impact on interpersonal relations and revealed that some of the SAIPS employees have never even met their colleagues who were initially assigned to the other capsule.

One day, SAIPS will return to its conventional hybrid model whereby employees can come and go into the office on two days of their own choosing. Until then, Vizner has joined CTech for its HR Post-Covid series to discuss how the hybrid capsule method has impacted the company.

Company Name: SAIPS

HR Leader: Yaffa Vizner – HR VP and Board Member of SAIPS

Field of Activity:

Computer Vision / Machine Learning / Deep Learning / Reinforcement Learning

Number of employees/locations:

SAIPS has 40 employees, 30 of whom are algorithm engineers. We are located in Tel-Aviv.

Professional background of HR Manager:

Prior to joining SAIPS, I served as the HR Manager and Wellbeing Manager of Applied Materials, and before that as an HR Business Partner at Wix.

On a scale of 1-10, how much did the coronavirus pandemic disrupt operations at the company?

SAIPS works on long-term projects, so the day-to-day business operations were not affected. Work continued as usual. Since its inception, we at SAIPS have been working in a hybrid work model – a mix of office work and work from home. Therefore, all our employees are accustomed to working from home, and our IT infrastructure is fully equipped for remote work.

What interesting technological tools do you use in employee management/recruitment?

We use Gloat and Woo as recruitment tools, as well as LinkedIn Recruiter and other social media platforms.

What positive and/or negative impact did the outbreak have on the human capital of the company?

The Covid-19 outbreak has had several positive impacts on our company. We took advantage of the changes in the market and, to date, grew our workforce by more than 20% during the Covid-19 crisis. We also adapted the wellbeing plan to the changing reality while paying more attention to the spouses and families, generating a tailor-made plan that considers the specific needs of each employee.

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The negative impact was more in terms of interpersonal interactions. During the Covid-19 shutdowns, the entire company worked solely from home. Nowadays, the company works in two capsules, with each capsule working two days a week from the office, with no office-time overlap between the capsules. Therefore, some employees have not met each other since the onset of the outbreak. This creates a situation that challenges organizational engagement.

What are the two major challenges you are coping with these days?

One challenge stems from the division into two capsules, which creates a situation where most employees have not met in person those working on different days since the onset of the outbreak. This division impairs inter-team effectiveness and social cohesion. In addition, employees hired during the Covid-19 crisis have not yet met their coworkers from the other capsule. This makes it difficult to assimilate new employees and create organizational engagement.

The crisis has also made it difficult to maintain a work-life balance. During the Covid-19 shutdowns, some employees found it difficult to create a clear boundary between their work and personal life, leading to long working hours, which resulted in employee burnout. Our tailor-made wellbeing plan directly addresses this issue.

SAIPS team at work. Photo: Dana Berman SAIPS team at work. Photo: Dana Berman SAIPS team at work. Photo: Dana Berman

Despite the challenges, no disruption was observed at the business level, nor to the pace and quality of technological development. Our team continues to maintain a high level of effectiveness and to produce high-quality deliverables on time.

Are you actively recruiting? If so, what is the process and where can the applicants find you?

Absolutely! We are actively searching for top talent employees to join the best Machine Learning team in Israel. The process involves two professional interviews, a home assignment, a presentation of relevant academic research, an HR interview, and references. Candidates can find all the relevant information at: https://www.saips.co.il/.

Which changes forced upon you by the circumstances will stay in place after Covid-19 is over, and which are you most eager to revert back to normal?

We believe that the hybrid work model produces optimal results. During office days, there is joint work within and between the work teams, as well as maximum interaction with our partners at Ford. Work-from-home days are dedicated to personal work with minimum distractions. SAIPS has always embraced this model and we will continue to do so also the day after the crisis ends.

We are greatly looking forward to returning to our regular routine, which will allow us to have all the employees in the office at the same time - working, thinking, and celebrating together.

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