HR Strategy

How Scoop Technologies built a database tracking RTO policies for 6,700+ companies

The Flex Index serves as a tool for both job-seekers and companies benchmarking office requirements.
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5 min read

Before the Covid-19 pandemic began, Scoop Technologies was focused on enterprise carpool solutions. But when much of the workforce went remote, carpooling didn’t look like the best business model, so Scoop pivoted to productivity software. The company officially relaunched as a “hybrid team enablement platform” in November 2022, with a product to help employers manage schedules, coordinate in-person activities, and analyze how their offices are being used.

Fishing for answers on hybrid. With the pivot, Scoop executives sought to “fish where the fish are” and learn everything they could about the current state of hybrid work, Michael Samuels, VP of go-to-market, told HR Brew.

“We went pretty heads down, whether it was Quora or Reddit or LinkedIn, to try to understand what was the conversation being had around flexible work or hybrid work,” Samuels said. In doing this, they found there was a lot of confusion among employers and job-seekers about what level of flexibility companies were offering.

This was in late 2022, at a time when many companies were tightening their remote work policies and asking employees to come into the office more often.

In setting out to determine which companies were hybrid, and in what capacity, “We realized that not only do we not know the answer to the question, but most people didn’t know the answer to that question,” said Rob Sadow, co-founder and CEO of Scoop.

Scoop decided to take some of the guesswork out of hybrid work by documenting exactly what employers were asking from their employees when it came to remote versus in-person requirements. The result is the Flex Index, which launched in February and currently tracks flexibility policies for more than 6,700 companies.

Creating the Flex Index. The primary source of data for the Flex Index comes from a short survey available on Scoop’s website that asks employees about their organization’s expectations on where people work, including whether any are expected to work from the office full-time (i.e., five days a week). Those responses are then validated through the respondents’ work email address.

Samuels said survey responses typically come from employees who are in the know about their company policies, such as a chief of staff or executive assistant to the CHRO. Once Scoop has documented a company’s policy, they reach out to the employer for feedback, and liaise with additional HR leaders at the company in case they have tweaks to make.

It only took about five to six months to build the Flex Index, Samuels said. Initially the company worked with an external contractor to develop the database, but it has since brought the work in-house, hiring a team to work on web development and product management for the Flex Index full-time.

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Adam Schuld, a staff frontend engineer who joined Scoop in February, said via email his team has been working on converting the initial version of the Flex Index to an “in-house architecture that can evolve and sustain our Flex Index ambitions as we grow.”

Company employees and administrators will soon be able to create their own accounts and edit information directly on the Flex Index, Samuels and Schuld told HR Brew. Samuels said the thinking behind this is to allow employers to fully represent the nuance in their hybrid-work policies. Larger organizations tend to be more complex, he noted, with requirements potentially differing depending on location or team assignment.

Improving data over time. The Flex Index currently tracks office requirements for some 6,716 companies, representing an estimated 100 million employees. Scoop publishes quarterly reports analyzing RTO trends, and digs into themes relevant to HR stakeholders, such as headcount growth among fully flexible companies. The first quarterly report drew the attention of media, academics, and future of work researchers, Samuels said.

Schuld said he expects the volume and relevance of Flex Index data to improve over time, allowing the team to uncover new trends. They’re also working with partners to combine different datasets and look deeper into specific industries.

As top brass double down on their RTO policies, not all are interested in digging into data to inform their decisions. During a recent internal fireside chat with employees, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the company’s three-day-a-week mandate was a “judgment” call, and declined to offer any statistics that informed up the policy, according to Insider.

But from Samuels’ point of view, employers seem interested in these trends, as well as benchmarking what their competitors are doing. HR leaders have told Scoop they share Flex Index data with their CEO to determine what type of hybrid policy to implement, based on what peers are doing, according to a follow-up email from Sadow. Consultants and real estate brokers have also been sharing the data with clients.

“Our goal is to…continue to create relationships with employers to make sure that we are displaying and showcasing office requirements the best possible way that we can,” Samuels said.

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.