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Amber Stark

SIOP Now a Fully Remote Employer

In 2019, the SIOP Administrative Office began making business decisions and adjustments to become a “remote first” employer, the plans for which rapidly accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After the government mandated shutdown (March–June 2020), staff were provided the option to return to work in person or continue working from home. Most staff elected to continue working remotely, and the trend continued for the ensuing years. With more and more workflows and processes becoming digitized, increasing comfort among the staff with virtual modes of communication, and an October 31, 2022, office lease expiration, a further transition from “remote first” to “remote only” was proposed to and approved by the SIOP Executive Board during its August 2022 budget meeting.

As of November 1, the SIOP Administrative Office team of 10 full time employees is working entirely remotely and no longer out of the physical office at 440 East Poe Road, Suite 101, in Bowling Green, Ohio. SIOP will retain a business address to continue receiving occasional postal mail. The new SIOP and SIOP Foundation mailing addresses can be found on the About SIOP webpage.

“The SIOP staff team works well remotely, particularly given that we have always served the majority of our members in a virtual capacity as opposed to through in-person office visits,” said SIOP Executive Director Tracy Vanneman. “Our team is enjoying the flexibility of working from home, including time, money, and environmental impact saved by no longer commuting. We have also been able to more seamlessly welcome new staff from outside our geographic area to our team, improving our ability to recruit excellent talent from the association management industry.”

Although the decision to transition from a physical to a fully virtual office was largely due to the way SIOP’s work is done and the preferences of staff, there were also financial benefits to this decision. Paying for underutilized office space, plus related expenses for cleaning, maintenance, supplies, and so forth, was not a prudent use of the SIOP membership’s dues investment. As a remote only employer, SIOP will save on rent and other office expenses while more generously investing in its employees by covering monthly home internet expenses and offering a modest home office improvement stipend. The net impact of this transition is expected to result in a $50,000 annual budgetary savings.

“The SIOP Executive Board appreciated the due diligence conducted by the staff in presenting and weighing many options while preparing this proposal,” said SIOP President Mo Wang. “We were pleased to support the recommendation to transition to a fully remote employer to increase operational efficiency, reduce overhead costs that can then be re-invested in employees, build a more diverse workforce, and inspire better work–life balance.”

SIOP staff will continue to gather in person for the SIOP Annual Conference, SIOP Leading Edge Consortium, and an annual staff retreat. Also, future new hires will travel to northwest Ohio, so long as a critical mass of SIOP employees continue to live in the region, to train with and meet the team in person.

Although SIOP no longer has a physical office, members will be pleased to know that SIOP staff took great care while moving out of 440 East Poe Road, Suite 101, to preserve items that may be of value or interest to the I-O community, with plans to host an auction of SIOP memorabilia in the coming months! SIOP members can also take pride in knowing that furniture, supplies, and other office possessions were divided up and donated to nonprofits, schools, and churches, benefitting the local Bowling Green, Ohio, community that has been a friendly home to SIOP for more than 25 years.

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