How office life has changed forever for one agency
In lockdown one, we made the decision that a hybrid model could work for us long term, so our team can now choose whether to work in the office or at home.
Being permanently hybrid also means that we can employ people working remotely on a permanent basis, so the fact that we are no longer restricted to employing those living within a certain parameter of the head office means that it’s seriously opened up the talent pool.
We’ve also had some of our team working in various locations around the world on a ‘workcation’ basis. Our head of new business spent some of last year in Dubai and helped increase our global reach, and our CFO is currently working from her second home in Italy. With all of our systems being cloud-based, there is little difference in day-to-day working.
We did believe that once everything in the UK opened up, most people who could return to the office would do so, but generally, this is not the case.
We’re a marketing agency, so teams that are working on a project together usually meet at the office to collaborate when required - after all, it’s harder to replicate a brainstorming session or a ‘show and tell’ online. Others come in for some camaraderie or just to get away from their own four walls or noisy toddlers; however, some of the team are rarely seen and are just happy to continue at home.
Freedom of choice
This is fine - humans are creatures of habit, after all, so after 18 months of home working, we can’t expect overnight change. Many people are still getting used to the idea that things are returning to normal and will slowly adapt to a different pattern in time. Additionally, others are still worried about Covid and the fact that there are now variants in circulation, so we all need to respect those concerns too. We don’t force anyone to work in the office; it’s always their choice.
To reflect that office working is not the same as it was pre-pandemic, we have changed the purpose of some of our rooms. Out went the desks, chairs, and strip lighting, and in came a home-from-home vibe. Now there are sofas, armchairs, coffee tables, standing lamps, and biophilia galore. Other areas have benches, bar stools, and subdued lighting, echoing the co-working spaces that became so popular before Covid.
One big office party
We are having an event to mark our tenth anniversary, and the intention is to have the whole company gathered together. Again, it is voluntary, but so far, everyone in the company has signed up to attend, and all are really excited about it, especially as we have so many new teammates that we have never actually met in person.
We can’t imagine we’ll ever walk into our offices and find them at capacity again, but as it is now, we’re seeing that our ambitious targets are being met, it works for us as an agency, and it makes the team happier, so why go back to how it was?
Written by Al Fox, director at integrated B2B marketing agency Fox Agency
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