By: Gareth Hoyle, Managing Director of Manchester-based agency, Marketing Signals:
I’ve seen first-hand the impact the past year has had on businesses up and down the country. Covid-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty to businesses in all industries, and it’s forced many to rejuvenate their way of working.
At Marketing Signals, we have decided to have a flexible working policy, employees can decide if they would like to return to the office full time, work from home full time or split their time. We pride ourselves on being a remote working space, with many of my employees dotted all over the world.
For me, one of the key factors in making this flexible working decision was to allow my employees the freedom to do their best work. One size does not fit all and I’ve found having this more flexible approach to working hours and the return to the office help boost productivity and overall morale.
My overall aim is to create an environment where people enjoy coming to work, they can learn and they have the flexibility to fit in other day-to-day tasks such as school run or appointments, and COVID has allowed this policy to be implemented more/
Above all, the mental health of my staff is of utmost importance and allowing them the option of choosing where they would like to work has been met with positive feedback.
My philosophy has always been to give my employees the space they need to do their jobs well.There’s a clear difference between making sure your employees know you’re there for them and watching their every move. Some leaders may be tempted to toe the line between effective leadership and micro-management when employees feel out of reach. But control isn’t the answer. Trust your team to deliver the results you know they’re capable of and everything will fall into place, even if that means not having their video turned on for an internal call.
In addition, habits have definitely changed since the beginning of lockdown. Everyone has experienced a significant shift in their routines, which naturally causes us to have new perspectives.
I think one of the biggest changes is the lack of events and parties. For most people, drinking is a way to socialise, so our increased nights in the living room have made many of us less likely to reach for a bottle of wine. I don’t think people have stopped drinking altogether, but the number of times a week they do has gone down considerably.
My own health has also taken an upward turn now I’m working remotely. I have more time to exercise and go for walks, as I no longer have to drive to and from the office each day. This has helped me think more clearly, which has a positive impact on my stress levels. I also encourage this with my staff, our flexible working policy means everyone can take some time out when it’s needed, whether to go for a walk or switch off from work for a little bit.
The hybrid working model, I think will stay forever and as years go by, we will continue to see an evolution of that model. Working from the office I feel will start to dissolve, as people and business owners begin to put the needs of their employees first.