By: Claire Crompton, co-founder and managing director of Bolton digital marketing agency, The Audit Lab
Hybrid work is here to stay, according to one agency
2020 turned a lot of things on their head, and the standard working model was one of them. For us, we were one of the luckier businesses that could carry on relatively unaffected, as our business is digital marketing. Marketing is often the first to go when budgets are cut, but many businesses started to see the value of funnelling their money into online marketing to target more people at home. So we were therefore able to all work from home as many clients continued their online activity. As soon as lockdowns eased, we adopted the hybrid model, with three days in office and two at home. It’s working so well that we’ve carried that on.
Does a hybrid work model work well?
It, of course, depends on the business and employees. When business can be done solely online, working from home considerably cuts down costs and commuting. But not everyone wants a full work-from-home week because it doesn’t work as well for certain tasks and communications. Platforms like Slack are great to communicate on, but when it comes to productivity, collaboration, one-to-ones and creative projects, a workspace where teammates can come together face-to-face is second to none.
Do employees like hybrid working?
We have a unanimous consensus here with all of our employees preferring hybrid working. The reason I like it is because you get the best of both worlds: the convenience of working from home, which allows me to gain more hours of my working week back with no commute, but also I get the social element and enjoy seeing and chatting to my employees when in the office, which helps with motivation.
We even did a poll and asked the question: “Do you prefer a hybrid working week?”, and 100% of the votes were yes. We have a range of ages, genders and lifestyles, and interestingly, the hybrid model works for all, we’ve found. Here’s what our staff had to say.
It’s a hit with Gen Zs
One of our Gen Z employees loves it for many reasons:
“The work/life balance is so much better this way. I’m able to balance the work around my hobbies when at home. I can also run errands easily as my manager trusts me to get the hours in. Having more time with loved ones and family is also a blessing, and I’m also a fan of cutting down transport costs! I’m also into exercise, so I get to pop out to the gym during lunch break or can squeeze in a workout at home when working. Being in the office a few days a week works really well for creative brainstorming sessions with the whiteboard. It really is a great balance.”
Another younger employee also likes the convenience: “It means you can plan things in your personal life to happen within the working week (deliveries, appointments etc.). I prefer hybrid rather than fully remote because you still get human interaction and it makes any meetings that need to be face-to-face easier to plan.”
What about millennials?
One worker said: “I like having the flexibility of a work-from-home day to do an errand if I need to, and it’s such a perk to be able to nip into the kitchen for drinks, snacks and home comforts.”
Others prefer the fewer distractions that working from home provides: “I do find I can get work done quicker at home without as many distractions, so to have a couple of days at home really works for me. I get to go in and have that social interaction but also those days where it’s just me and my desk to crack on.”
Then there are those that like how hybrid working can fit around family life and house management:
“It offers so much more flexibility in terms of childcare, and I am able to experience so much more that I would usually miss out on, i.e. nursery pick-ups / an extra few hours with my daughter before her bedtime, which is priceless. It also offers some great opportunities to get my head down and focus on tasks that would be more distracting to complete in the office.”
Another agrees: “It’s better for childcare and running a house. It’s the future of working thanks to technology. The standard 9-5 just isn’t needed anymore.”
One keyword that stands out is flexibility. A few said they really enjoyed the flexibility the hybrid work model gave them; being able to see partners and family more and loving the fact they can have better diets with the convenience of accessing home food and easier workouts.
It’s feedback like this that helps us maintain a positive work culture. We listen and we are proactive in our ways. For us, we really do feel it’s going to stick, and it’s been working brilliantly so far. We have all the right communication platforms and work-tracking systems in place, so that’s played a big part in why hybrid working has been a success for us. It’s also a great selling perk for attracting new talent when we need to grow. Being able to say you offer a mix of work-from-home and office days gives you an advantage.