As I was driving home after dropping my children at nursery, I tuned in for my daily dose of Nick Ferrari on LBC – might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the topical debates make for compelling listening. The topic of discussion was the Chancellor’s recent speech saying, “The ‘default’ location for workers should be in the office unless there is a good reason to work from home”. Do childcare restrictions count as a good reason? That perhaps is an argument for another day…
However, let’s look at the Chancellor’s comments in more depth. While he accepts that working remotely has indeed produced ‘exciting opportunities’, he is worried about the knock-on effects resulting in a lack of creativity. Given that we run a PR and Content Marketing business and rely on creativity as our bread and butter, I would say we, Mr Hunt, wholeheartedly refute your claims.
In October 2017 we made the bold decision to leave our permanent office (based in central London) to adopt a hybrid approach. There were teething issues along the way, but what we found was that our employees leaped at the opportunity to only meet up once or twice a week in a shared co-working office. Did we see a lack of productivity or creativity? Quite the opposite in fact.
The most recent official figures from The Office for National Statistics found that the majority of people – 63.9% – never work from home, while 21.4% work from the office and remotely, and just 7.8% of workers were based at home permanently. Meanwhile, consultancy firm Deloitte found more than three-quarters of UK Gen Zs (77%) and millennials (71%) would consider looking for a new job if their employer asked them to go into their workplace full-time. I fully appreciate that there are jobs that do not cater for working from home, but my issue lies with the fact that businesses like ours, are being pressured to adopt an old-fashioned way of working despite having adapted seamlessly to hybrid working.
Meeting up once or twice a week is enough to ensure that a community feeling is engaged, however, the rest of the time if anyone has a question or just needs to bounce campaign ideas around – a Teams call more than suffices. We have found people are more motivated as they don’t lose any time out of their personal lives by having to commute and they are trusted to complete their workload. If there are slips in delivery, then of course that is addressed case-by-case. In fact, having a better balance allows more time to develop personal interests, allows self-care, or giving back to society (one of my fellow Directors volunteers as a bike mechanic) – and those can only be good to fuel our creativity.
Given there is going to be a general election in circa 18 months, does the Government really want to steer businesses away from hiring top talent in an already cripplingly tight labour market? Thankfully, we were already working in a remote capacity before COVID-19 hit (with team members in Italy and Germany for example) and if anything, the pandemic cemented to us that our hybrid model works perfectly for our business.
Work-life balance is a top priority for us. If you want to work with a “virtual working” pioneer, take a look at our website to see our current vacancies.