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2pm, Wednesday 5th May 2021

This is for Agency Hackers members. If your agency isn’t a member yet, please sign up here.

Back to the Office – Who’s In and Who’s Out (and Who’s Shaking It All About?)

  • 2020 forced agencies to be more adaptable than ever before
  • But what’s changed forever? And what are you ‘putting back to normal’?
  • We’ll be chatting to three agency leaders about how they approach the traditional office and 9-5 attitude, and how they’ve embraced flexibility

When it comes to the question of bringing people back into the office post-lockdown, there seem to be no two answers the same. 

But one thing that is clear is for several agencies, the traditional 9-5 in a dedicated office space is no longer an option.

For someone like Neil Davidson, CEO of HeyHuman and HeyLab, lockdown helped him realise they could survive without an office altogether.

“It’s such a massive part of an agency, but in times like these an office is starting to feel more like a football stadium – big, empty and rarely used,” he says. 

“Every business has had to embrace working from home, whether they like it or not – and the world hasn’t stopped turning. No one really knows what will definitely work or not post pandemic, so let’s start without an agency office and build from there from what we learn.”

Kathryn Strachan, owner and managing director of Copy House, has always embraced a hybrid model of working on 2-3 days a week in the office, long before the pandemic, and now champions a ‘work from anywhere’ policy.

“We’ve embraced the digital nomad trend,” she explains. “The team can go for a couple of months and live with family or work from abroad without taking paid holiday leave.”

They also don’t subscribe to the customary 9-5.

“We work on a time zone-based model, and we also have an output base. You have work that you need to do each week, and when you do it is completely up to you,” she says.

Sometimes, making a binary choice of yes or no when it comes to keeping your office simply won’t work. 

Instead, you might need to look at a hybrid model, which is what Rob Sandbach, managing director of Indie Spring, has been exploring for the last eight years.

“I think a lot of businesses have figured out you can work in any place, at any time. We look to the advantages of opening up and broadening our work to allow flexibility of timing,” he explains. 

“For example, if a parent wants to drop their kids off and pick them up from school, they wouldn’t be able to work a 9-5. But with us they can, and we have access to all that talent. We’ve only had one staff member leave in the last eight years, and I think that’s because we’ve got it right in terms of flexibility AND culture.”

We’ll be talking to all Neil, Kathryn and Rob about their flexible working approaches. This will be an interesting one, full of advice you can take away to make sure you’re getting it right when getting your gang back together.