At the start of 2020, hardly any of us could have anticipated how much our lives would change throughout the year. The rapid spread of coronavirus has seen countries around the world implement major changes to slow the spread of the virus and reduce the number of deaths resulting from it.
These changes have altered every aspect of our lives – our social lives, the activities we can and can’t engage with and much more however, the biggest and most lasting change may be in the way we work. Working from home has become the new normal, however, if you work in an agency in Kent, this may be nothing new.
Our Kent marketing agencies have been setting the pace for a number of years when it comes to flexible working, employing remote practices and challenging the norm.
Much of an agency’s work is online based, allowing employees to quickly adapt to the crisis, reducing admin headaches and showing that the days of cramming your employees into an office between 9 to 5 may be phased out. In the wake of COVID 19 alongside a vast improvement in the technology we use for remote working, traditional office based businesses may be looking to follow suit.
Straying from the Nine to Five
The traditional office work routine has been very much the same for many years. We work from nine in the morning until five (or five thirty) in the evening, five days a week (generally Monday to Friday). But many agencies have been doing things a little differently, searching for ‘a better way’ of working. For example, agencies such as Reflect Digital in Maidstone run on a four day working week instead, with employees benefitting from a long weekend every week. Employees would opt to take Monday or Friday as the additional day off, effectively meaning there are often fewer employees in the office on these days.
Our agencies have been forerunners in acknowledging that a better work life balance is directly related to an improvement in productivity and happiness at work – helping relaxed employees to do their best work. If employees have more of a life outside of work, they tend to be happier and more productive when they do go to work.
Favouring Remote Work
Coronavirus has seen office spaces empty over the past few months. This is because working from home is a much safer option when it comes to avoiding contact with others you don’t live with. When you work in an office, you have to commute and you have to work alongside others, potentially spreading infection along the way. But remote work is something that agencies have been embracing for a number of years. For example, ExtraDigital in Canterbury have encouraged employees to work 3 days a week for many years.
The effectiveness of remote working is based on the premise that if you simply trust your staff, they will often prove that they can be just as productive in their home environment. Often, they’re more productive, as they’re more comfortable, don’t waste hours commuting and can manage their days themselves.
Tiga, a creative marketing agency in Meopham, Kent stated that “Trust is absolutely key to making remote working effective. Empowering colleagues to work from home and make decisions is essential. For us, we were lucky enough to have cloud based infrastructure in place and have done for a good number of years. The important thing is to make sure everyone still works as a team, daily schedule meetings and informal lunchtime catch ups go a long way in keeping colleagues engaged.”
An unseen financial benefit – reducing office space requirements
As a result of flexible working, businesses can benefit from renting smaller office space. Of course, when more employees work from home or only on set days in the week, businesses don’t have to invest so much money in commercial premises. As businesses are discovering at this time – large office spaces that can provide enough room for all of your staff are likely to come hand in hand with a big price tag when it comes to monthly rent. But only having to fork out for a small office that caters to smaller numbers of staff who have to work on-site can make running your business a lot more affordable.
With the majority of traditionally office based employees successfully working from home over the last 3 months, businesses may opt to follow the lead of our agencies, finally realising the benefits that remote working offers. After COVID-19 business practices may change forever so those that fail to adapt may find themselves struggling to attract top talent away from companies with flexible working practices.