By: Al Fox – Director at B2B integrated marketing agency for the tech sector, Fox Agency
Keeping the culture
When most people are WFH the culture of a company can easily take a nosedive. When office-based, we had many benefits and health and wellbeing initiatives, so we were determined to keep things going after we changed to a hybrid working model.
Our weekly bootcamp sessions with a personal trainer moved to Zoom, which works really well and means that even those working abroad can join.
We also wanted to maintain our regular program of having speakers enlighten us on various topics, mainly focusing on health and wellbeing. These are also now online and have so far included sessions on meditation and mindfulness, regular yoga classes, photography, and Instagram tuition and even an amazing Sound Bath experience.
Our early finish Fridays see us get together on Teams, where our Social Committee hosts activities such as Murder Mystery events, Pictionary, Comedy Hour, Pub Quizzes, etc.
Introducing new initiatives regularly maintains interest and keeps things fresh.
We’ve recognised that life doesn’t always fit neatly around the 9-5, and sometimes we have school runs, appointments, and other life laundry events that pop up during the day. We incorporated flexible working to help with this, but because we are a marketing agency, we need to be mindful of also being around for our clients. So while there’s flex, there’s no complete changing of hours.
This has really helped many in our team, especially those with young children during lockdown; however, it can bring issues. If someone is catching up in the evening, others may be relaxing after doing a regular 9-5. So bombarding colleagues with messages out of hours can be harmful.
Even viewing messages in the evenings can set the mind racing and interrupt sleep – not ideal when we all need to be refreshed for work every morning. For this reason, we request caution when sending out of hours messages, and for those who are not working flexibly, to try and hold off responding until the following day.
When we can’t see people daily, and home and work life are blurred, it’s easy for teams to get seriously bogged down without management knowing. We ask our line managers to regularly check in with their teams and equally ask all our colleagues to speak up if there’s a problem. An agency thrives on creativity, and this can easily evaporate if we’re consistently working late.
As a rule, many of our employees no longer visit the office, so they don’t have that distinction were leaving the office is marking the end of the working day. We, therefore, ask them to try and incorporate a routine to mark the end of the workday. Some just switch the PC off and leave the room they work in, but others may be working in the kitchen or living room and don’t have this boundary. Some choose to go for a walk or run, and some immediately start cooking, some turn on the TV, but whatever we do, it’s really worth having a routine to mark the distinction between the end of work and the start of leisure.
Real life get togethers!
Let’s remember that there’s nothing like getting together in person, so we have regular meet-ups in the diary. In September, everyone in the agency will have paid travel to our head office, where we will have a few days of real-life meetings, team-building exercises, meals together, and nights out. Meeting in real life now and again is essential for building relationships and also for having some well-needed fun.