On this day in 2020 (March 23), Boris Johnson ordered British citizens to stay at home. It was the start of two years of working from home. The original plan was never to be this long, and once employees settled into working from home, business leaders started thinking about returning to the office.
Hybrid working has been discussed with models such as 3:2 where staff spend three days in the office and two at home. Other agencies considered fewer days in the office and some took the approach of going there when necessary, for example when teams needed to work together in a field.
However, it was all rhetoric, as as soon as offices opened, a new wave of Covid-19 would sweep across the country and the nation would return to working from home.
Fast forward a few years and false starts seem to be a thing of the past. Many offices are finally bustling, the streets of Soho are buzzing with workers heading out for lunch, and commutes are about as busy as they were before the pandemic.
So now that the offices are finally open, how are companies finding it?
We keep many of the same principles that we developed two years ago:
Make a special effort to pay attention to each other.
People can be in trouble for all sorts of reasons, from health concerns to atrocities in Ukraine or the trauma of Girl Q… It’s harder to read people’s body language on a screen; but it’s essential to remember to check in when we’re together too.
Use the different types of working time in a positive way.
We are now together three days a week, and “WFWherever-suits-you-best” for the other two. So we’re using time together for activities that are best done IRL, and we’re also looking at the relative intimacy of screen time.
Take time to relax and have fun.
Being able to get together socially is a pleasure. And we continue to focus on mental and physical well-being by making time for breakfast, getting some fresh air, or using the Calm app.
Creative Director, VMLY&R
Since hybrid working has become the norm, we have not set a policy on a certain number of days that our employees must be in the office each week. Who are we to decide that Tuesdays work better than Fridays or Mondays work better than Wednesdays? All the knowledge we have acquired over the past two years shows that personal circumstances vary from person to person.
Therefore, our new working weeks are built on the foundations of trust, respect and understanding – big client meeting or pitch rehearsal? Yes, you will probably be part of it. Do you have a day of administration and calls? Where it suits you best.
Our folks love the choice of zooming around in their pajamas or mingling by the river, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many people choose to descend on Southbank every week in the middle of winter.
You don’t have to be wise beyond your years to see that two years of Covid is two years too long – and I know that with our newly renovated offices opening in a few weeks and a British summer on the horizon, we’ll soon be seeing more and more faces in real life.
Managing Director, Leo Burnett
It’s wonderful to meet again. The energy, fun and quick two-minute chats we’ve all longed for are well and truly back and all the better for it.
Unsurprisingly, we’re discovering some new things to consider as we return to office life. After all, we’ve all redesigned our lives to be centered around our homes for two years and are now looking to make the office work again for every individual, department and team.
It’s refreshing and our agency is definitely better now that we can be together again. Long may this continue.
VP Marketing, Google UK and Ireland
Switching to a hybrid workweek is an adjustment for some and an absolute natural solution for others. At Google, we encourage our colleagues to embrace the learning curve and be as caring and understanding of one another as possible.
Our leaders are committed to a flexible future of work, so we approach this phase of a return to power with a spirit of patience, mutual trust and respect.
Working from anywhere for weeks, working from home extensions, transferring locations, or going entirely remote are just some of the options available to Googlers, in addition to offering onboarding tips to pull the best of inclusive hybrid meetings.
As you’d expect from a company like Google, we’re always experimenting with new kinds of office space, as well as tools and technologies that allow our employees to be more productive, collaborate more anywhere and feel more connected to each other. other.
Managing Director, Twitter UK
Culture is such an integral part of working on Twitter, so being able to bring it all back to life and having the opportunity to reconnect or meet new colleagues has been a hugely important step for us here in London with our return to The Office.
As a company, we have adapted quickly to the circumstances presented by the pandemic to become more distributed and protect the safety of our employees. So, two years later, we wanted to apply the most successful learnings and give our teams the freedom to work where they feel most productive and creative.
The future of work at Twitter is flexible, which is why we strive to leverage our open and inclusive employee experience and trust our teams to decide where they work best.
Jax Ostle Evans
Managing Director, Stink Studios
We’re happy with how our returns policy worked out, primarily because we put a framework in place that we knew would be sustainable in the long run.
We did our research in 2020. We learned that parents, especially mothers’ careers, were negatively impacted by 100% remote work, while younger team members lacked the camaraderie, environment learning and support from more experienced team members.
We wanted to avoid this at all costs, so we based our return policy on everyone being in the office or everyone working from home. It means that when we’re all in, the energy is amazing. We have been transparent with the team on the plan and so far everything is going well. You don’t have to call everyone back to the office full time, it’s a solid hybrid strategy that works.