Our team at Aquent have been working from home for the past year. It certainly wasn’t an easy start and no-one really knew how long this would last, but I think we managed it well. The support from higher management, and flexibility helped us all get through this together.
As the General Manager for Aquent in Sydney, I wanted to make sure I was still there for the team (even through a screen) and help them feel like I wasn’t too far away for a helping hand, whilst still enjoying coming to work (even if it was in their activewear, business up top… pjs down bottom) attire.
Everyone was working so hard, so to keep the fun going as we had done the office, we initiated virtual Friday drinks, weekly best dressed, masterchef cook offs, colour themes, bring your pet to work, and yes, we also had a Tiger King theme day.
We adapted to the “new norm” and were able to increase collaboration between our Sydney and Melbourne teams, share laughs, tears, but most importantly, we stayed positive and safe.
Fast forward a year later, we have recently had some staff reach out wanting to work in the office again (whatever that looked like). This got me thinking…
How many of us out there feel the same and miss working in the office?
Working from home does come with perks — you can save commuting time, be able to drop off kids at school, and still start your day on time. You can also be home in time for dinner with family, have the washing done and dinner ready, not to mention saving money on coffees and lunches and lots of dog walks.
There are also some downfalls to working from home — FOMO; not having your colleagues around you and the energy they bring, missing out on the high fives for a job well done. Also, not having team meetings in person and Friday drinks. Your home office walls are the same you see hour after hour; not having enough breaks and getting that fresh air; staying away from the fridge etc.
For me, what I miss most about working in the office is my team. You can’t beat human company!
This is exactly in line with the results of our 2021 Talent Insights Survey of 1,600 digital marketing, creative and development Talent when we asked them what they missed about working in an office. Employees are mostly missing that social interaction with workmates.
So we sent out a confidential survey to our Aquent team and asked them if they would like to return to the office and how often? The results came back and were very clear. Unsurprisingly, they all wanted flexible working conditions and the majority wanted to work from the office two days a week and the rest of the week from home.
Again, this was consistent with the results from our 2021 Talent Insights Survey with the majority of Talent wanting to return 1-2 days per week to work from the office.
The plan is to give this a three month trial — then survey our employees again to see if it is working or whether the strategy needs adjustment.
The key is to be flexible around the needs of your team, whilst ensuring that the strategy works well from a business perspective too.
Employers who are inflexible with their employees regarding flexible work are certain to start losing key Talent.
In a recent LinkedIn poll, we asked people what they would do if employers insisted they work in the office full-time, and 22% said they would find another job. In addition, 66% said they would negotiate flexible working. So in total, at least 88% of employees wanted flexible working options.
Employers beware of the perils of not considering the needs of your employees
How flexible is your employer if you don’t want to go back into the office? What do you miss about it? I would love to hear your thoughts and what options your employer has provided for you?
Connect with me on Linkedin and share your thoughts.