After the pandemic sped up the move to remote working, many businesses will no doubt be weighing up whether it’s “worth” having a physical location. While some have been quick to declare the “death of the office”, others have stated that we can’t be truly productive “at home”. The truth isn’t that simple.
Here at Hallam, we’ve made a commitment to hybrid working and, over the last year, have changed the way we collaborate in our Future of Work strategy: it means that whilst we fully embrace the benefits of remote work, we also recognize that there’s still a need for face-to-face human interaction.
We know that if we design it carefully, we can combine both into a really effective hybrid model that will be better than either one in isolation.
In fact, rather than close office spaces, we’ve done the opposite and have opened new co-working spaces in Leeds and an office in Malaga, Spain, too. These new spaces are a continuation of that strategy and give both our staff a place to meet and work together in the Leeds area, and our clients a new space to work side-by-side with us in new ways.
Here’s why I believe the move to hybrid working shouldn’t mean the death of the office.
The Reinvention of the Office
We believe office centricity is over. We reject the concept of presenteeism: an obsolete culture where employees are forced to work in a fixed location as a performative measure, where wellbeing and productivity are sacrificed for the sake of simply being there physically.
Instead, we embrace the freedom to choose. Freedom to choose where to work; whether that’s a home office, a Hallam office or a rented house by the beach. We prioritize productivity and happiness over the notion that you have to physically attend a predefined location five days a week.
At the same time, we recognize that some people work better in an office — and that’s why we’re building a network of flexible, collaborative workplaces around the UK and beyond, where our team can have the choice to be wherever they feel they do their best work.
You Can’t Build a Hybrid Company With a SH*Tty Culture
Offices are an integral part of how we’ve built the workplace. We’re not saying that it’s wrong to be in an office, we’re simply saying it can be even better if you have more freedom.
That being said, remote work and hybrid work aren’t for everyone and, to build a successful hybrid business, culture is everything. That’s why we focus so much of our effort and energy on building Hallam into the best place to work. If we give everything to that cause, we believe Hallamers will bring their whole selves to work.
Only then can you build deep relationships and meaningful culture without relying on the historical mechanisms of presenteeism. It’s a complex and difficult strategy that has bigger benefits than the working practices of the 20th century, but only if you fully commit to prioritizing people over everything else.
Hybrid work cannot be achieved without a healthy, positive culture. Almost everything that can go wrong in hybrid work environments can be pinned back to cultural and engagement issues.
There are many benefits that this approach brings to both clients and colleagues alike. Hybrid work gives us a much wider network of employees around the world and having office spaces in a multitude of locations appeals to those who want a hybrid – rather than fully remote – way of working.
We’re no longer constrained by a commute, we can hire the best people, wherever they live. That gives us more flexibility, responsiveness and local knowledge than ever before.
Plus, opening our next work hubs in Leeds and Malaga is part of our vision for how we see the future of work, where our hybrid teams can meet to collaborate and work together both with clients and each other. In fact, we believe in this vision so much that we have further plans to expand to further locations around the UK and Europe, too.
We have the freedom to choose, and we’re making the most of it.
Hallam is the first-ever agency to win back-to-back Grand Prix awards (having just claimed their third), an award determined by client feedback and ratings instead of an independent judging panel.
And these awards speak volumes for the results Hallam achieves. As a strategic partner, Hallam works with clients to grow their revenue through integrated digital marketing that’s steered by strategy and long-term vision.
Thanks to this expertise, Hallam is a trusted digital partner for leading brands like The United Nations, Suzuki, Speedo, and Boots.