How the pandemic changed the way we work – two years on

What are your thoughts on hybrid/flexible working? There’s no doubt that the pandemic brought about so much upheaval in all aspects of our lives, but it also transformed the way in which we now work. One of the most significant shifts has been the rise of hybrid flexible working. As we all navigated the aftermath of the many lockdowns (still makes me shudder just thinking about it) the world went into a new way of working; from companies who wouldn’t allow you to leave ten minutes early for a doctors appointment to then being forced to stay at home and deal with zoom calls (‘You’re on mute Malcolm…’) the working world suddenly shifted and many businesses grappled with the new norm.

Now, two years on I want to look back and reflect over the rise of working from home and the positives, and impact, that that can have within the world of marketing agencies.

Lessons Learned

  1. Enhanced Work-Life Balance: The pandemic taught us the importance of work-life balance, and hybrid flexible working has made it possible to achieve just that. Employees now have the flexibility to structure their workday around personal commitments, leading to reduced burnout and improved mental well-being.
  2. Access to Diverse Talent Pools: The geographical constraints of traditional office settings are no longer a barrier. Marketing agencies can now tap into a global talent pool, recruiting professionals regardless of their location. This not only boosts diversity but also brings fresh perspectives to the table.
  3. Increased Productivity: Contrary to initial scepticism, many marketing agencies have reported a boost in productivity with hybrid flexible working. The absence of daily commutes and fewer office distractions have allowed employees to concentrate on their tasks, resulting in efficient work outcomes.
  4. Cost Savings: For both employees and employers, hybrid flexible working has led to cost savings. Employees save on commuting expenses, while agencies can reduce overhead costs associated with maintaining a large office space.

A Match Made in MHeaven

Marketing agencies, with their creative and dynamic nature, have particularly embraced the benefits of hybrid flexible working:

  1. Creative Collaboration Knows No Bounds: The marketing landscape thrives on collaboration and brainstorming. Hybrid flexible working, with the aid of digital communication tools, has enabled agencies to hold virtual brainstorming sessions, seamlessly merging ideas from team members regardless of their physical location.
  2. Improved Client Relationships: Flexibility in working hours allows marketing professionals to align their schedules with clients from different time zones, enhancing communication and building stronger relationships.
  3. Tailored Work Environments: Some marketers find their creative juices flowing more freely in the comfort of their home, while others prefer the energy of a bustling office. Hybrid flexible working accommodates these varying preferences, ensuring that each individual can work in an environment that suits them best.

Navigating Challenges: The Struggles of Hybrid Flexible Working in Marketing Agencies

While the benefits are noteworthy, there are challenges that marketing agencies must navigate:

  1. Maintaining Team Cohesion: The spontaneous interactions and water-cooler conversations that foster camaraderie can be harder to replicate in a remote or hybrid setting. Agencies need to be proactive in organizing virtual team-building activities to bridge this gap.
  2. Communication Hurdles: Clear communication is the bedrock of successful marketing campaigns. Hybrid flexible working demands intentional efforts to ensure that communication lines remain open and effective across virtual channels.
  3. Performance Assessment: Evaluating the performance of remote or hybrid employees can be complex. Agencies need to establish transparent metrics and assessment methods to ensure fairness and accountability.

In conclusion, the pandemic has expedited the evolution of how we work, particularly in marketing agencies. The positives of hybrid flexible working far outweigh the challenges. This paradigm shift has not only ushered in a new era of work-life balance, productivity, and access to talent but has also allowed marketing agencies to harness the power of technology to collaborate creatively across borders. By learning from the lessons of the pandemic and embracing the possibilities of hybrid flexible working, marketing agencies are poised to shape a more agile, resilient, and innovative future.