Going beyond hybrid working

The last two years have given us the chance to pause and reflect. Both personally and professionally. The intersection of those two standpoints has, for many individuals, culminated in a simple question: “Who do I work for. And why?”

From a business perspective, necessity to survive drove many to homeshore employees. For some, it sparked a change in attitude to maintain the type of trust and supervision required to elicit pre-pandemic levels of productivity. Depending on that outlook, there were real and obvious questions about whether individuals and teams could effectively ‘wfh’. Gladly, what we witnessed is what we knew all along; trust, equip and empower people and they will continue to do great work wherever they reside. In other words, treat adults like adults.

As we emerge from this black swan moment, the next set of questions employers are pondering is whether to re-mandate some form of office attendance. But the new normal isn’t simply about whether you work from home or not. It goes beyond ‘hybrid working’ and gives us the opportunity to double down on the reasons why people choose to work with an employer.

We pride ourselves on building a business that attracts the best people, therefore doing the best work with the best clients. We give teammates the autonomy to balance the benefits of an office location with the comforts of working elsewhere, while maintaining the right level of client service, contribution to the agency, care to personal development and good teamship. The model allows each team member the opportunity to work from anywhere while balancing agency, client, personal development and wellness targets to be a successful contributor to the team, the community and wider world. It aligns with our mission to accelerate positive impact for people and planet with a direct focus on equity, equality and empowerment – wherever you are.

We are steadfast on our approach and increasingly buck the prevailing trend of many well-intentioned companies that are now ratcheting set or rota’d days, or even back to full-time office hours. We’re doing the exact opposite.

At Archetype UK we have chosen to be intentional with our ‘beyond’ hybrid working model to be empathic to needs and wants from a future-focused employer. This has allowed us to go deeper to unlock the next level of great talent, enabling more dimensions of diversity to participate, show up and contribute. We will actively do this more as we recognise the power of difference to reflect our clients, audiences and communities we serve. I know, as a recent dad of a two-year-old, I can be – without being torn – so much more present at a precious time in his life.

Similarly, we actively support job shares, demonstrating to peers and clients that they can function efficiently in an agency setting. We created the platform, our brilliant teammates have been empowered to make it work for them and the business. This trust and transparency embodies the ‘best’ trinity of people, work and clients that can support the rigors of family life.

We hope to enable more working parents and carers to never intentionally feel split by the demands of their personal and professional jobs. We will continue to test, foster and build upon our hybrid working platform to support more opportunities maternity leave and other returners and a UK-centric workforce. Many of our brilliant teammates already live outside of the capital – from Glasgow, Cleethorpes and Cambridge to Sussex, Avon and Somerset.

Our sustainability focussed HQ serves as a base for individuals and teams that need it and our technology stack is designed to enable high-performance from wherever.

Of course, face-to-face meetings continue to have real and tangible value. Not only do they naturally support the speed of communication and serendipity, and help participants to convey complex messages, but they get us out of the house and conversing in groups again; collaboration, connection and community are key anchors that some teammates crave.

We therefore need to be intentional, savvy and acknowledge that one size doesn’t fit all. For some, concentrating on deep-focus work can be achieved in the quiet comforts of home. For others, a lively office is far more conducive. I know for myself, human connection benefits to my mental health, my perspective on the business challenges and my sense of belonging. I see our office as a hub for role modeling, collaboration and creativity, while others – despite the initial stifling nature of home-working – now find it truly liberating and, with it, a newfound skill of being highly time-efficient and productive.

Transforming the work life balance, reducing the slog of a daily commute, enabling us to spend more time with friends, family and embracing passion projects is clearly where we need to get to. Blending viewpoints and working styles is key to attracting (and keeping) great talent. We can’t go back. We must step forward.

Supporting teammates is also crucial, especially as we see green shoots emerging from the barren pandemic landscape. Mental health and wellbeing will be a key focus for us in 2022. We must recognise the times for decompression and actively encourage it. We must also do more to support talent with neurodiversity, seen and unseen disabilities, and continue to be less London centric, alongside socially mobilising a stream of talent that have not previously entered or had access to our profession. To underpin and further build upon our ambition we are rolling out regular unconscious bias training and developing an inclusive behaviours framework. This year we will foster stronger alliances with local community foundations and create more apprenticeship opportunities.

We will continue to deliver on our commitment to accelerating positive impact for people and the planet. We will be transparent with our successes and open about the challenges we face and our ambitions for the betterment of our teammates.

Why people choose to work with us will be compellingly simple.