The end of WFH as we know it?
Written by Paul Maher
Now lockdown is just a fading memory, there’s been a lot of debate on whether working from home beats returning to the office.
Those preferring their workforces to attend offices in person include the Daily Mail writer who dubbed the slow return to work, the ‘flexidus“, as a “catastrophe”. While those who would prefer working from home, such as those Deloitte polled in a Computer Weekly article, believe home office workers are simply more productive.
There are merits to both sides of the argument. For our part, we currently are PTWFH, or Part Time Work From Home, which we believe is the new norm most creatives enjoy the most and as creatives we agree it makes us more productive. In real terms, part time office occupancy is a new cost to the business. The fact is just because most of us are in the office only 60% of the week, our landlords still insist on 100% of their rent bills being paid in full and on time.
So why not, just go fully remote?
Our leadership believes this business is more productive when we blend WFH with face-to-face meetings, undistracted and focused on each other in the office and here is the key part, for most tasks.
Clearly writing complex B2B copy, dreaming up amazing campaign ideas and even deep data analysis, for instance of the many research campaigns we run, are best done either solo or with a small group in a relatively quiet spaces, such as the small, soundproofed workpods and break out tables in our office space.
The Positive Way
Work at Positive is way more varied than most workplaces and with a younger demographic and our insistence all employees are “maniacally curious”, the need for group working is paramount. For us, there are at least three scenarios where being within spitting, or more realistically debating, distance from each other pays clear dividends.
- The Brainstorm – Positive does more brainstorms per client than any agency I have worked with previously. In this mode, ideas fly, participants talk over each other and passions rise and fall. Videoconferencing gets nowhere near this for quality ideation.
- The Training Session– All our work involves human interactions requiring advanced communication skills. Delivering good, or less good, news to clients, calling up journalists and even live chats are all best observed in real-time, where juniors can watch the micro-expressions of their senior colleagues and learn faster.
- The Experiment – Ours is a world where digital tools constantly change. This year
alone, we have changed our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, our journalist database and our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) provider. Each one of these requires more specialist skill transfer because canned demos only take you so far. We also fundamentally believe, learning by making live mistakes is stronger, especially with a supportive colleague alongside.,
All of these points were explained better than we ever could by a candidate we recently interviewed. While this so-called management team fled London during lockdown, he stayed in the office, abandoned, for days at a time in preference to his bijou flat share.
As a result, he was learning little, feeling isolated and like his career was rudderless. Offering raw talent like this the opportunity to join our tight-knit and ambitious team solved all three issues at once. He was thrilled and so are we.
We won’t be going to a full office retreat just yet. Equally we know first-hand that full-time working from home is not for us. We are moving forward hybrid and proud, if just a little more WFO than WFH. One size does not fit all. We believe, for now, it suits nobody.