With the Covid-19 vaccination programme underway and coronavirus restrictions in place, it might not be long before the UK government change their advice to "work from home if you can effectively do so" and once again encourage workers to return to offices.
When that day comes, Glass Digital staff will have the option to continue working from home if they wish. In fact, they'll be able to work from wherever they like — including our Newcastle upon Tyne office. Here's why.
The evolution of our office and remote working policy
We firmly believe in helping staff to achieve a happy and healthy work-life balance, so, in 2018, we began trialling a remote working policy: staff would have the option to work from home one day a week.
The trial was a success: staff were happy and client results were as strong as ever. We even decided to double the work-from-home allowance during the winter months.
The processes and technologies we had in place to support remote working also stood us in good stead when the Beast From The East hit, making it difficult and dangerous for staff to travel to work, and made the transition from our old office to our new premises all the easier.
They also allowed us to react as soon as the Covid-19 outbreak became a bigger concern in the UK, which is why we closed our office on Monday 16th March 2020, a week before the Prime Minister told British people they "must stay at home".
Remote working during the coronavirus pandemic
There's no escaping that working during the coronavirus pandemic has been difficult, so our leadership team completed training with Mental Health Matters to better understand how we could support staff, and look after our own wellbeing, during the pandemic and beyond. We learned some valuable lessons and implemented new policies accordingly.
There were also practical issues at first, but we were able to resolve them quickly. For example, communication levels had dropped because we weren't sharing an office, so we began posting weekly company updates and scheduling regular Zoom catchups. Team ideation sessions were proving more difficult because we'd lost our whiteboard walls, so we invested in an online whiteboard tool instead. Perkbox was introduced to keep morale high.
However, there were silver linings to working from home full-time. Many Glass Digital staff found that they could create a working environment to suit their unique needs. They were also saving money and using extra free time positively: spending more time with loved ones and pets, engaging in hobbies that had previously fallen by the wayside, and adopting new exercise regimes.
But that's not to say that no one was missing the office. So, we worked hard to make our workplace COVID-secure and conducted a survey to see how staff wanted us to approach reopening. All of this meant that we were able to safely reopen for a short period before the second national lockdown was announced.
Our decision to offer full-time remote working
If we want staff to perform at their best, we need to support their working needs and preferences as best we can. Over recent months, full-time remote working has proven to be a huge success, so we decided to offer flexibility for the long-term.
Glass Digital employees can now work from any location as long as they are able to maintain standards and complete core hours, when they need to communicate with colleagues and clients. And, once it is safe to reopen, staff will have the option to work in our Newcastle upon Tyne office as much or as little as they wish.
We are confident that this decision will help us to deliver the best possible results to clients by allowing us to retain happy and healthy staff who can work in ways that suit them. As a digital marketing agency, we are in a strong position to offer this perk successfully.
And we're not alone. Companies including Google, Indeed, Microsoft, Uber, American Express, and Airbnb have all extended their remote working policies1. With surveys showing that:
- 88% of employees who worked from home during lockdown would like to continue doing so in some capacity2,
- 44% of directors believe that working from home is proving more effective3, and
- 70% of workers say they are just as productive or even more so when remote working4,
it's little wonder why.
"The previous remote-working and flexible start time policies had allowed me to manage my time more effectively and achieve a healthier work-life balance, and that will only improve with these changes. I'm excited to add more variety to my life, especially after a year of being largely stuck at home. As someone who works across PPC and affiliate teams, I know that we're able to maintain great communication between colleagues and clients regardless of where everyone's working."
"While the new remote working policy is great for staff it brings benefits to clients, too, as the team now have the option to work from wherever they feel most productive — they can choose what suits best on any given day. I'm looking forward to balancing office meetups alongside extra time with family."
"Glass Digital has always been a forward-thinking company when it comes to work-life balance. I'm proud to be part of a company that can work effectively and achieve results from anywhere. Personally, it'll allow me to be around more for my lovely greyhound, Diego, and live and work in various cities across Europe as a 'local' rather than a tourist, which is something that has been on my bucket list for a while."
"The remote-working policy combined with our flexible start time is ideal for an early riser like me. Without the commute, I'll be able to head to the gym, get ready, and eat breakfast all before starting work at 8am. I think it gives me a great start to every day and gives me more energy to put into my work."