There has been much discussion about what the return to work might look like post lockdown and following the call from the PM to get back to work–where he said people are “more productive, more energetic, more full of ideas [sic], when they are surrounded by other people”.
Having read the many articles written on the subject, there is somewhat of a divided opinion on how companies might manage the move back to the office. Some are enforcing a return to the office full-time, while others are embracing a remote workforce. Some companies are considering a four-day working week. So, the outcome of the current six-month pilot of 70 UK companies and 3,300 employees will be very interesting for many–something that felt like an unlikely concept just a few years ago.
The variation in how to work has been a huge topic of conversation for both the media and employers alike. And for companies who are open to having a discussion, and trying new ways of working, there will be benefits and challenges for both parties. For those who have chosen the path of remote working, or a hybrid model, the question remains, how do you maintain a sense of belonging, connection, and culture if people are not in the same place?
Design by Structure has faced those same challenges as a business. How we work changed during lockdown - that is tough for a creative business. We had just moved into our new office in Shoreditch a few weeks before the first lockdown, but like everyone else, we had to embrace the change. During the two-years of lockdown, we managed to thrive and grow, and we didn’t make redundancies or furlough anyone, in fact, we made some new hires to build our team.
The easing of restrictions and end of lockdown saw some of our team members jump straight into returning to the office, while others have been understandably more cautious. But the one thing we all agree on is that some of our best work comes when we are connected. For us at Structure, our sense of togetherness and team culture is so important. So, we decided to practice what we preach, embrace the new opportunities that remote working brings, and moved the whole office from Shoreditch to Seville for a week as part of our rewards programme for the year. If we could make it work from our homes, why not in another city!
So, we set up our base in a co-working space (air-conditioned to the max) in the heart of sunny Seville and it was business as usual.
The benefits of this work trip were incredible, we got to see a city not from a tourist perspective but from working and being part of the city's working rhythm, such as the siestas shut down or grabbing lunch as locals do (we became big fans of empanadilla's). We stayed in accommodation dotted around the city so everyone could have their own experience of the city and working life.
This working week in Seville was about us, it gave us the chance for immersive in-person work sessions, setting aside time to get out of the day-to-day and discuss as a team the year ahead, opportunities to develop the business and workshops to chat through bigger and more long-term challenges and come to solutions. Our clients have been really supportive of our working trip, and we have noted that two of them are doing the same, so maybe we are part of a new movement?
As a creative business, it was incredible to be able to explore the creative culture the city has to offer–to inspire our creative process. In the evenings we dined out on some spectacular food and finished our Summit at one of Seville's most beautiful hotels with a company dinner.
As a branding agency, we discuss with our clients the importance of nurturing their brands, to think of them outside of simply the identity, but as something that adds value to their business. And so too, you must nurture and care for your team, the people who help you to build that brand and drive its success.
So, now we are talking about making our ‘Structure Summit’ an annual event, to recognise the value our team brings to the business and bring everyone together regularly in new ways and different cities – this allows us to ensure that recognition is truly lived and not just spoken about.
Was the trip a success for the business? Yes, it was, we bonded as a team and continued to deliver our client work. It was a fantastic experience for us as a team but also for us personally.
Finally, Seville is called the frying pan of Spain, and we now know why...we certainly could have done without the daily 40+-degree heat!!!
Published by: Fara Darvill in News
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