So, let’s start off with an introduction. What is it that you do?
Hello. I’m Steve Talbot, Director at The Agency Brand Consultancy. We help business of all shapes and sizes create, connect and market their brand.
How are you working now, are your team members at home?
We are working 100% from home for the next 12 months (as of May 21). The COVID-19 pandemic was the main driver for that obviously. Subsequently, the unfortunate decline in tenants at the commercial property where we have been based for the last 13 years, led the landlord to lease the whole site to a college, pushing out us remaining tenants. We weren’t prepared for this and so we decided to keep going remotely for now until we have allocated time to finding the right space.
Now that restrictions are starting to ease, do you think you will return to the office, continue to work from home or consider a mix between the two with hybrid working?
When we do have an office again, I very much see hybrid working being a ‘thing’ for us. It’s great to have a space to work together but having some flexibility with that is great for the team.
What would you say are the pros and cons to hybrid working?
What technology do you rely on to do your day-to-day job?
Our project management software (Basecamp) lets us keep track of projects and loops conversations together. Our creative software is all cloud based and projects can be opened wherever. And Teams. We had video calls before the pandemic where our clients were based in the UAE or Europe, but we spend as much time on Teams as we used to on phone. None of the above are half as good without a solid broadband connection!
Have you taken on any new technology as a result of the pandemic?
We are using Teams daily now as a way to steer internal and external projects and collaborate. But collaboration tools generally; Slack, Whatsapp, Hangouts, Zoom, Enreach Meetings… we work with what clients prefer and these have been the anchors to get things done.
Many times, I have been working with a shared screen as clients or colleagues can discuss in real time developments or ideas.
What tips would you give to businesses considering a full-time flexible workforce?
Do you think working patterns in England will change as restrictions ease?
Speaking generally of businesses throughout the UK as we do, working patterns have already changed and businesses and people have adapted accordingly. Rationalising commercial property had been on the cards before the pandemic. For some it was a catalyst to make overdue changes.
Do you think business are as ‘tech-forward’ as they should be?
There are always areas where tech can help. I think more often than not it is the upheaval associated with implementation or the anticipated upheaval, that holds business back rather than cost. It’s very British really; the right tech can transform how we work but we worry about the journey not how awesome the destination is.
What business lessons have you learnt from the pandemic?
I am really proud of how we have adapted, grown and continued to do great work. I put that down to how well we learned to collaborate in new ways on platforms like Teams.
I have always known we are great bunch at The Agency, but the pandemic just solidified how committed the team are and that everyone can be trusted to do what they do.
Finally, when you need to send a 5GB file and your upload speed is less than 30MB you need to build that in to your project planning!
A big thank you to Steve for speaking to us. It’s been fascinating to hear how hybrid working is impacting the creative industries. If you’d like to sit down and speak to us about the impact hybrid working is having on your industry, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org, via our chat bot, or give us a call on 0333 3603 723.