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We’re excited to announce that we have made the decision to become a fully remote team and a few weeks ago we handed in the keys and waved goodbye to our office in Swallownest. The old church business centre offered a great base for us and brought us some cherished memories but now it’s time for us to truly embrace what it means to be digital.

 

Unbeknown to us, our training for the COVID-19 lockdown has been several years in the making. In March 2020, companies all over the world were forced to adapt to working from home as offices became uninhabitable. So what changed? Systems between colleagues and customers moved online. 

 

  • Participants for virtual meetings skyrocketed to hundreds of millions within a few months.
  • CRM and project management systems were created to track projects and productivity.
  • Communication channels were built internally and externally for interaction.

 

But for us, little operational adjustment was needed. As a digital agency, everything was already in place like a well oiled machine. We had actually been helping our clients with this for years and our weekly team meetings have always been held on Google hangouts even if we were all in the same room just for the ease of sharing screens and links in the chat as well as regularly working collaboratively on the same document at the same time. We’re familiar with all the different tools and tips to improve online productivity, efficiency and communication. Honestly, the biggest difference was adjusting from the swivel chair to a sofa!

 

What we did notice was numerous benefits of life without daily trips to the office. While not every business is suited to remote working, and work culture in offices can be a joy, we want to share some of the benefits we’ve experienced. We hope this helps you when deciding on the fate of your own office.

 

More flexible meetings for clients

We always had a dedicated meeting room to host our clients but we now have a far better setup. As an agency which covers South Yorkshire, we now have partner agreements in place which allow us access to 3 different meeting rooms around the region in Sheffield, Rotherham and Chesterfield. As a result, we can meet clients at the location closest to them (of course there are always plenty of coffee shops around too!).

 

It’s also worth noting that the reluctance for people to have online meetings has almost been eradicated. Virtual meetings are now here to stay and that means physical meetings will never be as frequent as they once were.

 

Less commute, more time!

Employees travel to work from all over the region and beyond, and journeys can take hours for some people. Amon, one of our digital marketing executives used to travel an hour to our Swallownest office from his home in the Peak District. We have all saved hours of time each week, which creates a healthier work-life balance. Fuel seemingly lasts forever and helps our staff save thousands of pounds annually. As a bonus, we’re saving tonnes of CO2 to help improve air quality and the environment.

 

This also opens up hiring opportunities for talent nationwide and we’ve recently recruited a new member of the team who is also based in Derbyshire.

 

Redirecting cost savings

At a time when companies are having to lay off employees to survive, it’s important to understand who your best assets are – the people! Without hefty office bills, more money can be directed to training staff, attracting additional work, and adding more value to our services for customers so we can all continue to thrive.

 

Through the pandemic we have delivered lots of new services and additional support to new and existing clients. Many organisations have found themselves facing some very different challenges with their business due to the lockdown. There have also been lots of opportunities for more online and digital projects, including online training portals, digital audits and even the launch of an exciting new tech Social Media startup called Wigwaum, who are set to revolutionise social media with their completely safe, secure and advert free platform.

 

Personal Freedom

All we need is an internet connection and a computer and we can do our jobs anywhere in the world. Fancy a trip to a sunny beach in Spain on Tuesday? We may need to take it easy on the martinis but other than that…the possibilities are endless. MD, Jessica Zeun, is off to Greece in September! So it’s not so much a ‘work from home’ policy as ‘work from ANYWHERE!’.

 

While we’re always available from 9am-5pm on weekdays, staff can now exercise more flexible work hours. The early bird doesn’t always get the worm, but an early finish is definitely a catch. Our integrated systems give us the ability to manage more flexible working hours while remaining fully accessible – even from a hilltop. Trust me, we’ve tried.

 

Provided with the tools to work remotely, with unlimited data plan, Siu-Ann, one of our graphic designers/digital marketer has been exploring work spaces for a change of scenery and to get inspired for new up-coming projects when safely to do so.

There’s more to discover…

Every business is different and has many factors to consider when deciding to leave the office for good. In 2015, the social media tech company, Buffer, decided to shut their $7,000-a-month office and never looked back. Now, its team of 90 successfully works from around the globe. Inaction on the fate of your office could be financially damaging and create uncertainty in the workplace. Shaky times demand good planning, leadership, and reassurance. Consider consulting an IT professional to evaluate your circumstances regarding IT systems and telecoms for working from home. We highly recommend South Yorkshire-based experts, Affinity IT.

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