Chief Marketing Officer
Fully office-based? Fully remote? Hybrid? How we work has changed, the right working model for a company and its employees will depend on many variables, including the nature of the business and its culture.
At Superscript, we have experienced all three setups since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Having originally been an exclusively office-based business we went fully remote during the various lockdowns and had periods of hybrid working in between.
Like many businesses we have been taking regular employee feedback to determine the best approach for our business as restrictions were lifted. From 1st August 2021 we decided to implement hybrid working: a few days at home, a few in the office.
For the majority of our employees, a hybrid working pattern brings together the best of both worlds.
- Happiness at home, with more flexibility through one’s working week and working day to fulfil personal matters
- Happiness in the office, with the meaningful face-to-face connections, the spontaneous interactions you can’t have over Slack or Zoom, the camaraderie and the stimulation of ‘working out in a pack’
Our hybrid working model
There are many ways a business can implement a hybrid working policy, from a more open any time any place approach to the structure of set days in the office which can be tailored around teams or projects.
Whatever combination of in office/elsewhere working, it’s imperative to adapt to the strengths of the environment and use any physical time in the office wisely.
At Superscript, the following model and guiding principles have proven effective at fostering employee satisfaction:
- Working out a rotation to ensure employees get to have physical interactions will colleagues across all departments, beyond just their direct teammates
- Using the time in the office effectively for key meetings that are more productive if run face-to-face, such as creative ideation sessions
- At the same time, when in the office avoiding back-to-back meetings; leaving enough free time to enable spontaneous interactions with colleagues and the chance to foster relationships socially
I have observed over the years that for most people, happiness at work is more than being adequately paid to do the job...it’s also about feeling valued and cared for by your company; feeling respected, treated fairly and equally; and feeling like you belong.
Nurturing employee happiness in a hybrid setup
For most people happiness at work is more than just being adequately paid to do a job and it’s more than aligning with your employer’s purpose and objectives. So often it’s also about individuals feeling valued and cared for by their company; feeling respected, treated fairly and equally; and feeling like they belong.
Businesses who are truly able to create a culture and environment which meets these employee needs are able to see the benefits, with improved team motivation often resulting in incremental business performance.
At Superscript, we deliver on these ‘happiness at work’ drivers by focussing on three key areas:
1. The basics
First things first, it’s important to get the basics right, and ensure all employees are well set up for work whether they are based at home or in the office. Poor physical work conditions are often a key driver of dissatisfaction (Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory highlights them as a key hygiene factor of employee motivation).
It sounds obvious, but not all employers invest enough in equipment and tools beyond the communication, messaging and collaboration tools; for desk workers, this includes the provision of adequate workstations, ergonomic chairs and noise-cancelling headsets if required, at home and in the office. Employees’ work setup must be given the same level of attention, regardless of location.
2. Equality and inclusion regardless of location
In addition, with a split workforce, it’s vital to ensure that employees are treated fairly and equally whether they are in the office or not. By embracing apps such as Slack, Donut or Hopin, we encourage regular casual and social interactions for a distributed workforce that may be in the office or at home. Taking time to condition the hybrid workplace allows us to facilitate authentic, meaningful inclusion for everyone, whatever their working location.
We believe that no one should feel like they are ‘missing out’ when not in the office. So we make sure that people working remotely are treated fairly and equally, in the same way as those who are in. Same attention from management, same care, same recognition and same trust from us as a leadership team.
From a practical standpoint, those who attend a company meeting remotely are able to contribute or ask questions in the same way those physically present can, through conference call chatbox.
3. Social events
At Superscript, our company culture has always had elements of employee engagement built around social connections. When we moved to a permanent hybrid model, it was imperative for us to continue to organise location-agnostic activities to enable these. Over the last eighteen months, we introduced many, ranging from quick, randomly matched online social chats between team members from different departments; steps challenge between mixed teams; quizzes; chocolate-tasting; esports competitions; social and fundraising activities that foster team-building; and more.
Taking part in these team activities has given everyone a sense of belonging, and ensured our employees don’t just show up through their physical or online presence ‘for work’, but also mentally, and engage with their colleagues whether in the office or elsewhere.
Is hybrid working?
One month on, and we are pleased with how it’s worked out so far. I can absolutely feel within my team and beyond, that energy and engagement levels have increased substantially.
Given that nearly two thirds of the Superscript workforce started after we went into the first lockdown, moving to a hybrid model has helped people get to know each other better and to bond, which in turn generates greater trust, collaboration and productivity - especially between departments. This was also aided by a well attended social event which adhered to government guidelines, for those who wanted to meet and interact with colleagues in person.
I can safely say that for us, this is the right model - a model that both employees and the business benefit from.
Mai Fenton is Chief Marketing Officer at Superscript, read more of Mai’s articles below:
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