Global Views: Hybrid Work

Welcome to Just Global’s content series: Global Views. The focus of each edition of Global Views will be centered around one topic that the marketing and advertising industry is facing. 

Hybrid Work Environments

In recent weeks, it’s been reported that roughly 64% of workers are comfortable returning to the office. Yet, 82% of current remote workers enjoy working from home and 73% report that they are more productive (source: Morning Consult).  

At Just Global, we offer employees “flex-time” and hybrid options based on the filter of what works for the employee, their teammates, and their client. As we start to reopen our global locations based on regional guidelines, we asked a few of our employees to share their perspectives on the pros and cons of returning to the office.

photo of dogs watching people on video conference

Personality Styles

A recent article from the BBC explored “Why introverts excelled at working from home.” Often the constant interactions in physical environments can be draining. How are approaching hybrid workspaces to benefit both extroverts and introverts?

SVP, Global Analytics

Analysts, who tend to have an introverted personality, are likely thriving and will continue to thrive in a hybrid environment.

Unless days are filled with video meetings, team members are likely getting the alone time that they need to prepare accordingly for meetings, recharge, and focus. Office settings, an extrovert’s happy place, can force introverts out of their comfort zones which can be good in doses, but too much can be overkill and can quickly burn introverts out. Having the hybrid option of going into the office and staying home will be helpful in that the socialization vs recharge decision is intentional. I hope it’s a model that’s here to stay.

Employee Engagement

Since going into lockdown, Just Global has hired an incredible amount of new employees. Nearly 50 team members have started their employee experience virtually and haven’t seen each other outside of computer monitors. How has the onboarding process changed since going fully remote? Moving forward, what about this process will you continue to keep and what are you looking forward to going back to?

When we started to ramp up hiring again during lockdown, my first thought was how are we going to provide new employees the best onboarding experience in this new virtual world?

As employers, it is our priority to new hires that we provide the best first impression of our company, culture and processes on their first day. We have all been that new hire, anxious about the first day on the job. I can only imagine the stress and anxiety amplified by starting your first day completely virtual. 

Realizing that a virtual onboarding was mostly going to consist of Zoom meetings, I wanted to ensure new employees had the tools and resources needed to establish a solid foundation for their long term Just Global career. We implemented a “Day One” onboarding checklist. ‘Day One’ is part of our onboarding initiative which acts as a ‘self-guided’ tour to Just Global that includes important resources about the agency.  

The checklist has been optimized over the past year with feedback received from new hires. Even as we navigate back into a hybrid model of work, I can foresee continuing using this checklist and model of onboarding going forward especially as we are working in multiple different time zones. 

Not being able to have more 1:1 time with new hires and building those relationships was the hardest part for me personally being remote. During virtual onboarding, I usually only ‘see’ a new hire on their first day and at their thirty-day check-in. As we are slowly opening back up it’s been wonderful to meet some of our new hires that I onboarded virtually in person! It’s my greatest joy to see an employee growing and establishing themselves at Just Global and it’s wonderful to see our newest hires feeling so comfortable and confident in their roles and bonding with their teammates. 

Physical Environments

Iain Halpin, Just Global’s Head of Content, recently wrote a blog on embracing hybrid workstyles with the following statement: “Before the pandemic, Americans spent 5% of working time at home. By spring 2020 the figure was 60%. Today, the average employee wants to work from home nearly half the time. Successful companies will adapt to this as an opportunity, not resist it as a threat.” What’s your attitude around the value of physical work environments?

Kate Bastable

EMEA Operations Manager

You can't beat the powers of spontaneity and human contact. ​

Spontaneity is something I didn’t realise I missed until I started going back into the office – that ‘do you fancy walking down to the shops for lunch’, ‘let’s all go out for a drink after work’ type of thing. Often this time could be used to offload to a colleague about a problem you’ve encountered, or just to have a laugh and get yourself ready for the second part of your day or relax into your weekend by laughing about those ‘water-cooler’ moments.
 
Mental Health has been a big buzzword over the last few months and the spontaneity of seeing people in the flesh helps with this enormously. You can’t underestimate the power of human interaction. Of course, there is always a flip side to everything! It took me a good while to get used to WFH, trying to set up a desk in various places around the house until settling on a corner which is now my little oasis! If you’re up against a deadline then it’s great to put the ‘do not disturb’ notice up and get your head down – something that is very hard in the office. It’s great that we can now work from home and the office so we can get the best of both worlds.
 
The New Boathouse, that I recently orchestrated the move out of (after calling it home for several years) was a quirky space, not only because it was basically a converted shed (albeit a brick one) but it was in a cool location. We made the interior unique too. It changed many times during the years we were there, from the black stenciled velour wallpaper (yes, that actually happened) to the brightly coloured plastic dog sand funky graphics – we had them all. I strongly believe that the space was so quirky and fun because of the people in it, and of course, they are coming with us, so that’s a start!
 
I was really impressed with the B2B graffiti to stand that our Sydney team produced. I’d love to get something like that upon one of our very white walls and display some of the work our very talented creative team have produced. We’ve tried to focus on the meeting areas, both formal and informal in our new home. They are bigger and lighter, we have a ‘quiet room’ with no tv or whiteboard (haven’t quite got the yoga mats down yet…), but we also have more breakout areas for improved collaboration.
 

Changing Habits

The Conversation recently released a report on the effects of COVID-19 on athletes, with the statement: “For many athletes, the team environment is critical. Research shows that team training not only boosts performance but lessens the pain athletes feel. A sudden shift to solo exercise can be frustrating, painful and lonely, placing significant mental strain on even the most resilient athletes.” As an athlete and marketer, what will you miss and what will you look forward to about going into in-person settings?

Frankie Bunting

MARKETING MANAGER

Humans are naturally scared of change.
Although change is needed in order to grow.

Lockdown put an immediate stop to many things, but the most impactful for me was Sport.
 
Sport had more meaning and defining characteristics in relation to my purpose and personality, than anything else. I have been part of high-level sport, training five times a week, on top of studying and/or work, for the past ten years plus of my life. For this to stop suddenly, didn’t just see an element of fitness be put on hold for me, but also social interaction, purpose, and responsibility. Now, this sounds pretty deep, but it also allowed me to step back and think about other passions and elements of my life, questioning many aspects, such as when I do eventually retire, what else do I enjoy? 
 
I feel as though lockdown allowed many people to step back and find pleasure in the simple things and it allowed me to learn more about myself, and my ability to adapt, than I had in my past 26 years. I found my love of art again – painting canvases in the sun – as well as the simplicity of walking with friends and conversation. I now take a slower approach to my mornings, meeting the same two friends every morning at 7am – instead of throwing myself out of bed and into the gym – at the same coffee shop and do a walk, fitting my gym session in at other times. 
 
It has taught me the importance of worrying about the controllable and letting the other variables sort themselves out. Also, how being a decent human costs nothing and counts for more than anything! 
 
This was something I have taken into work. The art of communication has had to be finessed since face-to-face interaction was taken away. Being hired at Just Global, during a pandemic, was a completely different onboarding experience, I am a very social person and enjoy human interaction, I had to adapt this to on-screen connections and relationship building. This change in habits, and the understanding that everyone else was probably going through the same thing, allowed everyone to slightly slow down and practice the art of empathy and patience. I have also learned that due to the lack of over-the-screen chat or coffee catch-ups, message updates need to be more frequent and people appreciate efforts for project transparency.
Want to read more marketing insights from around the world? Check out our Global Views on post-lockdown trends and a cookieless future.
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