It’s all in the flex
And yes, we do want a wellness studio please
There was a time when agency folk were pretty enamoured by work places. There was endless investment in foosball tables, themed rooms, swanky coffee machines, ceilings painted to look like blue skies, giant Post-it pads for brainstorms - and more. And let’s face it, we loved it!
And it was a big part of our culture. At Launch we were no different. We were in our Archer Street offices for 15 years and were VERY fond of our home. In fact, for our 18th birthday we built a pub in our reception and used to spend many an evening just hanging out.
Then the world changed and today I’m on the hunt for a new office. But this is no longer about finding a cool space that we can make our own, put our Launch cultural stamp on it and know that we’re going to be there 5 days a week.
No, like many other businesses, we’re investigating the world of the co-working space because we all want far more flexibility when it comes to traditional leases.
But having spent a bit of time ‘experimenting’ in co-working spaces over the last few months, this also throws up some challenges:
- How many desks do we really need?
- What is most important to us – showers, quality coffee or storage space?
- How do we ensure we get enough meeting rooms?
- Where do you make confidential phone calls?
- How do you maintain your culture if you’re working with a load of strangers and other businesses?
- How important is a wellness studio, really?
And there’s SO much chatter and news about how we’ll all work post pandemic. Whether that’s Google’s ‘office first’ hybrid policy and its privacy balloons and campsite meeting spaces - which I love. Or Spotify and Twitter going ‘remote first’ versus the likes of Netflix and Goldman Sachs where the CEOs have already stated they want people back in the office as that’s where they feel the work gets done.
WFH? WFA? WTF?!
But here’s what I do know, and what we’re focussed on at Launch;
1) We’re a creative agency and we need time and space together – in the same room
2) Our culture is not rooted to a space, it’s about our people, shared values and a deep rooted understanding of the agency mission. We’ll continue to work extremely hard to nurture and foster this wherever we are and however we meet
3) We’re culturally curious so we need the ability to fuel this, feel like we are in the centre of things and be able to easily get out and explore – so no, we’re not going to end up in Vauxhall
4) Our relationship with our clients is critical and we want and need to meet face to face at times
5) We’re fitness freaks so yes, a wellness studio is REALLY important
And what does this mean for a new workplace strategy?
Office first or remote first? 3/2 model, 4/1 model, or ‘5 days in’ model? Shift patterns and shared desks? To be honest, for us this just isn’t going to work. What we’ll be looking to achieve is – total flexibility.
We need a truly versatile working pattern that accommodates working together, working remotely, meeting clients, pitching media, attending events and being creatively inspired – and we need the right space to let us do this.
That may mean one week we’re in 5 days, the next we’re all remote, individual teams will get together for critical planning moments and sometimes a team may want to work in Soho on a Friday simply so they can hit the pubs that night. That’s fine with me.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect this total flexibility to be easy to achieve and it will probably take tonnes of forward planning, openness, honesty and trust - but we’re totally up for it and it just makes the office hunt even more exciting.
Bring on viewing number 11!