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The future of office working designed with our people in mind: ‘Work Where You Work Best’, an Evoke KYNE model

By Siobhan Reilly

As we look to the future post- pandemic, at Evoke KYNE we are reassessing how offices operate for our colleagues, in both design and function.

The pandemic has shown that we can operate remotely effectively and we can stay connected, but when we return to the office how will a hybrid model (part office, part home) fit with our people and our clients. A truly effective hybrid model, or distributed culture, is something that many organisations have not yet experienced. It will, no doubt, be difficult to make the adjustment and we must be prepared for it.

Designing a model that suits your organisation

Future flexible working is not a one-size-fits-all – more than ever before we have to consider the way that we function, creatively, collaboratively and independently: how are our account teams structured, how often do they have to meet in person, if at all, and most importantly, if we are to retain and attract strong talent, what are the needs of individuals and what type of flexibility are they looking for.

As we began to outline our model for future working, we ran focus groups representing all levels across the company to explore challenges, seek feedback and gain early buy-in. Our focus groups showed that a hybrid model was the preferred option for most people. A recent YouGov survey revealed that only one in five would opt to work from home every day after the pandemic and over a third of respondents would like a mixture of home- and office-based working.

Internal research and insights led to the generation of our model for future flexible working at Evoke KYNE, ‘Work Where You Work Best’. Designed with the individual, for the individual, to maximise productivity and creativity. The model encompasses pure remote working, hybrid working and in-office working, with recommendations for when each style should be adopted.

Adapting the workplace to benefit our people and our clients

For a hybrid model to function effectively, the office space as we once knew it must change. We should understand why people want to go into an office. Some may choose to go into an office to escape distractions at home and seek quiet spaces. Open-plan allocated desk space that once dominated our office floors will make way for collaboration areas and spaces to take video calls and have private meetings, such as for line management and mentorship.

Adaptation of the office must happen alongside the upskilling of our teams. How do we ensure remote employees don’t miss out on the organic ‘water cooler chats’ that office life facilitates? How do we mitigate the reality of ‘distance bias’ that can lead to feelings of isolation, or being overlooked for opportunities in favour of those regularly in the office?

Review guidance for your teams that defines optimal ways of operating in a hybrid model that empower them to strive for connection and consideration. If three people are in the office and one team member is at home, review the video call set-up capabilities and provide guidance to make sure each member on the call has equal representation. ‘Location inclusion’ strives for a mindset that means, regardless of your location, you have equal opportunity. Training roll out is critical to success. A good place to start is with leadership, reconfiguring the mindsets of your leaders to evoke change across the company and maintain it.

Elevating technology to drive synchronous working

At Evoke KYNE we have offices in Dublin, London, New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, with truly integrated teams that work virtually across time zones to deliver for clients. Our creativity and innovation stem from our people, so it’s critical that they continue to feel valued and included in a hybrid environment, that there is an understanding of their neurodiversity when rolling out new tools that are intended to foster connection. Silent brainstorming using tools like Jamboards or Google Docs ensures all virtual voices are heard, not just those in the physical room. Allowing people access to relevant materials prior to the meeting allows all opinions to be captured, not just those from the loudest or the fastest thinkers.

We know that transition to our ‘Work Where you Work Best’ model will require significant change and a culture shift. Empowering individuals within our teams to choose the best style for them and to adjust their approach to ensure inclusivity of all individuals, will ultimately ensure the model functions for all and, most importantly, for our clients.

As we embark on these changes it is critical that we adopt a ‘learning mindset’ to constantly reassess our success and failures. Feedback on client relationships, levels of innovation, employee development and growth should all be measured to determine the impact of your model, and constant readjustment will be needed to refine it further.

Evoke KYNE is an award-winning communications agency that harnesses insight, experience and creativity to advance health and well-being around the world.

Siobhan Reilly is Senior Director at Evoke KYNE

In association with

27th July 2021

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