Our approach to remote and flexible working

The past 18 months has given us a glimmer of hope for the future of work — shifting to prioritise a work-life balance and flexible working. Our stance is that we are a remote-first business. 

We’re continuing to push this forward too. 

Supporting our team

Long before the pandemic, we worked hard to support our team to find a positive work/life balance, and have always advocated flexible working. So when March 2020 saw our offices deserted, and our bedrooms, kitchens and living rooms turned into home offices, we were able to adjust quickly and transition easily into a fully remote business. 

The fact that we had always used Slack, Dropbox, Google Docs, Miro, Zoom, Notion and Trello made the transition even easier. We were able to harness the power of these collaborative tools to continue supporting our clients and help them to understand their customers better. 

Now that we are slowly returning to pre-pandemic normality, we have opened our office doors once again. But our offices remain sparsely populated, and we are still adjusting to a new way of working. So we‘ve spent time talking to our staff and our clients about how they want to work in the future, and what is important to them. 

Our stance is that we are a remote-first business. 

Although it’s been a huge challenge for some of our team to work at home whilst also schooling children/caring for pets/ juggling babies/ self-isolating, the last 18 months have also proved that working remotely can bring huge benefits for many. 

One of our team goes for a run before work, another is able to spend time volunteering that used to be spent commuting, and a third is able to spend more time in the evening with her children. 

Our lovely offices (one in central Bristol and one in central London) are still open to provide collaborative spaces, good coffee, fast WiFi, and supportive chat with colleagues.

So what do our remote and flexible working policies look like?

We don’t have set-in-stone policies or a one-size-fits-all approach, like mandating everyone to be in the office on a Monday, or expecting everyone to start and finish work at exactly the same time.

What we do have is empathy and an openness to listening to the requests of our team and clients, and to see what working pattern (and location) works for them.

To us, flexible and remote working allows people to work when and how it’s convenient for them. 

We recognise that as we come out of the pandemic, and settle into a new way of working, our policies and habits will need to change. So we’re continuing to talk to our clients and staff, and will continue to adapt as we go.

How it works for us

1. Set up

We provide our team with the hardware and software they need. Every employee is given a laptop, iPhone, monitor, mouse and keyboard when they join. They can expense a desk and chair to get themselves set up at home too. This supports effective remote working.

2. Communication

We use Slack to communicate with each other, Google Meet and Zoom for discussions and quick chats and Miro for exploratory collaboration. It is really important to make sure that everyone is up to speed on project information, and that handovers are clear so no blockers are created when people are unavailable. We are also exploring asynchronous collaboration so that we can ensure a high level of communication whilst also supporting people’s working patterns and flexibility. 

3. Trust

We strive to treat our staff with integrity and honesty. We believe — strongly —that trust is the basis of great relationships at work. We trust people to meet their deadlines on projects and with clients.

While the hardware and software are important to make sure we have the tools to work, it really is trust that is key - it is trust that makes it all work! We trust people to do the work they need to. We trust people to get things done when they’ve said they will. Whether that is in the office, or at home; before the school run or around walking the dog. We are committed to delivering the best quality work for our clients, and the best quality work is a product of a happy, healthy and empowered team. 

Our team is expanding and we’re looking for new talent, so if you like the sound of our approach take a look at the careers page, or get in touch.

As HR, Culture & Ops Director, Tamlyn leads on our people and operations strategies. Outside of work, she's a long-term member of Bristol Cabot Choir.