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20/05/21 Mike Ellis

Return to work: why we are opening a new office, post-pandemic

You may have heard lately that we have moved into a brand new office, a sparkly new toy we’re lucky enough to call home. Located in the heart of Old Town, we've merged 33/34 Bishop Lane into one space that spans across three floors to house our talented teams. 

With the world slowly opening back up post-COVID, many people are ditching the return to the office in favour of a work from home policy. In fact, a recent study shows that 73% of marketers believe they are more efficient when working remotely. 

So just why did we decide to reinvest in a new office space?

 

It's good for our staff

There’s no denying the reports that state working from home throughout lockdown has impacted our mental health. This year has demonstrated to us just how much we enjoy being around our colleagues, hosting clients, and even putting on jeans instead of joggers.

With plenty of news reports showing that businesses are ditching the office for good, we felt like we were going against the grain. We dug deep into the data to see if we were making the right decision for our staff and ultimately found that the workplace is positive for our workers in more ways than one.

Our culture is valued

Throughout lockdown, we actually missed each other – and it turns out we’re not the only ones! Two-thirds of Brits told YouGov that they missed seeing work friends and colleagues. We place a strong emphasis on hiring talented individuals that fit in with our existing team so that we can create a fun, vibrant working environment that makes people want to get in on a Monday morning.

A further 44% of people admitted that they also missed face to face meetings. It was really important to us to be able to give our staff a place to get together in person, bounce ideas off of each other, and grow. Some of our best concepts have come from talks around the kettle, people interjecting into overheard conversations, and having great minds in one room so we decided an office was the best space to breed success and encourage collaboration across channels.

We want a distinction between the office and home

With 68% of marketers in the UK admitting that they work more hours at home, this research has proven to us that solely working from home is not the answer to having healthy, productive teams. Overreaching on hours from the confines of your home simply isn’t great for your mental health: it makes it hard to switch off and can lead to mental health issues such as burnout. 

We felt that providing an office space would help our staff create personal boundaries between their home and professional lives, as they see fit. Having an office brings routine to the workday and allows our staff to leave any problems at the office door so that they can enjoy their personal time with loved ones.

Flexible working is the future

Research shows that one in three British workers say they want to continue never working from home. Another 37% of people would like to work from home some of the time, with a further 20% of adults wanting to work from home all the time. Everyone has different opinions and lifestyles, and we want to offer flexibility to all of our staff.

Here at 43 Clicks North, we have always had a flexible working policy and believe that this approach is the way forward for many businesses in the future. From staying home for a parcel to having a cheeky lay-in, we want our teams to feel like they have a positive work-life balance with the ability to work from home or at the office. 

Post-COVID, we are allowing all staff to return to the office at their own pace to make sure they feel comfortable after a year in lockdown. We want our staff to slowly evolve from their current routines that have been in place over the last year and plan to utilise our flexible working policy to aid in this transition.

Hull is our home

The home of the Deep, cream telephone boxes, and chip spice, there are plenty of great things to come out of Hull – and we’re just one of them! With over 10,000 businesses in Hull, it is a wonderful place to start a company and watch it thrive.

An office isn’t only a bonus for our staff. It brings important revenue to this unique city and helps the area to thrive after such hard times. The people and businesses in East Riding deserve to bounce back and we realised that opening an office in the town centre was just one way we could contribute back to our community.

Retaining talent in the region

We want to be able to harbour talent within Hull. It was found that 58% of students leave their city of study after graduation, with one-third (33%) returning home when university finishes. These numbers simply do not sit in line with our plans to put Hull on the map for premium marketing services.

We want to stop people from migrating into Leeds, Manchester, or even London where digital agencies are historically located. To do that, we needed to create an environment that was worth sticking around for and there was no better way to do that than to listen to what employees actually want. 

Whilst our office is a great attraction, there needed to be more substantial benefits to impress the next generation of workers. According to the PWC, young workers ultimately want career progression and more support in the workplace. With this in mind, we offer our colleagues amazing development opportunities, from regular training to mentorship from experienced senior staff members, with the chance to grow within every role. This effort to help millennials succeed in this industry is supplemented with a competitive wage, perks to envy any big city agency, and a real determination to maintain a positive work-life balance. 

Bring back the high street

By opening an office in the very heart of Old Town, we hope to create an environment where people enjoy coming into work and sticking around. With a variety of pubs and shops available right on our doorstep, we’ve provided our staff with a menagerie of local activities to keep them entertained and fulfilled.  

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and associated lockdown measures, research shows that retail footfall saw an unprecedented fall. In January 2021, footfall decreased by 76.9% compared to the same month in the year prior. Businesses throughout the nation rely on the footfall from offices such as ours to survive. Personally, I grew up working in bars just round the corner from our new office from the age of 16 to 24 and would hate to see local businesses like these disappear. 

Becoming the city of culture and the regentrification of the marina has provided Hull with amazing opportunities and it is our duty as business owners to make the most of them. Creating a modern office environment combined with a flexible working policy gives our staff the time to explore the local area, leading to the continued success of our neighbouring businesses and ensuring the longevity of the British high street.

 

Final thoughts

So, the answer to why we opened an office when everyone else is hunkering down at home is two-fold: we love our staff and we love our city. Creating a headquarters not only gives our clients somewhere to visit, but it also actively gives back to both our colleagues and community. 

The pandemic has given us all an opportunity to reshape how we see the workplace and gives employers like us the chance to truly make a difference. We hope that other agencies follow our lead and embrace the cities that made them.

Mike Ellis

Just someone who likes to solve problems and help people and businesses realise their potential. I also happen to know a lot about marketing ;)