Can a Hybrid Office Model Benefit Your Agency and Team?
Are you an in-person agency with office space? Are you a fully remote agency? Both models have benefits and drawbacks for the agency and your team. However, one agency is thriving on a hybrid office model that provides flexibility and freedom while maintaining culture and inspiration. Overall, most talent wants the flexibility of working from home but also appreciates the importance of in-person work. Today’s guest ran a traditional in-person agency for 20 years. After going remote during the pandemic, shares how he made the decision to remain flexible with office attendance while maintaining collaboration and connections.
Dean Trevelino founder and co-CEO of Trevelino/Keller, a boutique PR, and marketing agency based in Atlanta. As one of their core values, they believe focusing on staff should be part of the agency’s DNA. Part of prioritizing their employees’ needs has been deciding on a structure that works for everyone. Full-time in the office, fully virtual, or the option to do both.
In this episode, we’ll discuss:
- Will your team lose passion if they’re fully remote?
- Benefits of a physical office.
- How a hybrid office model increases employee retention.
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Sponsors and Resources
Dot & Co: Today’s episode of the Smart Agency Masterclass is sponsored by Dot & Co, client management specialists helping digital marketing agencies keep their clients happy. With the help of Dot’s knowledgeable account managers, agency owners can step away from the day-to-day and focus on driving results. Check out dotandcompany.co/smartagency and get 20% off your first month working with them.
How an Established Culture Made an Easy Shift to Virtual
Dean and his team had built their agency’s culture over 20 years of in-person operations before the pandemic hit and forced them to go fully virtual. The debate about the best environment for running a successful agency was ongoing. Some advocated for personal contact and focus on work, while others emphasized the benefits of remote work and flexible schedules. Dean believed in the importance of connectivity and community that an office environment provided, as it had helped retain staff better than any other agency in the industry, losing only two people in two decades.
Moving to a virtual setting was not an easy decision, but they had to make the change all at once due to the pandemic. Initially, they adopted a hybrid model where staff was expected to be at the office at least 60% of the time each month. However, the conversation later shifted towards more remote work, and rather than changing policies incrementally, Dean decided to go fully virtual.
Will Your Team Lose Passion If They’re Fully Remote?
Dean’s biggest fear was that losing in-person contact would result in everyone losing their passion for the business. To prevent this, they leaned more into education and encouraged staff to stay ahead of industry trends. They also introduced programs designed to leverage the benefits of remote work and promote team building, such as sending a random employee on a trip anywhere in the world every quarter.
Ultimately, Dean’s team successfully adapted to the new virtual setting, and the agency continued to thrive. The focus on education and team building helped maintain everyone’s passion for the business, and the shift to fully virtual work proved to be the right decision.
Benefits of Having Physical Agency Office
Having a physical office to go back to can offer several benefits for employees. These benefits are challenging in a fully virtual model. While remote work provides flexibility, it can be counterproductive when urgent meetings are necessary. It is even more difficult across different time zones. Not everyone has an ideal workspace at home, which can lead to difficulties in taking client calls or having meetings. This can result in people feeling like they are always working, which can cause burnout.
Dean established a compromise that employees may be required to be present at the office for a week if there are important meetings or clients visiting. This ensures that the agency continues to function as a high-performance team. This is decided by the senior staff, and every employee is expected to uphold this compromise.
However, Dean also found it essential to be clear the team should not behave like they’re remote when they are in the office. It defeats the purpose of having a physical office if employees forget how to act when they are there. Dean addressed this by reminding employees of previously established rituals. Things like joining the staff meeting in the conference room when they are at the office.
Overall, while remote work offers flexibility, it is important to strike a balance. That balance maintains a high-performance team and ensures employees have access to an ideal workspace.
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