Business-to-business marketing firm Fox Agency has a main office in Leeds and a satellite one in London, but switched to remote working once the first lockdown was imposed.
Despite initial concerns, the business has now adapted to remote working and is planning to adapt a hybrid model going forward. Al Fox, director, says: “It’s more flexible for our staff. But it’s also better for future recruitment, because if we were a full-time office business we may well struggle to get staff.” Exactly how the new arrangements will work is not yet clear, he adds, but the expectation is that no one will be permanently in the office.
But for a company where the culture was very much built around office camaraderie, with visiting masseurs, mindfulness coaches and personal finance experts, Fox admits he was concerned about how to replicate this for a hybrid world. “With the practitioners it was quite easy,” he says. “We’ve had online mediation and yoga, and even a gong bath.” Other initiatives have included an online photography tutorial and personal training sessions, while on a Friday the team finish early and can join an online social.
Fox has also redesigned the office itself in line with its new role. “There’s one very large room in the building, which I have completely stripped out,” he says. “Before it was all desks and chairs but we’ve got benches, bar stools and subdued lighting at one end, and the other end is a full-on lounge with sofas, footstools and a giant 75-inch TV. When people do come to work, it’s often for collaboration, and they’d rather be in a space like that.”
The business has grown from 24 people before the pandemic hit to 41, on the back of a largely technology customer base, and has already been able to attract people from London because of the new set-up. He does concede, however, that targeting a wider recruitment base may require the introduction of other benefits in the future.