25 February 2022

Striking the right balance for hybrid working

Hybrid working, the new normal, getting people back to the office – it’s hard to know what to focus on sometimes – encourage people to work away from the office and we face risks to a culture we’ve worked so hard to cultivate over the years, as well as potential harm to training our juniors and even mental health problems as people become more isolated.  Go too strong on getting people back to the office and we risk losing a competitive edge in the recruitment marketplace or sending staff who remain anxious about Covid into panic mode.  It’s a juggling act to say the least. Can you ever please everyone?  Well, maybe… just.

This week we resurrected our ‘last Wednesday’ get together in the office – a big part of BB life and a chance for those who wish to be there to relax and have some fun.  This month, we were treated to musical bingo, and I have to say that the whole evening was wonderful.  I felt energised just being around our incredible people again and especially seeing our vibrant new starters in the flesh chatting away to our long serving BBers.  There was nothing forced, people came and went as they wished, it was a real tonic in these challenging times.

I left feeling hopeful and more relaxed – and not just because of the wine – but because it was suddenly clear to me that we are already finding our new path.  And guess what?  It looks a lot like our pre-pandemic path.  This does not mean we’re not dynamic and innovative, or that we’re failing to grasp new ways of working – it is because we have always been super flexible.  It is at the very heart of our culture.  Our people have always been able to work from home (or from anywhere else for that matter).  Our rule is that, if your clients are delighted and your team are happy, then you do not have to be in the office.  It’s been a competitive advantage of ours for a very long time.  Of course, thanks to Covid, the rest of the profession has now caught up but I believe that this can only be a good thing.

My point is this – if you are clear on your culture, then it is likely that you are also very clear on your recruitment strategy and the type of people who will best fit your organisation.  Get that right and the post-Covid world becomes less uncertain – an evolution rather than revolution.  For us, that means a group of people who really enjoy each other’s company but who also want to be treated like grown-ups and given the autonomy to plan their working week to suit what works best for their clients, their team and themselves.  So, I am going to stop wondering about our ‘new normal’ and trust that our culture is strong enough to continue to bring our people together on a regular basis because they simply enjoy spending time with one another.

Considering events around the globe this week, it may seem flippant to talk in these terms – but the stark reality is that, more so than ever before, we should be focusing on getting our work/life balance where it needs to be, so we can spend more quality time with our nearest and dearest without neglecting our professional responsibilities.  And as we all spend a lot of time with our colleagues at work, it’s equally as important that these relationships are harmonious, that our culture is unwavering, and that we create an environment where everyone thrives.

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