As part of our hybrid working campaign, we’re speaking to industry leaders from a variety of sectors to find out how their working styles have adapted during the pandemic. In this article we speak to Matt Lee, Head of Strategy at Yoyo, a creative agency based in Tunbridge Wells.
It took a global pandemic to prove that you don’t have to be in an office to do work. But is
the office a thing of the past? There are three factors handing it a lifeline: culture,
collaboration and creativity. Yoyo needs these things. Every organisation needs creativity to fuel the innovation that keeps them relevant, but as a creative agency it’s a fundamental part of our core service offering. If we were to become less creative, it would hit us hard, and fast. So when we found ourselves forced to work remotely, we had to figure out how to be creative in confinement. It’s these learnings that are shaping our plans for a new, hybrid approach.
The challenges of going remote
Prior to the first lockdown, you’d find our team of 25 working side by side in our Tunbridge Wells studio. There would be a buzz of energy to the place as teams would huddle for project stand-ups, designers would spin their screens around to get second opinions, and questions and updates would fly across the open-plan space. We very quickly realised that we couldn’t recreate our studio in the virtual world.
Trying to replicate that type of collaboration led to a relentless flow of instant messages and a serious case of Zoom fatigue. What once was a 2-minute conversation while making a cuppa would either become a booking in the calendar, or it wouldn’t happen at all. In fact, our days became a series of vulnerable 30 minute slots that we’d attempt to defend from yet more impending meeting requests. We had to have a new approach for the virtual world.
Where does creativity happen?
It was clear that the office was not the only place where creative work was done. Sometimes creative moments would happen on the commute, or during a lunchtime workout. Getting out of the office to visit clients provided inspiration, and occasionally we’d need to escape to a coffee shop if we really needed to to focus without distractions. It’s certainly not confined to a desk or a meeting room.
The six modes of creative work
The creative process is a series of behaviours. It’s about questioning, exploring and experimenting. It is a determination to find valuable new ways of doing things. It is resilience to being ‘wrong’. Creative work requires a flux between solitude and socialising, and between active thinking and moments of relaxation and reflection.
We identified six different modes of work that we need to nurture in a hybrid environment.