This week sees big changes for EAST VILLAGE.: not only is #TeamEV. welcoming a new face, but today also sees us move into our new EV.HQ at x+why, Foundry. However, before you think this means we’re busting out the pen-pots, arranging the post-it notes, and chaining ourselves to our desks, think again. As ever, we’re not doing things by the old rule book.
Our Director of People & Strategy, Hattie D’Souza, is here to tell you more about how EAST VILLAGE. is ‘going to work’ moving forwards…
By now, the term ‘hybrid working’ has firmly – and thankfully – replaced ‘the new normal’ in our everyday conversations. The happy-medium that sees employees work from home some days and in the office for others has emerged as the answer to the ever-raging WFH versus in-person debate, and appears to tick all of the boxes.
However, while it might be easy to say, across the board it is seems the concept is proving tough for companies live by. But why? Trawling forums, think-pieces, and panel discussions, you’ll find business executives banging their heads against (usually empty office) walls to try and work it out…
To me, it seems to be because the hybrid on offer asks people to choose between a rock – AKA a less-than-inspiring desk, in a less-than-exciting office that is inevitably a rainy commute away – and a hard place – AKA a makeshift desk, which doubles as the dining table after 5pm, with an uncomfortable chair, dodgy Wi-Fi, and near-constant interruptions from the dog/partner/children/delivery driver. When neither option feels fit-for-purpose, presenting both as a choice seems futile.
Instead, at EAST VILLAGE., we’ve worked with our team to understand what they expect, want, and need from work, and have shaped solutions around this. The result?
- A dedicated EV. office that the team can call their own, equipped with the necessities to both focus and collaborate, and available to them whenever they need it (literally 24/7)
- An x+why membership for each person, giving them access to co-working spaces with oodles of break-out areas that inspire creativity and keep things fresh, and the ability to work in locations in different cities
- The always-open option to WFH (no need to request it!), complete with an allowance that ensures that the team has the ability to bring home-working up to spec
- And, last but certainly not least, our ‘Work From Anywhere’ policy, pioneered and brought into fruition by our very own Senior Account Executive Holly, which allows and supports any member of #TeamEV. to work from wherever in the world they fancy.
Yes, all of the above, all of the time.
This hasn’t been a process without trial and error and has been a labour of love in the making. We’ve had no fewer than six offices in our nine years, first called time on the PR industry’s inflexible working practices in 2018, and became the unwitting poster child for the ‘Working From Home’ movement in 2020, following our decision to move out of our Colmore Row office in favour of remote working.
While ‘giving up the office for good’ made for a great headline for the latter, our stance has never been about writing off the traditional workplace or campaigning for people to work in just one way. Instead, it has always been focused on how we created a new ‘world of work’, which was no longer centred around just one pin on Google Maps.
Our EV. approach might seem like a lot – and that is partly because it *is* a lot – but it is also how we see the solution of ‘going to work’ actually working for the team we have now and, just as crucially, for the team we want to build in the future. And we hear you, it isn’t the cheapest outfit and like any good business move, commercial decisions do have to be made to accommodate it. However, as an agency that has long preached about the importance of investing in people, our hybrid offering is a prime example of how we do exactly that… just don’t tell the accountant.
Most critically, while it offers multiple-options, our method all stems from one simple foundation belief: if we give #TeamEV. the space, freedom, choice, and support to do their best work from wherever they lay their laptop, we will always get the best work from them in return.