ZeroLight introduced hybrid working in September 2021, following a long period of home working during the COVID19 pandemic.
We had established a great remote working set-up thanks to the work of our IT Team during the lockdown and when the time came when we could return to the office, we decided that we wanted a working model that gave us the best of both worlds.
When restrictions began to ease, we wanted to ensure that all employees had a say on how ZeroLight would operate going forwards. We conducted an employee survey in the summer of 2021 to get the views of the workforce and found that employees were keen to have the option to work both from home and in the studio, having seen many benefits from remote working during the pandemic such as more family time, increased fitness levels from going for walks / runs in the usual morning commute and eating healthier with more time at lunch to prepare a healthy meal.
We had lots of employees keen to return to the studio, especially those that lived alone and missed the in person camaraderie with their colleagues, so it was important for us to find a balance that worked for everyone.
Following this feedback, we opted for a hybrid working approach. This means that employees have the option to work from both the studio and their home office, depending on the kind of work they are doing. If someone needs focussed, quiet time to get a task done, they can do that from a quiet home space. Or if there’s a need to get together with other members of the team to brainstorm and collaborate, they can come into the studio and get the benefit of our creative spaces, free snacks, drinks and fruit.
We do ask employees to attend the studio for specific meetings and company events, but otherwise, we leave employees to plan their own time between home and work.
With hybrid working, alongside the flexible working hours we introduced several years ago, we realise that our employees know how and when they work best and we believe in empowering them to make those decisions themselves.
How has this worked over the past 2 years?
Our staff have responded brilliantly well to hybrid working and many of our teams work together to establish when they’ll be attending the studio, coordinating their diaries to ensure they can attend meetings in-person when necessary.
We don’t stipulate the number of days that employees need to attend the studio, however we’ve found that this naturally falls between 2-3 days (usually Tuesday to Thursday). This allows staff to experience the perks of working from home, like increased time with their family, whilst also having the opportunity to work from the studio and get all the usual benefits that brings.
Hybrid working and collaboration
Being a creative and innovative company, collaboration is extremely important to us. We recognise that whilst focussed quiet time is super beneficial, in-person conversations and brainstorming is equally important for the continual development of the company.
Facilitating this kind of collaboration is difficult with everyone working either remotely or in the studio, and having employees dotted around the UK.
In December 2022 we decided to introduce our quarterly Collaboration Weeks, where national staff travel up to the studio and regional staff attend in person for 3-4 days in the week. This allows us to have regular touchpoints throughout the year to enable the collaboration culture that allows us to thrive as a company and we use this as an opportunity for team building, for company updates and for socialising together and celebrating our successes.