May 15, 2020Published by: Drew Benvie

The future and embracing total flexible working

As the world’s leaders hatch their plans for the future of work, we've also been busy planning what our new normal will be. It includes safeguarding our people, delivering innovation and excellence to our clients, and continuing to grow globally in these turbulent times. 

Forever started in 2013
Our working model for seven years has been built around total flexibility in our workforce; not because we predicted a pandemic, but because it's the best way to bring together a high-performing team, work at the speed of social media, and grow globally. Flexible hours of work, remote working, and unlimited time off have been standard for all staff at Battenhall since we started, and we will continue to work this way forever. We're a group of creative and technical people, so to make this work takes learnings, structure, and technical innovation, but above all else, total flexibility. 

We have an office, and it will reopen, but we choose where we want to work. We have found many of our team like being in the office and thrive when they are with colleagues, but flexible hours and location have enabled us to test and learn. In the future this flexibility will enable us all to work in a way that is safe and best for our own individual needs. 

Our office will be redesigned, and we will be able to take advantage again of the personal interaction and facilities that it affords. This is really important. Our office is large, airy, it has big windows, no air-con, and a wide stairwell, rather than an elevator to get us and our visitors up the first floor to where we are located. We will be spacing out desks, and everyone will continue to have fixed desks. We will be re-organising where meetings happen, and we’ll be phasing the reopening to stagger the flexible demand for our space. We're working hard on this set-up of total flex working. 

How does total flexible working work?
Working from home is just one part. The flexible hours makes it work. When you're at home, taking time away from your screen and dipping in and out, ensures you don’t get screen fatigue. Video calls and lengthy periods of time in front of your laptop can drain you, so mixing up your hours and communicating the shifts with colleagues is key. Flexi hours at Battenhall means a number of things. We shift our days, we have 20% time baked into our weeks so that there's always some slack for taking on new projects, working on side projects, or to put into R&D. Lastly, we embrace unlimited time off. This has to be taken responsibly of course, and it is. But flexibility is what's key. 

Technology then needs to do its job, so that's the next part. Every team member should be given a high technology allowance to kit themselves out, and at Battenhall that happens on day one. We give all staff a lump sum up front that will get them at the very least a powerful laptop or a desktop a designer can work from. We then give regular allowances for home tech, seating, desks, even clothing or plants. And then there's an allowance annually for wellbeing breaks. Backing all this up is the cloud storage and data processing you need to run a virtual workforce.
Lastly, teamwork, recruitment, training and mentoring all need careful planning. Work from now on is not just a remote working job, or an office job, it’s a blend of the two. While we have perfected the art of doing everything we need to do in running creative and technical teams virtually, we appreciate the value of in-person collaboration, which is why a suitably-designed office space will forever be part of our service. 

What next? 
The Battenhall team is not just surviving – it's thriving in the new world of work. It's not all "glass half-full" of course, but with demand for digital services from a remote-capable workforce, what we are really focusing on is team welfare, and that takes real care and attention. The safety of our team is paramount, and with specialists on staff in mental health and wellbeing, we're placing a huge focus on ensuring everyone can adapt to the working world of today and tomorrow, and that we as an employer listen and act. We hope that in sharing some of how we approach things here, others can benefit in some way and join us on this journey too. Here’s to the future.

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