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News & Views

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  • 9 January 2018
  • Amy Parry, Director

10 things employees should consider about their agencies in 2018

10 things employees should consider about their agencies in 2018

Yes, it’s that time of year isn’t it? Look-ahead pieces, wise words, a renewed focus on the task in hand.

But in the past couple of days as we emerge from the festive haze, I’ve been reading a few things about what employees want from the workplace these days. Some obvious, others less so. Some clear-cut, others more subtle.

Meanwhile, the 3 Monkeys | Zeno office has been going through a revamp that will better accommodate some different ways of working, so a lot of these points are front of mind at the moment too.

This piece in particular struck a bunch of chords about why people come to work each day and what they’re really looking to get out of it. It may be specifically about Generation Y, but I think a lot of it applies to all of us working in agencies.

Many of these points have been bubbling up for some time, but for me they’ve never been more pertinent than when looking ahead to 2018, and while our office emerges from some serious cosmetic surgery to a brighter, more fluid place to be. So here are 10 points I think people working in agencies should be considering about their workplaces, and probably their careers, in 2018:

  1. We all need to avoid loss of evenings: yes urgent actions, emergencies and unforeseen circumstances will always run the risk of interfering, but with technology making us ever-more connected to work and the world persistently speeding up, we need to make sure we’re doing what we can to avoid being unduly tied to our desks. Yes the ability to work whenever, wherever can be liberating, but there needs to be a balance with personal time that’s both supported by the agency and seen through by the people who work there
  1. Personal interaction: as each year goes by, more people seem to bemoan lack of office interaction – more email, less phone conversation, less chatter and bants around desks, more headphones. Our office revamp means we now have fewer permanent desks, break-out areas, some standing desks and an environment that’s really in keeping with more flexible, fluid teamwork. We expect personal interaction to increase, to everyone’s benefit
  1. A genuine need to focus on ensuring good mental health: the onset of technology, globalisation of everything and commercial pressures upon us mean it can feel difficult to escape. Sure, we’re not brain surgeons in the agency world but we do busy jobs with shifting requirements, and there’s a need for agencies to understand the mental health implications. We survey staff regularly, put in place wellness measures and do a lot culturally to encourage people to switch off. But it needs constant focus, and all of us working for agencies should support that
  1. Leadership and fulfilment: so much is written about the need for strong leadership, but the Canvas 8 insights are just the latest to show that leadership must be aspirational, not just managerial. People want to work with, not just for, the people who lead them. Vision must be clear. Empathy and self-awareness of leadership are a pretty fundamental requirement. Everyone’s different, but equally the expectations of those in leadership positions have become a little different too
  1. Shed the stigma: per point 2 on personal interaction, more fluid working environments and the ability to work while on the move have to become truly beneficial to the agency and people who work there, so they’re trusted to do their jobs that way. We all need to be empowered and trusted to work to the best of our ability when we’re not at our desks, and we all need to deliver on that empowerment and trust. Any stigma around not being at your desk all the time needs to go
  1. Value alignment: something we’re big on here, particularly through our work on The Human Project, is making sure our values as a business reflect those of the people who work for us. We think ours - straight-talking, passion, tenacity, oomph and nous - are pretty good, but it’s something all people working in agencies should be conscious of
  1. Reskilling: training programmes need to go deeper and be more individualistic than in the past. The breadth and depth now required for integrated communications roles, for example, means people will need more nous in certain niches. Plus we all need to keep learning, all the time. Our Fearless University training programme is set up to do that, but it’s a job that will never be finished
  1. A release valve: it may seem obvious, but with all of these skills pressures, new ways of working and changing workplace expectations, we all need to let off steam. If you work here, have worked here or know people who do, you’ll probably know that we do that more than most
  1. Creativity utterly embraced: of course all agencies are creative, aren’t they? Yes, but in today’s changing media environment and with more opportunity to drive value from communications than ever, creativity needs to be at the core of everything we do, and prized throughout the business, with a constant focus on innovation and having the brainspace to think
  1. Communications and understanding: obvious maybe, but all of the effort that agencies put into the workplace, the office environment and career development needs to be well-communicated and understood

These are by no means all of the points to consider, but the ones that seem highest on the list for me. Bring on 2018, it’s going to be a big year.