“Are You Still In The Basement?”
Hybrid Work Is Smart Business For EPIC
My dad is a relatively progressive businessperson. A few years ago—several years prior to the pandemic—he asked me why EPIC Creative was buying a building instead of converting to a fully remote work model. At the time, he was running his Milwaukee business from a condo on the beach in Miami. (And now from a resort in Puerto Rico, but I digress.)
I laughed and replied, “We’re a creative agency … We can’t work remotely! We need to collaborate! Scribble on whiteboards! Lunch meetings! Camaraderie! CREATIVE EXCELLENCE!”
Then March 2020 happened.
It was a proverbial BAND-AID® rip. Over one weekend, we went from “This can’t work,” to “This HAS TO work!”
And you know what? It did.
Our IT team had us well-equipped and prepared. Every team at EPIC adapted. We found opportunities to replace work that was lost due to the pandemic. All was well.
Well, mostly well. A lot of us were feeling trapped in our own kitchens, living rooms, and basements. Our spouses and kids were getting impatient with us—and we with them. Early stage work-from-home life was at least as bad as living with my surprise new roommate in the college dorms. (Sorry, Steve.)
However, it eventually got better. We got comfortable in our workspaces. The kids went back to school. Some of our spouses went back to their offices. We all generally got used to it.
Our employees also got used to the flexibility of their schedules. They didn’t have to warm up the car on a chilly Wisconsin morning and make the commute into work. If their kids were home sick from school, the dog needed to go to the vet, or the appliance repair person gave them a window of “sometime between 8 and 1,” they didn’t have to take half a day of PTO. They just fit it into their schedule.
We noticed that our employees were happier. We were also able to hire some really talented people who live outside of our normal hiring radius.
We noticed that our employees were happier. They were actually communicating well, and there was less office drama. We were also able to hire some really talented people who live outside of our normal hiring radius.
Once the vaccines rolled out and people started getting back together, we waited a bit to determine what our next steps would be. We had many conversations—including a large (in-person) conversation with our supervisors and managers.
In the end, we realized that our new, flexible work environment—which had been created out of necessity—became a welcomed employee benefit. And now it’s here to stay.
What Does It Mean For You?
As a client, it means that you’re getting top talent working on your account. It means that the people working on your brand’s projects are happier and have a better work/life balance. And it means that when they’re doing the work, there’s less of a chance they’re being distracted by chatty co-workers. (Or partners!)
It turns out that creative excellence doesn’t require a building, but we will be there if you are in our area and want to meet.
If you’re in the area and want to meet—our teams will be here. If there’s a big creative meeting—our teams will be here. If there’s a giant meeting with whiteboards, moving parts, and lunch—our teams will be here.
But, when we get on a video call, there’s a good chance that you’ll see that I’m in my basement, although—now that hybrid is here to stay—I’ve made it look more like an office and less like a cinder block prison. It turns out that creative excellence doesn’t require a building. It requires talented people who are willing to adapt to thrive, not just survive.