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Office "Right-Sizing": The New Realities of Remote and Hybrid Work

By Dale Mumma, Chief Creative Officer

I thrive in the buzz of a busy office. Throughout my career, I led teams of a dozen or more creative directors, graphic designers, illustrators, retouchers and account managers—often in an open floor plan. While some creative folks enjoy that type of energy, others prefer a quieter, more solitary environment to think and ideate. After a prolonged pandemic, one of the silver linings is the tremendous advancements in digital communications and collaboration tools. While working from home, the Carbon team stayed connected, creative and productive. We’re embracing this new reality because remote and hybrid work are here to stay. However, our way of working requires us to rethink offices and “right-sizing” our work environments.

Work From Anywhere

An AT&T study found the hybrid work model is expected to grow from 21% in 2021 to 81% in 2024.1 According to FlexJobs’ Career Pulse Survey, 87% of respondents said remote work options improved their overall work-life balance. The majority of respondents (65%) want to work remotely full-time, while 32% want a hybrid work environment.2 With 97% of employees wanting some form of remote work, it’s time to reimagine how we work together, how we gather and function as teams.

Reimagining Working Relationships

For the Carbon Agency, we prioritize the health and safety of our team members, clients and partners. We worked from home for most of 2020 and 2021, during the height of the healthcare crisis. In 2022, we updated our office policy to allow all team members to work full-time remotely. I credit our success to the professionalism, high integrity and dedication of the Carbon team. We continued to provide exceptional client service, outstanding creativity and remarkable business development without missing a beat. In fact, in the middle of the pandemic, we onboarded several new clients and significantly increased engagement with current clients. Digital marketing campaigns, website development, PR, hybrid events, SEO and videos have been in high demand and we’re thrilled to support our clients with these programs! Here are five tips for office “right-sizing” and adapting to remote and hybrid work:

  1. Right-Sizing Office Spaces Since we’ve maintained our high level of team collaboration and productivity with our hybrid and remote work schedules, we recently right-sized our office space. Carbon has relocated within the same building to a smaller footprint that offers flex spaces for accommodating group meetings and individual workspaces. It’s the perfect match to the new hybrid work model. We have an extremely flexible office mindset to accommodate those of us who are part of Generation X and the Gen Y Millennials and Digital Native Gen Z members on our team.

  2. Virtual Team Building In addition to Microsoft Teams, BOX and other communications and productivity tools, we emphasize virtual team building and collaboration. At the beginning of the lockdowns, we invited a llama to join our Teams meeting and add much-needed smiles during those dark days. Holidays and special occasions are celebrated with individual creativity and fun touches. We make certain our team calls open dialog about current events that impact our daily lives, allowing us to share points-of-view and engage in needed conversations.

  3. Flexible Schedules We’ve always had flexible working hours, trusting our seasoned professionals to get the job done to meet client expectations. Now, flexible hours are even more advantageous and align with creative workflows. For example, after some deep work researching or writing, one of our content creators enjoys clearing her mind by doing a load of laundry or washing a few dishes before sitting back down at her laptop. She says the menial tasks reset her brain for creative thinking and tackling the next project. The ability to plan work around life ensures we deliver projects within deadlines and continue delighting our clients.

  4. Multi-Functional Workspaces For specific strategy planning sessions and client meetings, team members will come to the office, where we have multi-functional workspaces. We’ve also introduced hot-desking, where employees sit at available workstations when they’re in the office. This flexibility allows the office to be a destination rather than an obligation.

  5. Continuous Learning With technology innovations and new marketing and advertising platforms emerging quickly, upskilling and reskilling are a must to stay relevant and competitive. We encourage our team members to get training, attend industry conferences and join webinars to stay at the forefront of industry advancements and trends.

Following these five tips, you can adjust to the office's correct sizing and help your teams thrive as they work from anywhere.

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