The creative sector is shaping the future of hybrid working.
The creative industries are pioneers of ways of working that go on and influence other industry sectors. The informal office spaces that we find today in many companies – think sofas, break out spaces and multi sensory areas for creative stimulation and inspiration – were pioneered first by the creative industries.
It’s a safe bet then that the creative sector will also be a source of innovation and inspiration in pioneering new ways of working and wellbeing as we move towards a world of flexible, hybrid working. At Cognomie we’re huge believers that hybrid working represents an opportunity to create new and better ways to enhance organisational performance. So we’ve gone off to explore some of the things that are happening in the creative sector to see what we can learn from their creative approaches to developing new working models.
Here’s a few insights:
Office spaces are evolving
Those sofas, break out spaces and creative environments aren’t disappearing. In fact they’re likely to become even more creatively inspiring as they become places people come to less frequently but for more focused occasions. The future of hybrid working involves the evolution of office space into experience spaces. “Offices shift from being containers of the company to being tools for our work. Ours will become places for project milestones, special events and immersive learning.” Tom Morton Global Chief Strategy Officer, R/GA
Organisations are replacing informal learning from peers with formal mentoring
One of the challenges we recognise at Cognomie around hybrid working is how it can impact on employee development as opportunities to observe and learn from other employees become less visible. Reflecting on the challenges faced by young workers who can be afraid to ask ‘silly’ questions in remote working environments, Laura Weldon, Creative Director at Studio LWD believes that “to enable young people to develop both professionally and personally, it’s helpful to assign a buddy or a mentor so they can raise any concerns or ask any questions.”
Technology is supporting new ways of working
There is lots of buzz in the sector about experimenting with new technologies to help manage remote and hybrid processes. Many discussions in the industry are sponsored and supported by key technology players such as Figma or CreativeCloud,as they support distributed workflows and processes. “Unquestionably, the biggest challenge about remote working is workflow. I had to create my own workflow to automate every step of the process, from pairing the right artists with the right jobs to seamlessly receiving their final deliverables. On any given day, we have dozens of artists creating digital assets, and we work on auto pilot. Without a system to automate workflow, remote creative work at scale will be a challenge. Robb Wagner, Founder, Stimulated Inc.
But the human side of processes is just as important
Alice Watkinson, Senior Designer at Innocent Drinks sees the secret of evolving new ways of working as experimentation and agile exploration of new things. Her design team faced big challenges in replicating the organic and fluid ways they used to review and critique work in a face to face setting with designers finding it harder to be as open and honest in a virtual setting. They pioneered ‘dark crits’ where “Only negative feedback was allowed, to try and get people comfortable with giving negative, or constructive, feedback. And we made it a social thing. We had beers. We did it in quite small groups and looked at external work, so the stakes weren’t quite so high”.
Clients and agencies are collaborating around creative solutions
One of the wellbeing challenges we can see faced by the creative sectors is a tendency for the agency model to “outsource the stress” of their clients. By definition agencies are there to solve client problems which can lead to long hours, high pressure cultures. Rebecca Bezzina, MD at R/GA London sees green shoots of change here: “The pandemic was a great leveller for the entire industry. Everyone was put into exactly the same situation.Clients felt the same pains we felt. As a result, many agencies forged more intimate personal relationships with their clients than ever before.”
Hybrid working is seen as an opportunity to amplify and celebrate difference and diversity.
“Packing 20 Zoom meetings into a day is not how humans should live,” agrees Dixon. “We need experiences. We need downtime. Part of the skill of running a studio is accepting that everyone is different. We should celebrate that, and work through those differences: that’s the joy of working with people.” Simon Dixon, Co Founder, DixonBaxi
What’s next? What do you see happening that is creatively inspiring?
The creative sector is shaping the future of hybrid working as as new ways of working and supporting wellbeing and Mental Fitness are explored. Our selection here only scrapes the surface. What are you seeing in your company or area of work? What ideas do you see emerging that other people can learn from? Who would you celebrate as a pioneer of hybrid working and Mental Fitness.
Want to take this further?
If your organisation is aiming to be in the vanguard of putting Mental Fitness at the heart of organisational development and you’d like help to gain a deeper understanding of your employees, we’d love to talk.
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