Not just another blog about Hybrid-working…one about getting creative to help People and Revenue

So let us tell you a story.  But as the title suggests, this isn’t just about the benefits of hybrid working or the ways it attracts talent.  This is a story about how we evolved away from flexible working*, and the positive impact this had on the team AND revenue!  There, we said it – but you’d better keep reading to find out more before you go telling the world that hybrid working is dead!

*to some extent

What we went through.

Like every office-based business, iMultiply transitioned from almost 100% ‘in office’, to fully home-based during the pandemic, and subsequently to the now well-known “Hybrid working”.  And because we like to offer flexibility to the team and need to compete for talent, this meant that staff could choose where they work each day. (Let’s be honest – that was also because it suited the Senior Leadership team to have complete flexibility as well!)  And this was going well – the team seemed happy to have this complete flexibility, and we downsized office space to reduce costs.

But, in Summer of 2022 we had a fascinating Board Meeting.  Not many companies share stories of revenue trends but then we aren’t your average recruitment firm – so we’ll tell you.  Revenue was doing ‘ok’, but considering the market we were operating in (and the amazing team we already had, many of whom have years of great performance behind them) we all felt that the numbers weren’t quite where we were hoping they would be.  So the conversation turned to why…

All our various metrics were actually a little down compared to previous comparables.  So after more Boardroom discussion, we realised the team just wasn’t ‘motoring’ as much as they had been pre-pandemic.  But what had changed?  Well, certainly one thing – flexible working!

So as a Board, we decided that a solution worth trying was some kind of return to office working.  We knew full-scale just wouldn’t be welcome, but the idea of “anchor days” (i.e. specified days where all the team are expected to be in) might be manageable.  But we needed buy-in so we took this idea to the team to gauge their reaction.

It must be said, the team all responded amazingly positively.  They agreed there had been a bit of lost momentum, and it was just too easy to stay at home rather than make the commute.  They also referenced that even on days they did feel like coming to an office, because they didn’t know who else would be in to chat to they just didn’t bother.  So they were all in – we’d have three anchor days (Monday, Tuesday & Thursday).

And what was the result?

This is where a lot of blogs would start telling you about all the qualitative results this change had; around team morale, more socialising etc.  But we’d rather show you this graph:

Hopefully, that pretty much speaks for itself.  But just to underline our point, at our 2022 Review in December, this graph was shown without the pink line.  Our Chair, the always insightful Craig Nichol, asked the team what they thought had caused such an upturn in performance from August onwards…

The reply? It was the anchor days. The sharing of information, the morale boost, the getting up and out. Unanimously!

There had been no noticeable ‘market’ changes, we’d made our own change.

So what’s the lesson here?

Let’s be clear, we’re not saying that every business should scrap flexible or hybrid working, and return to offices. It’ll vary for each business, and as recruiters we are all too aware that companies forcing employees back full-time will miss out on talent.  It’s not how most of us wish to work.

But, as Craig said in that Review meeting:

“In all my years in business, I’ve seldom seen such an upturn in revenue, with such a singular cause.”

So it’s worth every business considering how their working style is impacting people and profitability.  Perhaps there are ways to make improvements that benefit both?

To find out more about how we work at iMultiply, click HERE.

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