R/GA has been at the forefront of enabling a hybrid work model ever since the pandemic started. The New York digital product and marketing has experimented with a combination of in-office and remote work models to accommodate the needs of their employees and ensure a safe working environment for all.
According to R/GA, a “true” hybrid workplace does not mandate attendance or require employees to meet in-office quotas. The company has centered its experiment around creating an equitable workplace where promotions and bonuses do not depend on the employee's location. While many companies have seen recent developments regarding the pandemic as an opportunity to force employees back into their cubicles, R/GA emphasized the individual needs of the workers.
The reason why R/GA decided to run an experiment such as this one is its core belief in a more humane future for work. That means putting employees and their needs in the spotlight. Any kind of mandate in the workplace regarding employee attendance is the opposite of a people-first approach and is detrimental to overall employee satisfaction and productivity.
The experiment hasn’t been without hurdles. R/GA had to invest more in technology and management training to maintain a fully networked team of people across the globe. Hybrid work models are all about innovation, without which there is no hope of making such a revolutionary approach to a work function.
The complete results of the experiment aren’t in yet, as it will take some time for the company to gauge productivity metrics and weigh the pros and cons of the new system. However, one could argue that productivity isn’t all that important for hybrid work. Instead, it’s flexibility and the choice that will ultimately define hybrid work and its worth.
So far, hybrid work has been the center of many heated debates, with people taking solid stances one way or the other. Rebecca Bezzina, senior vice president and managing director of the London branch of R/GA, said that the model is not perfect but that the agency’s constantly discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the model with its employees.
She also emphasized the importance of company culture and the challenges in creating a new culture compatible with the hybrid work model. “I think what’s interesting for a leader in building a creative culture is that you do, over time, erode the culture, and need to make sure you’re creating it in a different way now,” Bezzina said. “It’s also making sure you get the curiosity and creativity and connection you get in an office when you’re around people physically.”
It remains to be seen how R/GA will solve all the hurdles of the hybrid model, but for now, it seems to hold great potential for the future of work.