After 18 months of working from home, at the beginning of September we finally welcomed back the entire Big Bite team to our recently refurbished headquarters. It was a momentous occasion which we celebrated with a mega brunch spread, and it felt genuinely amazing to see everyone back together.
In the run up to the reunion, and throughout the course of the pandemic, we’ve all frequently used the phrase ‘when things get back to normal’, however as we’re now returning to a more familiar working life it’s clear that after any major event things are never quite the same again. We are all forever changed, in varying degrees, and at Big Bite we’re embracing the positive ways that we’re different, post peak pandemic.
As a digital company, we were in the extremely fortunate position to be able to quickly adapt to working from home when it was announced as a requirement back in March 2020. With clients in multiple locations around the globe, we were also already comfortable using online video and chat tools as key methods of communication, so while the sudden shift wasn’t without its occasional challenges, overall it was a pretty seamless transition.
We also noted that while the rising Covid case numbers and multiple lockdowns were of course stressful, and the isolation of home working proved very difficult at times, there were some benefits too. Team members revisited past hobbies and discovered new ones, fewer disruptions meant an increase in deep work for some, and many spent more time with their loved ones or practising self-care.
To retain these gains and enable our colleagues to genuinely strike their ideal work life balance, we’re now committed to a hybrid work model. That means that every member of the Big Bite team is free to split their time between working from the office, and working remotely, depending on which environment best suits them, their schedule, and the responsibilities of their role. The increased productivity and employee wellbeing that hybrid working offers is well documented, and just a few weeks in, we already know that we’re never looking back.
Holistic employee support
More often than not, asking somebody how they’re doing is an idiomatic greeting rather than a genuine enquiry, however the shared experience of the last 18 months has added sincerity to the question, and helped to open up some honest discussions around mental health.
We’ve provided a free counselling service to our team members for some time now, and in line with our return to the office we’re taken steps towards a more holistic approach to employee support. It’s always been part of our culture to look out for each other, and we’ve now introduced regular wellbeing sessions and restorative time as firm fixtures in our working calendars. This is in addition to a number of measures that ensure we’re working safely in a shared space.
While our team was unexpectedly dispersed for well over a year, it was critical for us to work closely together to deliver on our commitments to clients. In less than ideal conditions, this required more agility, patience and understanding from all of us, and we also needed to quickly reimagine some of our production and collaboration processes to ensure high-performance, such as consolidating catch-ups to avoid meeting fatigue.
As a result, we’re much more finely tuned to each other’s working patterns, preferences and idiosyncrasies, which in turn has helped us to build better connections and become a stronger team than ever before. None of us ever anticipated that the freedom to come into the office would be something we’d ever lose, even temporarily, so the privilege of being back in a great environment, working alongside talented and like-minded colleagues, is something we’ll continue to appreciate for many years to come.