As an agency that had been built modern and delivered most client work from multiple offices, we already had an approach for working remotely as we entered the pandemic.
We relied very heavily on our agency culture during the early days and our core values that outlined how we wanted to work within the agency and with clients.
During this time at GALE, we grew the agency, winning clients and adding new hires. Things were good, and we were growing.
But something did not feel right.
At GALE, we have an equation: Great People + Great Clients + Power of our Culture = Great Work. We focus on the left-hand side and know that when we hire, mentor and grow great people, find great clients, and embrace all with our unique culture, we will do great work.
Earlier this year, like lots of agencies, we began the process of returning to the office. We started with just one day and are now at two.
But honestly, we have struggled to have people return to the office at full force. And we hear a lot of reasons. People are comfortable at home. They feel like they are more efficient. They do not have to worry about the commute. And THEY ARE DOING GOOD WORK.
All of this is likely true. But we still need to return to the office.
For the leadership at GALE, the return to the office is about a commitment to our people. A commitment to growing our people. Provide them access to their managers, or any manager, or even peers that can help drive their professional and personal growth.
It is about in-person meetings in which you can see that they are struggling with a topic because of their body language. It is about being available for five minutes to answer a quick question that unlocks hours of frustration. It is about developing critical skills around presentations and presence. It is about jumping to a whiteboard, helping someone walk through a problem, and coaching them to solve it.
Returning to the office at GALE is about a commitment to growing our people. Grow our people by providing them real-time access and feedback from their leaders. Developing our leaders by asking them to grow their people.
It is not all about the work. At GALE, we are doing great work, but what has suffered is the speed at which we are growing to the next level – and we cannot have that.
So, keeping this in mind. Next time you ask, “Do I need to go into the office?” reframe it and look at it as an investment in your career and an investment in other people.