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Brad King

I recently completed my first full year after joining Coast Digital, which meant I was one of the team members who, until recently, didn’t really know what it meant to work at our agency in the “real world”. Having been one of the handful of employees who joined during the pandemic, I’d been used to working from home and meeting almost every one of my peers via video call!

In my role as a Digital Account Manager, cultivating client relationships is a priority, and trying to establish and develop rapport through a webcam can be challenging. Not only is it important to build trust and work well with clients from the off, but we also benefit from developing strong, social friendships with peers – all of which are easier when time is spent together. This was life as I knew it up until recently when our team was encouraged to return to the office on a part-time basis.

Like it or not, the world has changed, and technology has made it possible for most of us to operate efficiently in our roles directly from our homes. At Coast, we were one of first businesses to make the decision to encourage staff to safely return to work, and we did so by adopting a hybrid model of 2 days in the office and 3 days working from home. In this blog, we showcase some employee opinions about our new way of working and the impact this has had on our business.

The first day back in the office

I myself had mixed feelings on my first official day in the office, which was understandable as I had been used to the comfort of being at home and commuting just a flight of stairs each day. But there I was, being woken by my 6:30 alarm to reach the office by 7:45am. Despite my reservations, it’s surprising just how quickly I saw the benefits of being back in the office.

Not long after I first arrived, I shared a challenge I had with another Account Manager whose perspective was one I hadn’t considered and was a welcome point of view. Later that morning, whilst in the kitchen making a coffee, I began chatting with our Strategy Director. A few moments later, my notepad was full of valuable insights ready to share with a client.

Without access to my home fridge, I took a welcome walk at lunch with a colleague and, whilst chatting, they recommended a new Asian fusion restaurant which later turned out to be possibly the best meal I have ever had in Colchester!

It occurred to me that taking a lunchtime walk, hearing a new point of view, collating valuable insights, and eating an amazing meal simply wouldn’t have happened had I still been working solely from home.

So, is it possible that this hybrid model is actually providing the best of both worlds? I asked some other Coasties their experiences of returning to the office…

Question #1: Are you glad to be back in the office?

Answered by: Georgina Phillips, Senior Account Manager

“Returning to the office was daunting at first, although virtually my whole career has been office based. They say it only takes 6 weeks for new habits to become behaviours, so whilst it was a huge change to start working from home, I feel like there’s an even bigger journey to re-learn the ways of office working.

One part of my role that I missed the most when working from home was collaborative workshops, both with the internal team and with clients. I’m a people person, and although working from home has its benefits, when you need to really hash out a campaign strategy or something similar, meeting in person is, I feel, a much better approach and a more efficient way for everybody to play a part in the creative process.”

Did you know…?

Here at Coast Digital, we run dedicated learning and training workshops for those who would like to enhance their knowledge of digital marketing.

If you have a particular area of interest – be it SEO, social media, digital copywriting, email marketing, or something else – we can offer personalised training courses tailored to your (or your team’s) specific skillsets or level of understanding.

Find out more >

Question #2: How did you find joining the agency during lockdown?

Answered by: Stacey Gregory, Account Manager

(Like me, Stacey joined the Account Management team during lockdown, so I was keen to see if she’d had a similar experience to me.)

“Joining Coast Digital in the height of lockdown was daunting! It’s been said that only 7% of communication is verbal. The remaining 93% of non-verbal communication is broken down as 55% body language and 38% tone of voice. Luckily for me, Coast provided me with an amazing onboarding process, I was lucky to meet a few people in person (socially distanced of course) and received everything to equip me for a modern work from home office. I was really surprised that all the agency advantages; creative workshops, collaboration from specialists and expert knowledge were still at the forefront & the digital agency had taken on remote working so flawlessly.”

Did you know…?

Here at Coast Digital, we run dedicated learning and training workshops for those who would like to enhance their knowledge of digital marketing.

If you have a particular area of interest – be it SEO, social media, digital copywriting, email marketing, or something else – we can offer personalised training courses tailored to your (or your team’s) specific skillsets or level of understanding.

Check out our digital marketing services >

Question #3: What did you miss most when you were working from home?

Answered by: Sam Bonner, SEO Specialist

“Working from home has had its benefits, however, there were big things that I missed from the office environment which I didn’t quite realise until I returned. Having people around to talk to face-to-face was a big one.

One of the key benefits of engaging with colleagues at an agency is getting the collective expertise of the whole team, rather than being limited to the knowledge of an individual specialist. This is particularly important when we think about search engine optimisation because it’s a discipline that’s constantly moving and changing. Coming in the office sometimes helps us all to share knowledge, strategy and approach in person.

Did you know…?

Our SEO specialists’ ability to create outstanding content, build an effective backlink strategy, and implement best practice SEO techniques to help drive organic traffic to your website and achieve measurable, meaningful results.

Find out more >

Question #4: Do you feel that adopting a hybrid working model has benefited our clients?

Answered by: Darren Bond, Digital Strategy Director

“I would say that it’s noticeable how workshops and meetings are more productive in person than online, as it’s easy for both clients and colleagues to be distracted by something like an email, a child, or a doorbell ringing. Especially during internal whiteboarding and planning sessions, it’s much easier to reach a consensus face to face, for sure.

The other obvious thing for me is the spontaneous support that the team can offer which benefits everyone collectively. Two people talk through a challenge or opportunity and, just because of proximity to the conversation, other experts will then usually feed in to offer their experiences, which ultimately drives a better outcome for the client.”

Did you know…?

We’re all about supporting our clients and helping them and their businesses make the most of their digital marketing opportunities. Why not see how we’ve helped other clients by checking out some of our case studies. Or, take a look at our guides

Browse case studies >

Browse guides >

So, in conclusion…

It may feel like working from home individually means we can work without interruption, but by working in the office together, we can work collaboratively. By regularly sharing our knowledge, we collectively grow as a team which, in turn, benefits our clients as well. And as far as we’re concerned, that’s what agency life is all about!

If you’d like to learn more about adapting to the post pandemic world, why not check out our free guide: The Essential Digital Marketing Toolkit for Coming Back Stronger. 

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