Earlier this year we made the decision to become a fully remote agency. Many have questioned why, but it wasn’t a decision we made alone as CEO and COO.
Since we started working from home in March 20, me and my wife Lou, alongside other senior members within the agency, saw a huge surge in productivity following the move to working from home.
Our teams began to enjoy the flexibility of working from home. All of a sudden, they no longer had to commute to and from the office Mon-Fri, decide what to wear each morning, wake up earlier to apply makeup if they wore it, buy lunch and so much more.
Now, they’re able to have an extra hour in bed if they wish to in the morning, make lunch at home, wear what they please, sit outside if the weather is nice and even go for a local walk at lunchtime.
So, what’s changed?
We Took A Vote
I want to set one thing straight. Going fully remote wasn’t a decision made by us; it was a decision that was made by the entire business. We took an anonymous, company-wide vote to decide how we would work going forward. Not one person within the team at the time of the vote voted to go back to the office, which made the decision to go fully remote much easier.
Complexities Of Working From Home
Shifting the agency to become fully remote has not been easy and there has been several decisions involved. But like most things, its paid off! There’s been a lot to consider like how we were going to maintain our culture, how we were going to be able to meet up with the team in-person, how we were going to make sure everyone had the set up they needed, how we were going to maintain security, how we were going to manage and track the success (or unsuccess) of remote working… the list went on.
It’s, of course, not been an entirely steady road and if it was, we probably wouldn’t have done it right. I’ve written more about our culture and some of the above, here.
How Its Benefitted Us
Since going fully remote, we’ve thrived. Yes, we lost £838k in the first 3 months of lockdown. Yes, we struggled to retain business. Yes, we found it a challenge to bring on new retainers. But we are thriving. We’ve seen greater productivity from our teams, happier staff, a positive welcome to change, more determination and motivation and so much more.
Following the two-year anniversary of our “new” office in Springfield that we were only in for a year or so, we launched our third rebrand. Though this one isn’t hugely different to our previous look and feel, we overhauled our website and are in the process of knuckling down on where we excel the most. Moving forward, we’ll be focusing on three core services SEO, Digital PR and PPC including Google Ads, Shopping, Amazon advertising, paid LinkedIn, paid Facebook and more. We’ll also be seeking business within certain sectors where we perform the best such as within the finance and gambling industries.
Working From Anywhere In Europe
More recently, I have announced that the A-Team is now able to work from anywhere in Europe, for up to 183 days a year. This decision was yet again not one that was made easily and was in fact 4 months in the making! There are a lot of rules and regulations to follow when allowing an employee to work from outside the UK, but it is also one that is also highly beneficial to several staff, so it was worth it.
We’ve introduced the ability to work from anywhere in Europe as our latest perk as we want to offer our staff greater flexibility in how and where they work following the introduction of our Absolute Early Birds and Absolute Owl working hours. But ultimately, it’s not just able being to work in Spain, France, Germany or elsewhere. It’s primarily about allowing our team to work from a sunny place if or when they want to, to meet up with family abroad or to go travelling whilst still being able to work to get the best of both worlds.
So far, the feedback has been fantastic! Many have praised us in allowing our teams to work from Europe despite the planning undertaken behind the scenes. Others have even asked for jobs! More employers should be taking this approach and trusting their staff to work from abroad (or in our case, within Europe) because ultimately that’s what is going to help your business expand and do good.
We also have staff who have previous lived abroad or have family or partner abroad and the pandemic has meant that they’ve been unable to travel. Through introducing the ability to work from anywhere in Europe, this provides these members with the opportunity to see their families or, in some cases, go home. It’s also opened a world of new opportunities for those who have a holiday home, allowing them to make better use of their facilities whenever they want.
Will we ever go back to the office?
I’m not one to say “never say never” but for now, no. We’re reaping the benefits of remote working (both the agency, our staff, and its clients) and believe that this is what’s right for us for now. Should we ever need to return to a permanent office or flexible working space, we know that we can and are confident in the knowledge that our staff will understand too.
We’re still getting use to being a fully remote agency but what I do know is that I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s allowed us to pump further investment into the agency and our staff from a training and progression perspective and is a move that has so far paid off completely.