Earlier this month, Reckitt Australia leveraged internal research to launch a new 'Future of Work' strategy based on a flexible hybrid-work model where employees can choose to work remotely or in the Reckitt head office at World Square in Sydney.
Reckitt’s consumer health division, which oversees Nurofen, Dettol, Gaviscon and other healthcare brands, is borne out of the UK. However here in Australia, where our team, like many in APAC, is on different time zones to our global agencies and peers, some of our employees would start the Aussie day at 9am and finish at 5pm, before attending the UK creative meetings from 7pm through to midnight. While not a regular occurrence, I’m aware that these time zone differences can have an impact on all brands and agencies that come from a global village.
The demand for hybrid work has fluctuated dramatically over the last two years with the Covid-19 pandemic, which forcibly shut down face-to-face and traditional work practices. Upon this shift in the workforce dynamic, employees have grown accustomed to an at-home working environment and the benefits it affords to the way they do business, especially with their global counterparts.
At Reckitt Australia, we learnt quickly that a hybrid model acknowledges the current shift into a flexible working culture, and so our new strategy was developed to merge the positives afforded by at-home work and, equally, the connection we get from working in the office.
Here’s why our integration with our global brand leads and agencies has never been better, and why I feel you should consider a flexi-workplace as well:
Space for creativity and creativity to bloom
By putting trust in staff and enabling them with the tools to do good work at their own pace, a flexible approach considers the impact and output over the number of hours physically worked in the office. This means that those from our team who are working on a big brand plan have the capability to collaborate with their peers in other markets who may have similar challenges and who understand their brand, at a time when they are most engaged with the content – a time they choose.
The expansion of technologies used to carry out workplace experiences amidst a shift into flexible working is assistive and necessary. It has created and expedited communication to improve efficiency of employees working from home, meaning they are more able to spend time with their children, and use technologies such as Microsoft Teams to collaborate, communicate and be productive anywhere, anytime with safety, simplicity and security – be that virtually or in person at our office in Sydney’s CBD.
We all know that creative and brand agencies tend to work hard. Enabling our team to set boundaries for themselves has in-turn helped their agencies set boundaries and work the way they best want to. Simply saying, “just because you receive an email from me at 8pm doesn’t mean I require a response that evening” frees up the expectation and enables trust not just in our own teams, but in the extension to our teams – our creative partners.
Collaboration and a stable team environment is a critical element in the transformation of the workspace and the incline towards flexible working conditions. By enabling fluid collaboration via the hybrid workspace, the Australian team has become more empathetic and understanding to our global peers whose countries manage COVID-19 in varying levels and ways to ours. This increased awareness and empathy makes us better marketers – it drives purpose and passion. Globally, Reckitt partnered with two of the world leaders in wellbeing and performance, Tignum and Hinsta, to offer wellbeing guidance and tools for employees globally.
No way of working is ‘one size fits all’, and since the pandemic we – and many companies – have moved into a future of work that offers choice and control for its employees. As they tell us that they need more flexible hours to better collaborate with their partners overseas or agencies in the same city, it’s up to us as leaders to listen – and let the results and creativity speak for themselves.
Henry Turgoose is marketing director at Reckitt Health Australia