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Raising a middle finger to the 9-5

Raising a middle finger to the 9-5

Hands up who likes having a 9-5?

Who thinks that the 9-5 is fit for purpose in today’s world?

I thought as much.

We’re at a crucial junction today, where technology is enabling more flexibility than ever. Lifestyles and working patterns can no longer be so neatly compartmentalised in the ‘working day’. We certainly felt like we were in a position to shake things up and try something new. Plus, we’re in an industry that’s supposed to embrace change and technology, so why the f*ck not?

The Decision

In 2018, we made the decision to (figuratively) tear up our employment contracts and remove any expectation of the 40-hour work week. Salaries remain unaffected, however our contract with our team is now based solely on consistent completion of high-quality work rather than time rendered. The number of hours worked, where and when was up to the individual.

Before launching our dynamic working process, we had to consider the pitfalls, and we discussed these with the team, and openly and collaboratively stress-tested them. Naturally, the most important factor to emerge was trust, assuming the best in people, and hopefully getting it in return. After all, everyone here is an adult, and being granted this responsibility demonstrates an implied trust in that person.

The Lessons

It’s now been, at least, a full-year of dynamic working within Lambda Films. For anyone out there thinking about doing something similar, the key things to focus on and get right are:

  • Processes. Use this opportunity to make sure your processes are robust and can cope with people not necessarily being present.
  • Keeping communication open. Tools like Slack allow us all to stay in touch easily, while keeping things work focused. Paradoxically, you’re more likely to get a good conversation going with someone working from home than on-site!
  • Objective-centric. Tools like allow you to track a project’s progress, and ensure that people are focused on objective-completion, not just filling time.
  • Mindset. It is a big change. It’s weird at first. And we don’t want a ‘guilting’ culture for those who might work fewer hours. We initially made it clear that this was very much a pilot, but it was clear by the end that a return to the ‘norm’ would very much be a step backwards for all of us.

Dynamic Working | The Results

And because people love lists, here’s what I’d say are 3 nice surprises that we’ve noticed.

  1. The irregular work habits have forced a stronger need for clear communication, meaning our production processes has actually improved as a result of this change.
  2. It’s genuinely interesting to see how different people have used/implemented it. For some, it’s getting in and leaving a bit earlier so what was a 1 hour commute now only takes 20 minutes. For others, it’s being able to hit the gym in the middle of the day to avoid the rush that evening. Everyone’s interpreted and implemented it slightly differently.
  3. Anecdotally, we have heard how our working culture has greatly improved mental health and wellbeing – proving invaluable during times of personal stress. This is one of our proudest achievements.

The world of work is changing rapidly, and we believe that the companies most likely to thrive are those that change and adapt with it. We’ve got such a great opportunity to try and do things differently, and so far we’re really glad we have! We’d love to hear from other companies who have implemented any form of dynamic working, especially in the creative sector.