Interview with Annika Hart, Managing Director of Futureproofing at Hoxby
Post pandemic there has been one discussion dominating the headlines - where people are working. Should employees be back in the office? Should companies adopt a hybrid or remote model? The majority of these conversations assume there is a ‘right answer’ - one solution which is better than all the rest. But that simply isn’t the case.
Our Marketing Manager, Leah Allen, caught up with Annika Hart, Managing Director of Futureproofing at Hoxby to find out about their individualised working model and their tips for navigating the new world of work.
LA: Can you start by telling us a bit more about Hoxby, what’s different about your model, and what you do?
AH: Hoxby is a radically different professional and creative services agency. We work remotely and each Hoxby has the complete freedom to choose when and where they work - what we call their ‘workstyle’. We use the right tech to collaborate across disciplines, countries, time zones and workstyles so that we can tap into the best talent. Our strength lies in the inclusivity and diversity of our community, allowing us to be truly innovative, insightful and creative. We can deliver against almost any brief in any business discipline thanks to the range of skills and experience we have between us. Imagine having access to a marketing agency, a creative agency, an HR consultancy and more, all in one place.
LA: We understand that the operational processes or team structures will make a remote-first workforce challenging for many of our clients – how do you overcome these challenges at Hoxby.
AH: I think the whole point is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. A fully remote model won’t be right for every organisation. Through Futureproofing we help organisations think about the why and how of work, not the where and when. We help businesses to design a model that suits the people and the type of work being done, while making it as adaptable as possible.
At Hoxby we have found that the high levels of autonomy created by our model lead to higher productivity, wellbeing, feelings of inclusion and engagement. The autonomy is created by giving people choice and control over their workstyle, within the parameters of the business, not necessarily by being remote-first.
LA: What advice would you give to other companies trying to implement their future of work strategy?
AH: Firstly, question whether you are doing things because that is how they have always been done and because that is what is comfortable. When you dig down into it, so many businesses operate on the assumption that people can’t be trusted, that you need hierarchies and to be physically in the same place to be effective, or that you need to plan for every scenario. Most of these assumptions will turn out not to be true so your model won’t work if it is based on them.
Secondly, invest in leadership. Even companies going back to an office-first model will have occasions where work needs to be done remotely now. The skills needed to lead teams with reduced face-to-face time are different - it’s not a case of simply transferring the same approach from the office to a digital environment. Organisations that don’t upskill will find productivity and engagement start to drop.
To find out more about Hoxby’s remote-first business model you can download their ‘Remote Leadership’ whitepaper here.
You can purchase the Workstyle book written by Lizzie Penny and Alex Hirst, Co-Founders of Hoxby here