The pandemic changed the way we all work. Probably forever. We enjoyed the freedom and flexibility working from home gave us all. But we missed the energy of up close and personal collaboration with colleagues. That’s why in 2021 we launched a new hybrid working model to make sure the change we created was the best kind of change. For roles that are eligible and able it means we have the opportunity to work three days in the office and two from home as it fits best for individuals and teams. So we’ve called it the Best of Both.
Individual flexibility without compromising team collaboration or efficiency are crucial considerations for Best of Both for Phoenix Liu, a Planning Director at our Jiaxing factory in China.
‘We’re exploring the possibilities in the spirit of two of our leadership values: brave and curious. It caters for the needs of extroverts to connect and of introverts for quiet time. Balance. Flexibility. Optimisation. These are our watchwords. So far, it’s working well for all of me.”
Lockdown for Key Account Manager, Dennis Van Looveren meant sharing a kitchen table with his girlfriend without a set of headphones. It was an interesting experience to present to the LEGO® leadership team while she was doing the online grocery shop and buying avocados in the background 🥑. But things have improved somewhat thanks to hybrid working;
“For big focus tasks, home wins hands down. There are less distractions. Unless you count my new born son. A ten-minute cuddle as a first-time dad is my perfect pause from work. Back in the office, the inspiration of a shared goal and connecting with one another through experiences or best practice matter 🎯. For me, the Best of Both means greater ownership, focus and connection.”
Gabe Huffstutler works in the LEGO Agency Enfield hub in the US as a Creative Specialist. As someone who absolutely must be around people, the return to the office was a great relief:
“The pandemic, I think, was really hard on everyone. Whether you have family or not, whether young or old, introvert or extrovert, I don’t know anyone that wasn’t impacted. This new model enables us to do more stuff as a family: spend more time together in the morning, going for that walk we’ve been meaning to go on or actually taking a lunch break that isn’t at your desk. It all helps.”
Kim Vollono, a Communications Partner also at the LEGO Agency in the US joined us in October 2021. She’s used the office-based portion of her week to get to know her team and immerse herself in the brand:
“I can walk by amazing builds and LEGO artwork daily, which reminds me I work for a hugely creative brand. The alone time on my commute also means I can decompress and catch up on podcasts or audio books.”
There are other upsides too:
“A free hand to manage my week in a more balanced way is something that I value greatly ⚖. I stagger my office days with my spouse’s so we can keep house training our six-month-old puppy and adjust my schedule when I need to help with family elder care.”
Many colleagues point to the autonomy the new working model brings and how it shows they are trusted. Work and life can live happily side by side - without having to be rigid about times for either.
This is reflected in praise for our People Leaders. The Best of Both relies on flexibility, understanding and empowering people to work in a way that works for them - because that also works for us as a business and as a caring employer.
In Japan, Digital Marketing Manager, Millie Asami Miyashita finds the new structure has had a positive impact on her mental health:
“More flexibility means I can be there for my son’s school activities. It enables me to take care of my family as I would wish. I feel less guilt for this and believe this makes me more productive. For more ‘intense’ meetings, however, I need the communication advantages a physical meeting at the office allows.”
Living through a one-month lockdown Project Engineer, Luda Chen, who works in our factory in Jiaxing, China quickly became used to the virtual tools that enabled working life to carry on. But his favourite canteen lunch 🍽 wasn’t the only reason he was happy to return to the office:
“I can physically go to the shopfloor to get information I need instead of an online tour. The chance to meet with colleagues also gives me a real sense of belonging.”
Whether it’s supporting diversity and inclusion in general or empowering her personally to be more efficient and agile, Best of Both is a winner for Ozgecan Yarligas. She works as our Head of B2B eCommerce in Istanbul, Turkey.
“At home, I treasure breakfast with my daughter and not losing hours to a commute in one of the world’s most congested cities. That said, the new system has been transformative. I was never really a morning person and may even forget to greet people. Now it actually gives me pleasure to do so.”
For Robyn Bowen, one of our Project Managers at the LEGO Agency in the US, it’s the mental health aspect of working arrangements that has really hit home.
“During the pandemic, I struggled working from home all of the time. As soon as we were allowed to come back to the office I was there. I enjoy it. It forces me to bring my professional self back out, dress up a bit more and put on makeup. It may sound silly but feeling better about yourself reflects on your all-round confidence.
“I didn’t realise until the pandemic how many random laughs we had or quick chats to bounce an idea off of someone. We were all much more connected. I’ve always felt that part of what’s great about a job is the people that surround you. I work on a great team with fun people and I missed that culture working from home.”