6 December 2021

What is an Office for? The Harvest Story

What Is an Office For? The Harvest Story

In his presentation for the IITD annual conference on Wednesday last, Dan Pink posed this question “What is an office for?” It is a question that the Harvest team has been discussing for months and lead us to take part in “The Big Sorting”, a phrase coined by Dan. After nearly forty years, with the accumulation of lots of memories, lots of fun and creativity and in recent times, lots of months where we have been locked out of our office, we took the decision that the four walls of our office were no longer a requirement for us as a team and as an organisation of the future.

On the 12th of November, we closed our office doors and have now transitioned to a remote working environment.

What we did

  • Consulted with each other and clearly defined what work was focused work and what was collaborative work (great insights from Lynda Grattan’s works)
  • Defined what effectiveness and wellbeing meant to us as a team (found to be trust, autonomy, and flexibility) and agreed that when collaboration and togetherness was required, we would make that happen
  • Agreed a mandatory team collaboration day every second Thursday and agreed if more time together time was needed that we would schedule that time
  • Developed a detailed plan for the move and an easy transition plan within a BAU environment

What have we learnt so far?

  • That our culture is not defined by stuff and four walls: stuff that we haven’t used in over a year and a half and four walls that we have been unfamiliar with, in the last eighteen months. What defines us is our ability to work effectively as a team (regardless of where we are located) and the meaningful work that is continuing within our client partnerships
  • Our carbon footprint and the negative impact of our work practices on climate change became more important to us especially when we started to look at the positive contribution as a collective that we would be making with the change (less driving, no paper etc.)
  • The importance of continuing to connect and create in person. This can still happen through our daily 9am check-in calls, our collaboration days and our one on one in-person meetings for lunch and coffees

In Harvest, our ethos of leading out and being early start adopters lives on in this move. Some would feel it’s risky and a bold leap, but for us, it is and continues to be a brilliant learning experience, one that we can share with others. We would love to hear your feedback on our news and hear what you are doing to facilitate remote and or hybrid working.