Leeds business Loaded PR tells staff to 'work when you want'

A PR and marketing agency in Leeds has taken flexible working to a new level with the introduction of a ‘work when you want’ model.

Gemma Birbeck.
Gemma Birbeck.

Loaded PR says it has introduced the model, which allows its team to work their contracted hours when and from where they want, to maintain employee well-being, sustain productivity, enhance creativity and provide greater contact support to clients.

It is a step beyond other working models in the industry, which ordinarily cover hybrid working, a four day week or fully remote working.

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The business was founded in 2019 by 34-year-old PR director Gemma Birbeck. She believes that employees should be able to work when they are at their most creative and productive.

Ms Birbeck said: “The last two years have completely changed the way everyone views the working world and as such, the standard bums on seats 9 to 5 idea just isn’t as highly regarded as it was.

“As a team working remotely for most of the pandemic, we found each had different times of day when we felt at our most creative and productive, and clients seemed to respond really well to having extended hours of support from a member of the team.

“Employee wellbeing is extremely important to me and I feel that as the working world around us evolves alongside the need for a better work life balance increases, it’s my responsibility to make sure we are responding and evolving alongside it. All of these reasons are why we’ve introduced this model.

“High levels of trust and effective communication are key attributes in the success of this new model and I am lucky to have a team whom I can trust. The team doesn't have a rota or planned hours, so we’ve put in place Slack for team members to let each other know their availability on the day.

"As not to confuse work or projects, as well as being conscious of upcoming deadlines and knowing what to prioritise, we discuss in our team Monday meeting what we have on that week.”

To ensure collaboration and connectivity isn’t stunted, the team plans to continue with its regular away days at various locations across Yorkshire and face-to-face meetings with clients when necessary.

The firm’s office at The Northern HQ is also available for when the team feels the need for a change of environment or wants to meet up in person - both Ms Birbeck and operations director Kris Brook will continue to be in the physical office between the hours of 8.30am to 5.30pm.

There will also be a member of the team always available between 7am and 10pm, Monday to Friday, to ensure that clients have continued support.

Ella Wilkinson, PR account executive at Loaded PR, said: “Having the freedom to work my hours when I choose has had a really positive impact. Loaded PR gave me a chance to enrol on an apprenticeship degree alongside my role and so by choice, I have a lot to fit into the week.

"Being able to choose when I start and finish work means I am in the right headspace to put my all into everything I do and I am really seeing the results. I can work when I have that moment of creativity and when I may struggle with writer's block, I can take time out to go for a bike ride or something.”

Peter Lessani, digital account executive at the firm, said: “As an employee, it’s a rewarding feeling to know we are trusted to be responsible for our own time and it’s the first time I’ve experienced true flexibility.

“Using Slack and email to communicate with the team helps us all to stay on the same page, and maintain our collaborative approach, even when we may not all be working simultaneously, so it’s actually incredibly easy to pick back up throughout the day.”

Loaded PR is currently looking to hire a a PR account manager. For more information visit: www.loadedpr.co.uk

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