We live in an age where work emails are there in your pocket, walking down the beach with you and your family on a Sunday afternoon. Work is accessible all day, every day and despite our phones having an ‘off’ button, we just don’t seem to use it. Work encroaches upon our personal time – it’s a 24/7 restless and impatient world; one that expects a reply within the hour, no matter the hour. The phrase “never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life” has never been so significant.
That is, unless, you decide to make a change…
Five years ago we made a change; to become more efficient, creative, happier. We found a balance between work and home life. And so, along came ‘Lagom’. This one little word has been at the very heart of every change we have made as an agency and is still at the core of our values. It is more than a word; it is a behaviour, a mind set, a framework, it’s a contemporary idea that we really think the UK could prosper from embracing.
What we love about this very Scandinavian concept is that it’s not about making big changes, but rather making improvements to the small things which make a big difference. Wikipedia notes ‘Lagom’ is the Swedish word meaning ‘just the right amount’ – not too much, not too little. It comes from the phrase ‘lagom är bäst’ meaning ‘the right amount is best’.
In a business environment it means working harder for less time. It’s means balancing work and play in the most productive way. It means streamlining processes and keeping the work environment fresh and clear.
Here’s the best bit – it means a ‘6 hour working day’! We start at 9am and finish at 4pm with an hour for lunch. Employers in Sweden have been backing this idea for years in a bid to give their staff more time to manage and enjoy their private lives outside of work, but also to concentrate much more productively during working hours. We lock the doors to the office at midday for lunch and don’t open them again until 1pm, no excuses. We have time to refresh our thoughts, take a break from our screens, meet friends, relax and communicate with one another. The team play games, read, talk about our new bathroom tiles and what we are having for tea. For a creative marketing agency, this is pure gold! We are still discovering each other’s hidden talents, interests and hobbies, all of which has been useful in some way when suggesting ideas to our clients. It has also given us a greater understanding of one another and opened the channels of communication far wider. Our concentration levels are higher and our time is better managed.
Our day is also now structured to allow pretty self explanatory ‘red’, ‘amber’ and ‘green’ working times… Yes, it sounds awfully structured but it has actually granted so much more flexibility. With more direct focus, tasks are being completed in less time and to a better standard due each member not being distracted by their phones or their colleagues. We break at the right times meaning no one is working on an empty stomach or dehydrated. Our eyes are given enough of a rest from our screens and we are encouraged to get up and move. We also know how our days are planned out meaning our minds are subconsciously less cluttered; there is less temptation to stray from the tasks ahead and waste time given we know we will be able to relax in green time or lunch time. We all still have time for Doctor’s appointments or last minute Christmas shopping before everything closes for the day.
Quite simply, it’s about cutting out the unnecessary stuff that most people find themselves doing on work time and giving them the opportunity to do it in their own time.
It is so far from the average 9-to-5 office that every friend we’ve tried to explain it to has scoffed… Firstly because it sounds so ‘crazy’ (those Scandinavians have always been forward-thinking) and then because they are envious that they are still labouring away at 5:45pm with tired eyes while some of us have already been for a swim and are cooking dinner.
We know there will be skeptics out there, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. We’ve been fully embracing Lagom since September 2017 and wouldn’t go back. Yes, it takes some hard work and perseverance, but we have such a brighter, happier team; FLOCC understands having a private life is important and openly encourages it. It wants us to ‘make a life’ so that we can enjoy ‘making a living’.
Who can say their company is willing to give them an extra two hours a day to relax, refresh and live? Who can say that they wouldn’t work as hard and as productively as possible to be able to leave the office at 4pm? It’s simply a case of give and take – we are given more time at home in return for more focus at work.
If you’d like to know more, or how your business might see big benefits, just give us a call!