The (welfare) state of affairs: media agencies and the cost of living crisis

Jacob Knox-Hooke, Operations Director at PHD about the impactful changes made at PHD Global to support employees at their career and life stages.

As the UK settles into autumn, the political and social landscape makes for grim reading. No single person is more than one or two connections away from someone preparing for tough times, yet the enemy is no longer COVID-19.

Instead, we are faced with the cost-of-living crisis and the reality of having to spend more on essentials such as water, electricity, and gas. In this support vacuum, organisations are being pushed into new spaces, outside of historic responsibilities.

One of the first pieces of advice I received early in my career, was to ‘work hard, play hard’. These days, it feels more like ‘work and survive’, than ‘work and play’.

Some of the impactful changes we, at PHD Global, have made over the last five years, could be put implemented by any organisation:

  1. Growth and retention: competitive salaries and visible growth opportunities, driven by accurate performance appraisal and training, are fundamental elements to helping people flourish. We are also working harder than ever to promote internal mobility.
  2. Prioritising communication: the pandemic made clear the importance of open lines of communication in a crisis. This means knowing when your people are struggling, providing support, and making reasonable adjustments. We have used programmes such as Mental Health First Aid and have normalised talking about mental health issues to begin removing stigma. 
  3. Promoting a flexible culture: leading from the front, we normalise stories of policies in practice, particularly of senior staffers structuring their working lives to accommodate other, often care-related, responsibilities.
  4. Reviewing existing policies and benefits: our world is unrecognisable from old policies that were once put in place, so we’ve adapted. Great additions at PHD include introducing the ability for our people to work from anywhere in the world and operating core working hours to accommodate parents and carers.
  5. Awareness of biases in social spaces: social engagement rules have evolved, so we’ve been accommodating in designing our social activities. We now include social activities such as bike rides, walks and park socials.
  6. Making the office enticing: in addition to the developmental benefits of sitting alongside colleagues, we’re hosting partners to develop connections, and we benefit from a subsidised cafeteria. That free lunch, coffee or snack can go a long way. Since the energy crisis, it may become financially necessary for people to work from the office, rather than heat their homes. Our office doors are always open for our teams to use as they wish.  

As an industry, we have the power to support our employees at all career and life stages. People are our strength and making them feel safe and supported to produce their best work means it is imperative for firms to act. The time is now.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and were submitted in accordance with the IPA terms and conditions regarding the uploading and contribution of content to the IPA newsletters, IPA website, or other IPA media, and should not be interpreted as representing the opinion of the IPA.

Last updated 28 March 2024