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Cultivating Culture within our Agency

02nd Dec 2022

Supporting our Team

We care about what we create and about those who create it. Our agency runs on a culture founded in care and respect for one another which dates all the way back to when we were founded in 1985. However, since the pandemic and working on projects such as Melo Cymru, that focus on mental wellbeing, we’ve realised how much we need to focus on our team’s mental health. Which meant setting practices up to help them stay healthy, well and resilient not just in the office, but in their day-to-day lives as well.

Prioritising what matters most

During the pandemic we reduced our working hours. In the summer of 2020, we went down to a 4.5 day week and have never looked back! We lose a Friday afternoon of work, but our team gain those few hours back to catch up with friends, run errands or simply take a bit of time to unwind before the weekend. We’ve noticed a significant change in the mindset of our employees as well as helping them be more creative.

Like many companies, we were forced to become fully-remote in March 2020, and after lengthy discussions with the whole team and even lengthier discussions in directors meetings, Martin Hopkins adopted a hybrid-working model. This offers flexibility for both our team and our clients.

We’ve all found benefits in remote work and it gave a boost to our team’s mental wellbeing, however nothing beats being able to meet in our beautiful office in leafy Pontcanna to share ideas and collaborate on projects. The office environment offered by Desg gives our team the flexibility to spend as much time in the office as they like, as well as allowing us to enjoy the culture that Pontcanna offers, with lovely cafes and the ritual of a lunchtime walk around the fields. Pop in to Suite 12 and say hello!

This July, we became an accredited Living Wage Employer with the Living Wage Foundation. We pride ourselves on paying our staff above legal living wage, so we decided we should make it official! The real Living Wage is based on the cost of living and is voluntarily paid by us as we believe all our employees should be earning a wage that meets their everyday needs. We see it as an investment in our team and their future which reflects our belief that a team that feels fairly compensated will be the best team they can be!

Inhale creativity, exhale burnout

The mental wellbeing of our team has always been incredibly important to us and was a leading reason for us wanting to reduce our hours. Since we started our work with Melo Cymru, we looked internally to see what else we could be doing to support the mental health of our employees and added in practices to support their wellbeing. Martin Hopkins now offer mental wellbeing leave for when our employees are really struggling and need a break, which won’t affect their holiday allowance or their sick days. It’s incredibly important to us that we develop a culture in our agency where people feel able to speak out if they feel like they’re suffering with burnout or if they’re struggling with something unrelated to work, we want to support them where we can.

In addition to offering mental wellbeing leave, we’ve signed the whole team up to Headspace to give them access to a range of short mindfulness exercises or full-on meditation courses. We also encourage the team to take short breaks during the day to practice mindfulness and short meditations if they need.

Work hard, play hard

Hiring real creative minds means they’re always hungry for more knowledge and keen to develop their skills further. However, one of the problems we were encountering is that after working a full day, most of the team just want to chill out in their spare time and not be thinking about formatting or accessibility guidelines, yet they wanted to continue their development as a designer. After talking to the team about what they wanted to achieve and the skills they wanted to learn, we’ve blocked out two hours on Thursday for the whole team. This gives everyone the time and space they need to learn new things and play with new techniques which we then apply in our Playground Briefs.

We’re incredibly lucky to have a fantastic team of creative minds working for us at MH, and we’re aware that those creative minds need to play to be able to create their best work. One of our favourite things about the culture here is that we will go on paid away days with the team, not only to give them a very well-deserved break for working so hard, but also to give ourselves the space to be creative. It helps us feel closer as a team and work together more effectively.

Our recent away days have included a screen-printing workshop where we were able to get our hands dirty and get in touch with our hands-on creative side! Previous away days have also involved escape rooms, ice skating and mini golf which gives the team a well-earned break as well as bonding us as a team!

A modern culture for a modern agency

We offer lots to our team and pride ourselves on the culture we’ve created, it’s built on care and respect for each member of the team who are treated as people first and foremost. Martin Hopkins is a place of fun, creativity and hard work and we would be nothing without our amazing team!

Written by Alice-Rae Pringle
Digital Content Manager