Why HealthTech scaleup, Florence, optimises for company success, not individual performance
Dr. Charles Armitage, CEO at Florence, discusses the importance of in-person interaction for creativity and collaboration in hybrid working.Insights + resources
While hybrid working has become the norm for a majority of startups, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Florence is a platform that connects independent nurses and carers directly with care providers to fill temporary shifts. The startup has three offices across the UK in London, Birmingham and Glasgow, each with different hybrid structures.
Glasgow, for example, is home to its operations, sales and customer service teams who all work in the office five days a week from 9am-5.30pm. In the London office, on the other hand, you will find Florence’s engineers, marketing, product and finance teams, where everyone is in the office Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and work from home Monday and Friday.
“In many roles, productivity is best achieved by being around other people in fields like sales, for example, where you vibe off the energy of other people,” says Dr. Charles Armitage, co-founder and CEO at Florence. “In other roles like engineering, you're probably most productive when you're not distracted, which might be best achieved at home – but productivity isn't the only goal when you’re a team member.”
Armitage believes that it’s important to have strong creativity, collaboration and company culture, and says these elements aren’t achieved by working from home, but instead by in-person face-to-face interactions.
After working from home full-time in the height of the pandemic, the Florence team did a gradual return to the office where people came in a day or two a week, before fixed days were introduced to help meet key company goals.
“When we were saying to come into the office one or two days a week whenever you want, we were finding that we weren't able to optimally achieve our goals of collaboration, communication, creativity and culture, so we had to tighten it up so people were all in on the same days,” explains Armitage.
When devising a hybrid working strategy, Armitage recommends that fellow founders make a decision as to what is best for the company and then stick to it. He believes that while you can take the team's input on board and co-design the mission, trying to meet lots of different expectations creates confusion.
“I'm optimising not for individual preference, but for company success,” says Armitage. “That might be a slightly different approach to other people – some people might think that by advertising for individual preference, you can create a strong company culture. I firmly disagree with that.
“For me, an essential part of the company is the people they work with. I think that if you don't have individual interactions in-person, you can't achieve that to the same extent.”
This interview was conducted as part of the 'ways of working' interviews with Techspace members exclusively for The Scaleup Culture Report 2023.
Get your copy of the report by Techspace here > https://www.techspace.co/scaleup-report