People sometimes ask me what it is like running global teams through the cloud, where people work remotely many hundreds and sometimes many thousands of miles from each other on a daily basis.
Well after eleven years of UP working in the cloud, I can tell you it works pretty darn well. Not only do you gain enormously in terms of the creative end result, it’s also vastly more productive, and provides a quality of life for our own people that is way better.
However I always qualify my statement by saying; ‘but it also really helps when you get your remote teams together occasionally.’
Global Meet-UP Palma 2022
This week we’ve been doing just that in Palma, Mallorca, where we held our first physical meeting in three years at our Global Meet-UP ’22. Over 60 people came together for three stimulating days to discuss our amazing progress over the years, look at how we work together and to launch some exciting new team features.
So what was the single biggest objective of our meeting? Simply to get together. To meet each other. Working in the cloud is amazing and I’d never go back to traditional ways of working but it’s a really cool thing to see people who have worked together for what may have been years meeting up for the very first time. It always gives me a huge kick. It also gives a huge kick to our productivity.
The last time we had such a large global meeting was back in April 2019. It’s obviously an investment, but one we totally believe in — especially after the last two years of the pandemic. Since the last meeting we’ve been very fortunate, compared to most agencies in our business. We’ve grown more than 40% in that time. We’re convinced our flexible working practices — remote working being part of that — are key in giving us a super robust business model that delivers far better than traditional agencies.
Many people and companies discovered remote working for the first time during the pandemic. Some struggled, not only to adjust to working through the cloud and using online tools, but also to the philosophy of working in such a way. Many companies feel a need to control and have sight of their people to feel confident in their ability to deliver.
It’s a very old fashioned view of work relationships and one driven by a lack of effective ways to assess productivity. Far too many companies are still stuck in the 19th century mentality of ‘clocking in’ for work, and having the boss stand over you to make sure you’re not slacking. Such working practices should totally be consigned to the past.
We created UP as The Global Cloud Based Agency — a truly disruptive business model and business system that gives us huge advantages over traditional agencies. We think the agency world needs a shake up and we’re here to help do that.
Shaking up traditional global agencies
What happens when you appoint a traditional global agency? Firstly they pitch you with the ‘A team’. They tell you about their global reach and their 30 offices around the world which they have access to. They show you some of their top level work.
However you also pretty quickly find out you are paying for the ‘A team’ but they have shuffled in their 'B or C team' to actually work on your account. You also find the global reach they promised is actually a lot of smoke and mirrors, as their biggest priority as an agency is meeting their own monthly targets and operating costs, in whichever profit center they are based.
So much for a global team and support. The other thing to look out for is how they really value your business. Unless you happen to be an 'A list' global consumer client, they probably won’t even bother putting your work on their website.
Too expensive, too slow, too inflexible. They are dinosaurs, and we all know what happened to the dinosaurs.
One of the advantages of our model, which we call e-ployment, is it reduces operating costs dramatically. Our Creative Hubs don’t need to be as big to accommodate large teams coming together everyday. We have an expression in UP; ‘Don’t waste time coming to the office unless you need to.’
Our value proposition is Expect More. Because of our lower cost base, we can offer our clients more support, more services, more reach and more value.
We’re now investing in new tools within UP such as the UP App, which enables all of our people to communicate better than ever before, being able to find and access team members all over the world. Our clients can also meet us in one of our global Creative Hubs, such as Stockholm, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Zurich, London, New York and more.
Having a single profit center also means we can work with truly global teams — picking just the right team member to work on a client account, wherever they are based in the world.
We’re proud of our entrepreneurial heritage and true spirit of being a collective of global talent.