|19th June 2020
Photo by Tobias Bjørkli from Pexels
“Twas the week before Christmas, when my contract got canned,
I was left feeling confused, the boss had said we were slammed!?
Then by some yuletide miracle, BLH reached out with a plea,
They needed a consultant, and I could work from my settee”
So, I’m not a skilled poet, but I trust my gut (he’s called Gary by the way) to tell me when something sounds good and Gary told me that I’d like working at Blue Latitude Health (BLH) before I’d even walked through the door.
As the poem so beautifully articulates (feel free to snort in derision), an existing contract had come to an end rather abruptly, which left me feeling a little lost. I’d established some good relationships, delivered interesting projects and I was working 50:50 (office to home) after recently ‘moving West’. Gary and I were lucky to be able to do this, but we were nervous about being able to strike up a similar deal anywhere else.
Now, living 108.7miles (give or take a few yards) from the BLH London offices brought with it a high level of apprehensiveness. I was unsure about bringing flexible working up; however, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about contracting, it’s to be transparent about your situation and to trust in Gary.
I was honest and said I could realistically work two or three days in the office, but the rest of my week would need to be working from home where I could also be flexible, dependent on client meetings/travel etc. After a few messages and a phone call with the talent team, I knew BLH was an accommodating, pragmatic and forward-thinking creative consultancy that I could thrive at.
From those talent team conversations, right through to signing the contract and working with different project teams during my time at BLH, no one was phased by my location and they were all keen for me to sign on the line. In fact, the initial project team I was assigned to wanted to kick off a contract after I only met one of the usual three people involved in the interview process. For me, this demonstrated a high level of trust between individuals within the agency at any level and across functions which were very appealing.
In the space of a week, I went from having no work and panicking about money/my living-working scenario, to have a contract with (from what I could tell at the time) a warm, welcoming and diverse creative consultancy that matched my personality and career aspirations. We even managed an overlap with my existing commitment to ensure I hit the ground running and could support the project team quickly when we kicked off in January 2019.
From day one at BLH, the balance between technology, (e.g. Slack and cloud servers), processes (e.g. sensible communication streams, meeting dynamics) and people (open, transparent and trusting) allowed me to easily integrate into the agency ‘from a distance’ and work with project teams to deliver great work.
When it came to the day-to-day, I was also incredibly impressed by the team’s flexibility with working how I liked to work. Dolan (Senior Account Director) and Kosha (Account Director) were open and willing to try new things (e.g. multi-disciplinary brainstorms) and the size of the account meant they shouldered a little more of the project manager work that consultants normally do at BLH, as PMing is not my forte.
In the first few weeks of February, I was also fortunate enough to catch up with Martin (the Managing Director) over some lunch (Gary was pleased) and we talked about his attitude towards hiring. It was incredibly refreshing as he talked about getting the skills in the building whatever the cost, from flexible working to reduced days or working around childcare etc – the list went on.
“I’d rather have talented people in the business on 3 or 4 days, than miss out on the experience, drive and diversity they could bring.” - Martin Brass, Managing Director of BLH
Fred (Chairman, Co-Founder and Head of Strategy) had a similar attitude to Martin, and again, it was extremely uplifting to see that senior leaders were exclusively interested in delivering good work without compromising an individual’s personal and professional lives. This became particularly apparent when we caught up after the birth of my first child earlier this year.
“Dan, you’ve just had a baby so for the next 3 months please prioritise your own sanity and don’t take on too much. We’d rather have you firing on all cylinders down the line rather than putting pressure on you to deliver in the short term.” - Fred Bassett, Chairman and Co-Founder of BLH
Without putting words in their mouths, they believe that happy people do great work and throughout the agency, there are shining examples of this ethos. The social club is incredibly inclusive, celebrating almost any cultural holiday and festival you can think of, often putting on great foodie spreads (Gary approved of course) with contributions from everyone who works there. The open-plan office makes it easy for those ‘water-cooler’ chats and almost everyone at BLH is happy to bounce ideas around (from interns to the Senior Leadership Team [SLT]) or talk through any project challenges they are facing to get a different perspective.
One minute you’ll find your scribbling on walls to figure out a brand’s strategy and the next you’ll be getting schooled on the Customer Experience capabilities of the agency. One afternoon you’ll be knee-deep in slides for a pitch and the next morning you’ll be using data to generate a new way of looking at an ‘age-old’ problem. All the while listening to your colleagues chat in Greek, Spanish, English and other languages, which I still haven’t placed.
BLH is an exciting workplace, with diverse people, cultures, languages, challenges and projects. The SLT are committed to their employees and think of you as family.
They really care for your emotional wellbeing, as well as nurturing your professional development. BLH is a rare mix of capabilities and a welcoming bunch of characters who are flexible, driven and keen to do ‘work that works.’
Gary and I would work there again in a heartbeat.
"I sprang to my keyboard, to write this short piece,
And down the words went, they almost won’t cease.
But I heard myself say, at the behest of my wife,
"Happy hunting to all, and to all a safe-life!"
If you are interested in joining the Blue Latitude Health Family, check out our 'Join Us' page to see our current availabilities
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