“In 2020, we were forced to work remotely out of necessity, like so many other businesses. Once restrictions were lifted, we asked our team what they wanted and took the decision to embrace a predominantly remote working environment based on their feedback. We now have a hybrid business model; our team are able to work from anywhere and employees only need to come in for one day a month.”
Why Ashdown Group chose Wotter
“We introduced Wotter whilst our team was still fully remote. We wanted to get regular pulse checks and unfiltered feedback from our employees to stay in touch with everybody; this was especially important as we transitioned into long-term hybrid work.
It was important to find something simple to navigate; I’m a technophobe and I find Wotter easy to use!”
Working with Wotter
“When we started working with Wotter, we weren’t doing much in the way of wellbeing at all. After looking at the heatmap and noticing our wellbeing scores, we started really pushing this area.
We reduced our contracting hours down by 2 hours a week – that might not sound like much but it adds up to almost 100 hours a year for each employee, and those 30 minutes at the end of the day can really make a difference.
We also formed a Wellness Committee open for anybody in the company to take part in. Through it, we have put two of our team through a Mental Health First Aid qualifications so they can support their colleagues; they have delivered mental health awareness training internally. We’d try to get at least one monthly activity organised in the Wellness Committee each month; one lovely employee came up with the idea of taking a different group of people to our nearby Bushy Park each month to take pictures of it through the changing seasons for a 2024 calendar. It gives everybody a chance to mix with different people, get out into nature and do something creative. It’s been a really fun idea so far and we’re all excited to get our calendars next year!
Another thing Wotter’s really helped us with has been transitioning into hybrid working. Our goal with hybrid work has been to give our team as much flexibility as possible, so when we started asking employees to come in for one day of the month, we’d assign a week of ‘in-office’ work and let everybody come in for whichever day of the week they liked. We created a hybrid work action in Wotter to get feedback from the team about how they were finding it.
We soon found out from the feedback that there were quite a few hitches – nobody knew when other people were coming into the office, so one day a woman in our team came down all the way from Birmingham to our London office only to see a few colleagues. We were finding it hard to organise social events because nobody knew who would be in the office on whichever day.
All this feedback led us to creating a more structured approach, with each office day having a specific purpose and all teams together to share ideas and get to know each other. Things are already working way better and we’re getting great feedback.
We also got some notes from employees through Wotter about the type of socials we were holding; most of our socials were based around drinking or eating and that didn’t always suit everybody. People wanted to do some more activity-based socials, too. So now we’re doing lots more activities – we’ve done pottery painting, playdough making, quizzes, board games, darts, and we do rounders against another local company (last time the other company brought their teenage kids and absolutely ran rings around us.)
One of the biggest discoveries Wotter’s helped us to make was about how valued different members of our team feel. We’ve got a lot of longer-serving employees, who’ve been at Ashdown Group for 15-20 years, but we’ve also got a lot of newbies. We found out from Wotter, particularly in employee notes responding to the pulse questions, that our longer-serving employees weren’t feeling as valued as they once were, especially in comparison to our newer team members. This has been fed back to the leadership team and is something we are looking to find our more about.”
How Wotter’s helped Ashdown Group
“Since we’ve had Wotter, we’ve been able to work on areas of our business that we wouldn’t have known about otherwise. We’ve gone from having wellbeing scores that were low compared to the rest of the heatmap to all of our wellbeing feedback being about how supported our team feel!
People are always going to have complaints, but Wotter enables us to communicate with people when they do complain. Now, we can either change things or, if it’s something crucial to our business strategy and we can’t change it, we can at least respond to employees and explain the WHY behind it to give that understanding.
Wotter takes the confrontation element and the judgement element out of giving feedback – often people feel worried about being direct – which means we hear exactly what our team need to tell us.
Overall, we’ve made a lot of big changes that have been well-received by our employees and we’re excited to keep the momentum up. We’ve also won the Investors in People Best Newcomers Award since we started using Wotter.”