Background music is an essential part of any video. It helps set the tone of the video and makes it more engaging to listen to. It can emphasise the hilarity of a comedy sequence or increase the tension of a horror sequence. But you can sometimes find the right track or segment of a track for your video, only to find that it’s too short to cover the entire sequence.
You can attempt to increase the length by manually copying the track, but this can be a little hit or miss and often requires a lot of tweaking to get it sounding just right.
Instead of this you can use a little bit of machine learning from inside of premiere pro and get your track sorted in moments.
First, you want to drag your track into your sequence. Then go to the essential sound drop down on the right. If you don’t see this then head to the effects workspace from the top and you should see it waiting for you.
Click ‘Music’, tick the ‘Duration’ box and once the analysis is finished, type in your target duration. Premiere will then attempt to extend the duration of that clip to your desired length.
If it does something similar to the video where it repeats the same short part over and over, then click customise and reduce the number of segments. This will increase the part of the track repeated and generally get you a more natural-sounding track.
And that’s pretty much it, you can now drag the music into position, set your desired volume and your video now has a complete soundtrack!
Camera tracking can allow you to make very convincing visual effects even if you have a moving camera. Normally, you’d need to use tedious keyframing to keep track of your elements but with Camera Tracking, you can do it all automatically
To get started you of course need your footage and the visual effect you want to add to it. For this example, I’m going to use a bit of stock footage that I’ll add an explosion to
We start by dragging everything into our after effects project. Create a composition based on the settings of your footage.
I’m going to select the stock footage and on the right-hand side go to tracker and click track camera. This should take a little bit of time but once it’s done you’ll be most of the way there.
Under the 3D camera tracker drop down you’re going to change “render track points” to on. This lets you see all the points that are being tracked in the footage.
Now select an area on your preview window where you want to track something in. The red target will help you choose an area that’s facing the right way.
Once you have an area you’re happy with you’re going to right-click and create null and camera.
Now you drag in whatever your tracked object is, in this case, it’s my explosion.
I’m going to head under the transform menu and grab the pick whip from position and drag it to the position of the null object. You might need to resize or move it around, just make sure you use the scale and anchor point sliders so you don’t make a mess of the position.
This will ensure the tracked object will follow wherever that selected area wherever it moves in the footage and allow you to get easy peasy visual effects comping in minutes.
AI is becoming more prevalent in our everyday lives. From self-driving cars to smart speakers, AI is being integrated into almost every aspect of our daily lives. With the rise of artificial intelligence, businesses are using it to improve their customer service and marketing strategies. In fact, some companies are even using AI to write content.
By making use of this new technology you can have AI:
AI that writes content for you – no need to write anything yourself
Write articles and press releases for you
Create social media posts for you
Schedule tweets and Facebook updates for you
Research topics for you
Find relevant images for you
Provide answers to questions for you
Do all this at a fraction of the cost of human writers
This is not only useful for small business owners but also for bloggers who want to automate part of their work routine. You don’t need to hire people or pay them monthly salaries to help with your blog. There are many applications that do most of the work for you.
The best thing about these tools is that they are always learning from previous tasks. They get better over time. The more data you feed them, the smarter they become. So if you want to make sure that your content is up to date, then you should keep feeding it with fresh information.
Aside from saving time and money, using AI for content writing also helps you save on writer’s block. When you’re stuck on what to write next, just ask an AI tool to generate ideas for you.
Here are 3 AI tools that will help you create great content faster than ever before:
CoSchedule has been around since 2009 and was one of the first platforms to offer AI-powered content creation. It uses machine learning algorithms to analyze your website traffic and find out which types of content perform well. Based on this analysis, it generates content recommendations for you.
You can choose between two different plans: Basic ($99/mo) and Premium ($199/mo). Both include unlimited submissions, scheduled publishing, and analytics. However, the premium plan includes additional features such as access to advanced reporting, custom domains, and mobile apps.
BuzzSumo is another platform that uses AI to provide insights on trending topics. It analyzes millions of pieces of content and finds patterns in terms of popularity, influencers, and competitors.
BuzzSumo provides three different plans: Free, Pro ($29/mo), and Enterprise (starting at $299/mo). All plans allow you to track keywords, monitor competitor rankings, and see how often users share your content. However, the enterprise plan comes with additional features like real-time alerts, competitive intelligence reports, and API integration.
frase.io is a web application that allows you to quickly create and publish content. It offers both free and paid versions. While the free version limits you to 500 words per post, the paid version gives you an unlimited word count.
The app works by analyzing the text you type and suggests related phrases based on its database of over 50 million phrases. It also lets you add multimedia files and links to support your points.
Frequently Asked Questions about AI content writing:
Q: How does AI content writing work?
A: AI programs are able to read through thousands of pages of text and find patterns within those texts. By analyzing these patterns, they come up with suggestions and recommendations for future content.
Q: What kind of content can I create with AI?
A: You can use AI to write any type of content including blog posts, product descriptions, sales letters, press releases, web copy, etc.
Q: Is there any limit to the number of words I can include when creating content with AI?
A: No! As long as the source material has enough words, you will be fine. However, the quality of the output may suffer if the source material is too short.
Q: Can I use AI to write my whole website?
A: No. It is impossible to use AI to write everything on a website. Even though you might think that you could train an AI program to write your entire site, it would take years before the program became good enough to produce high-quality content for every single page.
Q: Does AI content writing require special skills?
A: Not really. Anyone can use AI to write content.
If you still aren’t sure about AI written content and if it can pass as human written, just take a look at this blog and guess what wrote it.
Video editing can be one of the most time-consuming tasks in all content creation. This can scare a lot of people from committing to video content but with a few simple tricks, you can make it a lot easier, quicker and cheaper.
Using Premiere Pro Presets
Greenscreen any footage with Machine Learning
Automatically remove silence in clips
Find customisable templates
Using Premiere Pro Presets
If you find yourself adding the same effects to footage over and over again, setting up presets can save you a lot of time. They allow you to combine multiple effects into one simple drag and drop allowing you to immediately as many effects as you want in a single click.
To begin find a piece of footage that has all your desired effects and ctrl+click all the effects in the effects controls panel.
Right-click and select save preset. Give it a name and hit ok.
Next time you want to use the same effects, go to the Effects panel, find your preset and drag it onto your footage. You can still tweak the individual effects and their settings once you’re dragged onto a piece of footage but those initial settings will save you a bunch of time.
This one is ridiculously simple and can save you minutes every time you want to use those effects which can quickly add up to hours throughout your career. Just be sure to give your presets useful names otherwise it can get a little confusing once you have a few.
Greenscreen any footage with Machine Learning
This sounds complicated but I promise you it’s actually straightforward!
First, you need a piece of footage. For the sake of this tutorial, I’m going to use this footage of Sam our MD dancing on a company night out.
Next, you need to open a browser and head to runwayml.com.
You will need to sign up to an account to use but it’s free to export to 720p and they hardly ever send emails.
Now you simply upload your footage and drag it onto the timeline. You can do any trimming to get the exact clip you want to cut out.
Then under the magic tools, select greenscreen.
Now you simply click on the subject you want to cut out, in this case, that’s Sam. You keep adding points to include and exclude until it’s a perfect mask. Then play the clip and any find any points where the mask goes wrong, simply pause it and add more points.
Do this until the end of your clip and when you’re happy click go-to project.
Now he’s cut out you can put whatever you want behind him right in the web editor.
If you want to download the clip to use in your editing program or are happy with your creation, then click export, give it a name and select the quality you want. It’ll take a little time depending on the size of the sequence but once it’s done you can download it and edit it like any other piece of footage.
Automatically remove silence in clips
When recording anything you’re going to stumble every now and then, especially when you’re just getting started. Removing all those stumbles and gaps of awkward silence is the first task you have to do when editing and its time consuming (as well as a bit demoralising sometimes).
You can speed this up by automatically removing silences using Adobe Audition.
You want to start by dragging your clip into premiere. Look at all those gaps of silence. Manually removing all that would take a lot of time just to get to the actual edit.
Drag your clip into the timeline and select edit in Adobe Audition. This sometimes fails so if it does create a new sequence from the clip and then go to edit sequence in Audition.
Now we’re in you want to double click on your audio channel and find the diagnostic tab. If you don’t have I already go to window and add it to your workspace.
Select Mark Audio from the drop-down menu, then click Find Levels then Scan once it’s done.
Below you should now see a list of markers and you can scroll through these to check they have successfully removed the silence. If it hasn’t then tweak the silence and audio settings.
Once you’re happy you want to Mark all markers and head to the markers tab.
Select all markers using CTRL + A and right-click and select change marker types to Sub clip.
File and save as an audio file. Sadly you can directly save as a video file.
Now to get this to work as a video we need to add an empty video track to this so we’re going to open up media encoder and drag in the audio file we just saved.
We’re going to render it out as a QuickTime since they are fast to render but it doesn’t matter.
Now you need to match the resolution and frame rate to your source clip and render it out.
Drag this new file into premiere. It’s going to appear as a bunch of clips but don’t worry and right click and make offline
Then you want to link media to all these now offline clips and select your original clip.
Once this is done you simply drag into the sub-clips and add them to your sequence and all the silence should be removed. You’ll still need to remove your stumbles but it’ll be a lot faster than scrubbing through all the silence
You can also easily extend any clips where audio has been cut off to get the timing just right.
Use customisable Templates
Creating complex graphics in premiere can be a challenge especially if you don’t have a lot of experience. Even once you do it also ends up being a very time-consuming task so if you’re on a deadline it’s just not possible…that is unless you use templates.
Using sites like Envato Elements you can find many templates for everything from titles to transitions to fully animated intro sequences. Now Envato Elements does require a £14.50 subscription to use but they do have a free 7-day trial so you can give it a try before you buy and maybe just download as many as possible since once you’ve downloaded them you’re free to use them at your leisure but you didn’t hear that from us 😉
Now, these templates can come in one of 2 forms:
Each has its advantages and disadvantages but to keep it simple we’ll explain it like this.
MOGRTs are templates that can be found in the essential graphics panel and customised from within Premiere Pro. They are essentially linked After Effects compositions so will run extremely slowly unless you render and replace them once you are happy with the settings.
The Full Projects are normally much more customizable as you can tweak every single aspect and element. This means you can get exactly what you are looking for but you’ll need to do a bit more of the heavy lifting yourself. If you’re going this route, you should probably look into the After Effects template as they can be found for the same effects, but After Effects is more built for that kind of work.
Whichever you pick, once you’re happy with whatever you’ve created, I recommend rendering them out into a format you can easily reuse should you need to. For example, make that title sequence into an MP4 so you can drag it into any video you need.
A lot of people think you either have to build a page for a person or a search engine but…
There are two main areas that you want to focus on to ensure your page fits both of these criteria:
There is a myth that pages with higher word counts rank higher and, quite like the myths of the Minotaur, this is not entirely the truth.
Looking at the average word count of a Google top 10 result it comes out to around 1447 words per top-ranking page but correlation does not equal causation so let’s make like a 1972 Lancia Beta and break down why this is actually happening.
First thing’s first, the quality vs quantity question must be answered. Yes, these top ranking pages may have 1447 words but it’s not the fact there are this many words that causes them to be high ranking, it’s what exactly those words are. If you have 1447 words that are totally useless to the reader but are appealing to a search engine, you may score well on your keywords but the backlinks and engagement won’t even register and so your page will not rank very well.
However, if you write a page of equal length that provides a lot of value to the reader and also contains plenty of keywords to please a search engine, you’re going to rank higher because of a very specific chain of events.
Let’s say our page is full of content that readers absolutely love and find incredibly useful. This increases the chance that the page will receive a backlink and, as those SEO-ists among you may know, this will improve your ranking as Google loves backlinks. So using the equation below you can increase your rankings not by using a lot of words, but using the right words.
Another incredibly important aspect to ensure you rank highly is ensuring the structure of your page is optimal for a search engine and a user. It’s all well and good having an article that is expertly written to be engaging and interesting to read but if your page is laid out terribly, nobody is going to read it.
Using this layout will ensure your page is easy to read for both a person and a search engine meaning you have the highest possible chance of getting a high ranking (If you look at this page you may, hopefully, see some similarities between it and the structure we’ve outlined above).
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How long should a blog post be for SEO?
A: It is the quality of the content, not the quantity of words that matter!
Q: How to write a good blog post for SEO?
A: Write blog posts for people, not search engines. The engagement you get will push you higher than any keyword ever will.
Q: Are images good for SEO?
A: Both directly and indirectly. Directly as long as you add alt text. Indirectly as it will make your pages easier to read and more likely to receive backlinks.
So if you’re looking to get your pages ranking as high as possible then bear in mind these three things:
Create content that provides a lot of value
Include keywords in a way that does not detract from the content
Lay your pages out in a simple and attractive way
If you want some great examples to base your pages on then take a look at one of these four articles:
For a business that prides itself on serving the local community, the location of the premises, and more importantly, customers knowing where you are based is what you rely on most for sales.
Studies have shown how consumers’ habits have changed, accelerated in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with more of a focus on shopping locally to support smaller businesses.
To inform their decision on where to shop, most people turn to Google to find out where to go. But what if your business isn’t appearing when the search is made?
To capitalise on this shift in shopping trends, local businesses can use their Shopify e-commerce stores to create local search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies that will push your business up the rankings on Google.
When Google identifies a website, it uses an algorithm to determine what searches it should appear under. When someone performs a local search, Google considers three main components: relevance, prominence and proximity.
These three key components will cover all the bases for the consumer. This will mean that the search results are appropriate, the business has Google’s unofficial seal of approval and can be easily discovered, standing out to the searcher.
But what are the steps that you have to take to put your business in these high-flying positions in a local search? Below are a few tips that are quick and easy to implement that will set you and your business on the way to local hero status.
1. Optimise the website.
Although the whole process of optimising a website can be a complex and time consuming one, the wide range of tasks means that there are plenty of basics that are quick and easy victories that will provide instant improvements.
Below are some tips and actions that you can do that will help optimise the site:
Update your on-page SEO.
Google recognises the structure of a website, and by conforming to what it understands will help build the prominence and authenticity of your website. For this, you have to complete some keyword research – something that will be touched on a little later on in this article.
By making sure that everything from your website header to title and meta descriptions are populated in a consistent style, with the targeted keywords, will reinforce the site.
Add name, address and phone number (NAP) to the HTML of the website.
This simple yet effective step will help hugely with your local SEO. By having consistent information across the HTML of a website, as well as on your find us page, social media channels, Google listings and any other directories.
Build relationships for local backlinks.
A huge part of optimising your website for search engines involves help from third parties. By building good relationships with local bloggers, journalists – and even other businesses – you could explore the option of building backlinks by pitching any content or interesting stories that you have. Every time a website shares a link to your website, this provides reinforcement that is recognised, further improving your status.
Create local news
Tying in with building backlinks, this is essentially arming yourself for a pitch for the local bloggers and journalists that you feel worthy of telling the local community about. To get an idea of what sort of stories will work in your area, get to know what sort of things the local journalists like. By understanding what individual people like you can tailor your pitch accordingly for them.
2. Do the relevant keyword research
When trying to rank higher on Google, one thing to remember is that you are not trying to be unique in your strategy. Look at your local competitors who are leading the way and identify what they are doing.
A good place to start is to do a search as if you are trying to find your website. Once you have done this, find websites that were in the top results and study their web pages. Identify their URL structure, titles and meta-descriptions.
There are a variety of free and paid search tools available that will give you even more insights and data on keywords.
One of the best ways of understanding what ranks best with Google is by just starting to type keywords and phrases into the search bar and noting what suggested searches are coming up.
Another important thing to remember when strategising your keyword targets, is to understand who you simply can’t compete with. Larger organisations will always have the advantage to outrank you. This means that the keywords with medium to low competition are easier to rank on.
3. Get listed on Google
This is something that all new businesses should look to do almost immediately after its formation.
Using the Google My Business application, this free service is straightforward and easy to populate, allowing you to create a listing to your company that has a link to your website, the opening hours, your location on a map and other extras.
Having this listing set up will further authenticate your online presence, by actually having a pin on the map. The resulting listing will also give the customer all the information that they need at a glance, improving their trust in you.
And furthermore, there is a wide range of other directories and websites where you can list your local business that will benefit in different ways, providing backlinks as well as having your information listed on other websites. The more you get your name out there, the more likely it is that someone is going to find your details.
Everyone has experienced reading reviews and knows what their benefits are. And this is backed up by data from studies.
It found that as many as 57% of people use Google primarily to find other people’s experiences and reviews of a particular business. As the reviews can be posted by anyone through an open forum, this also improves the trust customers have towards them – much more so than if it was a business telling them how great they are.
The main problem is getting people to actually leave reviews. The best way of getting people to leave a review is to actively encourage them to. This can be done in a variety of different ways; by email, on social media or even in person.
Should you start with this strategy and struggle, you could even try and incentivize it. Could you include an offer for customers who leave a review? Are there any other exclusive products or services that you could give people priority access to?
The benefits of having good reviews on the surface are clear to see, but they can also have a positive effect on your SEO rankings.
Good reviews are recognised by Google, as it uses them as a signal as to what people think of your business. Additionally, having these positive reviews that are easy to see on Google can increase your click-through rate, build social and local engagement and improve your rankings for the targeted keywords that you have already researched.
5. Social Media Check-Ins
Although a smaller cog in the wheel, this job could be seen as a longer-term project. But by having your location set up within the accounts, will make your outreach in the local area extremely wide.
Every time that someone checks in to the location of your business, it reinforces the link between company and address. The more check-ins you have, the more authentic you become and pushes your business ratings on Google up.
Similar to leaving reviews, you are probably going to have to ask people to check-in rather than relying on them to do it without prompting.
Depending on your business, some may face a challenge to get a check-in, as it is down to customer in-store experience. However, there can be ways to incentivise this.
One way would be to offer promotional offers and products. You could even offer to donate money to charity every time a milestone number of people check-in.
All of the above fundamental tips are quick and easy to implement, but the main thing to be aware of with any SEO strategy is to constantly monitor your results.
Things may take a little bit of time before you see an impact of your changes. There are naturally going to be short and long term ‘wins’.
By actively staying on your toes and keeping an eye on local competitors will give you the sought after visibility on Google.
So we’ve successfully commissioned and completed our brand project and we’ve got a shiny new brand identity sitting on the tarmac ready to take off.
What happens next will determine whether all the blood, sweat, and tears at the design stage will actually pay dividends or not.
The last thing that anyone wants is to have an amazing brand that is either applied inconsistently or hidden in a cupboard. This stage of the brand process is commonly called the Roll-out and is probably the most important stage in the process.
To help smooth the path of the Roll-out, welcome to your new best friend – the Brand Manual.
What is a Brand Manual?
The Brand Manual is the handbook that should be supplied when every new brand is taken out of its cardboard box. Look on it as an instruction booklet which explains the thinking behind the design of the new brand, the technical specifications of the design, and appropriate guidance as to how the brand should be applied to all the collateral that a company uses on which their brand appears.
So let’s take them one at a time. A new brand should speak for itself in terms of its ability to communicate an idea or theme. However, the Brand manual will probably show the old brand and give a brief synopsis as to the thinking behind the redesign. It’s also an opportunity to explain the less obvious elements that aren’t immediately obvious to the casual viewer.
A Great Example
One of the best examples is the FedEx logo and the directional arrow in the negative space between the e and x. Believe it or not a large percentage of people just don’t see it.
Next comes, the “tech spec”. Designers are a pretty precious bunch when it comes to their creations and rightly so. Consequently, they want to make absolutely sure that the brand is faithfully reproduced when a third party, which could include suppliers of printing, signage, vehicle livery, promotional goods and a host of others get hold of it.
Advice on the appropriate resolution of image, colour specifications, safe areas and formats, should be provided to ensure that when reproduced, the design looks exactly the same as it did when it was first presented to the client.
Finally, the manual will also show examples of how the brand applies to a representative range of items that the company plans to produce. This will differ in each instance but typically the brand will be shown on stationery, signage, vehicle livery and clothing. It will also give the designer the opportunity to recommend size, positioning, background colours and additional design elements.
Many Brand Manuals don’t stop there. It’s not uncommon, especially in larger companies, for the Brand Manual to extend to other aspects not directly related to the logo itself such as style of communication, tone of voice, imagery etc. However, unless you’re Google or Amazon it’s probably best to keep it succinct.
Show the world
So we’re now armed with our Brand Manual and are prepared to inflict bodily harm on anyone who doesn’t follow its guidance to the letter. How and when do we share it with the world?
There are two schools of thought – the “Hard Launch” or the “Soft Launch”.
Going hard means that a date is set for the launch and thereafter the old brand is completely replaced with the new version. Stocks of anything with the old brand on it are disposed of and new stock is ready to go on the date of the launch. It’s “out with the old and in with the new” in one fell swoop.
This approach can prove to be quite expensive and possibly environmentally unfriendly if, for example, large stocks of brochures, stationery and other printed material need to be disposed of. The advantage is that clarity, decisiveness and a feeling of positivity can be strategically used to influence how staff feel about the new brand and the company in general. Everyone likes to work for a company that is dynamic and single-minded in its vision.
The soft launch takes the foot off the throttle. A date can be set for the brand launch but the new identity is introduced much more gradually. So when stocks of printed material run out they are replaced with new branding. When finances allow, new signage is applied and vehicle livery changed. Inevitably there will be a changeover period where the old brand may coexist with the new until it is eventually replaced.
The downside to this approach is that it may portray the company as indecisive, conservative, and a bit less dynamic. There are really no rights or wrongs and much will depend on how determined the owners or managers are to implement the new brand and whether finances are available to speed the change.
Finally, it’s always a good idea to keep your staff onside with what’s happening. Getting their “buy-in “ can often determine the successful roll-out of the brand. Including them in research sessions at the design stage, asking opinions, and explaining in detail the logic behind the process will all help to make them feel invested in the new brand. When staff feel proud and enthused about the image of their company that positivity will be apparent to customers.
A successful Brand Identity design and Roll-out project should result in a company feeling better about itself, looking better to its customers, and poised to capitalise on these feelings of progressiveness, dynamism and aspiration in its marketplace.
Coact is a great reporting tool but does need some finesse to use well. We’ve put together seven top tips to help you get started creating easy to understand reports.
Automatically updating reports
One great thing about Coact reports is the fact that, since they are connected directly to data sources, they constantly update as new data comes in. This means that your reports no longer need to be presented as static data. This prevent
s you having to build them every month and can instead send an online link that constantly updates with new information allowing you to pretty much set it and forget it.
Different ways to display data
Data in Coact can be presented in four different ways that each fit specific purposes:
Simple numbers showing an increase or decrease compared to the previous date range.
Tables that show the value of different metrics.
Graphs that visually display data over time.
Pie charts that display the breakdown of different shares of a data set
Knowing when to use each of these methods can make your reports a lot easier to understand and also a lot more impactful.
PDF Page Breaks
This one isn’t as obvious but it’s still incredibly important. When exporting reports to PDFs from Coact you have to make sure your page breaks are in the correct place and aren’t ruining your layout. You can tell where the PDF page break is going to be by a small arrow on the left hand side of the page.
Along the top of your reports you can see the tabs menu. Using this allows you to separate different sections of your data into totally different pages. This is useful if you want to make your reports more organised and easier to read, since all data of one kind can be found in the same place.
We use this to separate traffic and SEO data into their own tabs which means everyone can find what they are looking for.
Don’t get too technical
As the one making the report, chances are you have a decent knowledge of what each and every metric means. However it’s likely the client you’re sending the report to doesn’t have this same level of knowledge so you need to be careful not to get too technical.
One good thing to include to keep things simple are a lot of visual graphs. Everyone understands graphs going upwards – generally – means growth and increases over time so including a lot of these will go a long way towards making your reports nice and easy to understand.
Another great thing to do is add a text box underneath all of your data to explain what it means. This works better on PDF exports since your explanation will match the data at the time you write it and may not make as much sense in a month once more data comes through.
Sometimes SEO and technical data can be a bit tricky to understand so adding both of these will make your reports much easier to read and understand for a client who may not be as well versed as you are.
Remove useless or irrelevant information
A lot of tables you pull from your data sources come with far too many metrics which can make them very difficult to read and require a lot of scrolling. For some people, the more data the better and for others it’s important to get to the point as quickly as possible with excess data just not relevant. Removing a lot of these pieces of data will focus your reports and make them much easier to understand.
7. Scale your blocks appropriately
In Coact you can change the size of every block you drop into your reports meaning every single piece of content is completely customisable. While it’s always good to fill the page and be large enough to read, it’s important not to make them too large so they look spread out.
If your table only has a couple of columns then keep the size small to avoid this. If you have columns that fill the whole page then by all means stretch them the whole way out.
With these tips you’ll be able to create better reports that are easier to understand and also easier to create. Coact is a great tool we’ve been enjoying and we think that more people should be making use of it in the industry.
Here at Brand Ambition we are very lucky to be able to employ a flexible working arrangement and we thought we’d tell you why we do it and how it benefits us both as a business and employees.
Now the exact arrangements of flexible working differ per business but, for us, we make it simple. We each work 37.5 hours per week, normally spread out between 5 days and we all work the core business hours of 10AM while 3PM. When we start and finish work each day is down to each team member and this allows us to take control and work when it best suits our lives and daily routines. Since we also work both from home and in the office, we can make use of this in both scenarios.
We also factor this in when planning internal meetings. Since we work on a sprint based system, we meet every morning to discuss what each of us are doing that day. This normally takes place at 9:30 but can always be pushed back if some members cannot attend. For example, the recent Euros had some team members tired the next day from all the ‘excitement’.
On the following days the sprint meetings were pushed back an hour to allow team members to recover and continue to work without the hindrance of ‘excitement’ hanging over them.
Our five team members have given a little insight of what flexibility means to them and how exactly they make use of it.
I’ve utilised the flexibility in the past to give lifts to family members for doctors appointments or to work when they are unable to walk or drive themselves. This has allowed me and my family to have a lot less worry and stress regarding how to get places if it is in the middle of a work day.
I also enjoy starting earlier in the day especially when in the office as it means I get more time after work to myself which is so important for avoiding burnout, but it also allows me to catch an earlier train and avoid the major rush hour and the crowds that come with it which is even more important to me in the current Covid world.
As a business owner, you naturally work weird hours. I’m always thinking about the business and sometimes that is followed by a burst of inspiration outside of normal operating hours. But it’s the not having to feel guilty when I exchange that time for a longer lunch one day that I love about it.
I find that I’m most productive early in the morning from around 8am and in the afternoon around 3pm onwards, so flexible working in my normal day, gives me the opportunity to do my best work at my peak times. Outside of that, I’m able to spend time with my family and not feel guilty about it.
It’s the little things, like not worrying about going to the dentist, or having the odd morning off to take my son for a haircut or even getting the time back that is worked over the weekend.
Some mornings I wake up and think that there’s really no point in carrying on. Flexible working means that I can postpone the soul crushing inevitability of another dark day for a couple of hours until the Prozac kicks in.
On a brighter note, I also like to get to the supermarket first thing, usually on a Monday or Tuesday, for the weekly shop. Getting in and out early means I can avoid the crowds and there are fewer of the “wear your mask over your mouth and not your nose” brigade.
It also means that I get first dibs on the yellow labels in the end of aisle reduced price items. Let’s face it who can say no to a Tesco prawn sandwich that’s just a day past its sell-by for only 89p? Or a big piece of Wensleydale with jalapeño peppers. It tastes like boke but for only 28p it’s worth forcing it down.
I usually get back to the grind about 10.30 well before lunch time so I can get a few productive hours in before enjoying my mouldy sandwich. It’s also good to know that I can stop an hour early and make it up the next day on the odd occasion that I come down with salmonella.
Before joining Brand Ambition, flexible working was something I’d only really seen others do in practice – mainly colleagues of mine that are parents having days working at home, finishing early or coming in late based around childcare.
It’s not something that I’d ever really considered, but it’s been so helpful. I try to get to the gym a few times a week after work so having that flexibility to start early and finish early to beat the post-work rush is great, it means I can work out in relative peace and quiet!
Away from exercise, the ability to work around a schedule, especially close to a weekend means a lot. Recently, I’d not seen my parents in a while and they came up to stay one weekend so finishing early and making the time up the next week meant I could get quality time in with them. It shows a real element of trust from the business that we’ll get on with the work and do what we need to do.
Working with flexible hours is something that I am really grateful and appreciative of at Brand Ambition. I have made use of this a few times already!
Most weeks I play football, and in the summer I have cricket nets, so having the option to start a little bit earlier and shift the time I finish is really helpful when I have to travel somewhere. I was also able to give my friend a lift to pick up a new car last week from Bradford, which I wouldn’t have been able to do if there was a rigid day structure.
During the Euros, flexible working was extremely useful, especially after England had a late-night victory on a Wednesday night where I made use of an extra hour in the morning before getting to my desk!
While the company is only receiving the same number of hours from employees using flexitime as it would using a more standard daily schedule, the quality of those working hours is much increased. Allowing employees to start when they like allows them to begin working when they are ready to work free from distraction or other responsibilities.
There are many times in life when something has to take priority over work and you have no choice but to take a morning or afternoon off to deal with it. This can be anything from taking children to school in the morning to leaving a little early in the afternoon to leave for a holiday. Flexitime allows us to complete these tasks and work when we are free from other responsibilities.
We believe that this creates a relationship between employees and the business where there is mutual respect. Each employee respects the business to put in at least the required hours, if not more and the business respects that employees have lives outside of work and that sometimes we can’t all adhere to a rigid schedule.
As well as this there are several studies that suggest flexitime increases employee retention, productivity and engagement. All of these things are surefire ways to save money and increase your income which is a win for everyone.