Thought Leadership

What changes to your working life will help you thrive in 2020?

From better using technology to streamline and support, or allowing for more flexible ways of working, 2020 looks set to be a year of significant change. Let’s make sure that change is for the better.

Izzy Ashton

Deputy Editor, BITE


The start of a new year, or a new decade in our case, offers the possibility of growth and learning, of reflecting on the year past and laying down the foundations for how you want the next 12 months to look. There can be no doubt that looming global issues have permeated into every facet of our life in 2019, from the climate crisis to socio-economic imbalances and the importance of accurate representation across culture.

What’s become more apparent is the need for each and every individual within the creative communications industry to accept their role in facing and tackling these challenges. Whether that’s interrogating each brief on how the client is addressing diversity or its impact on the environment; protecting how you spend your time and what you pay attention to; or prioritising and addressing your mental health.

We know that one in four of us in the UK will experience struggles with our mental health. So, there’s never been a better time for businesses to create environments in which people can thrive, not simply survive at work.

We spoke to a selection of industry leaders to find out what changes they’ll be making to their working life to enable themselves, and their workforce, to thrive. From better using technology to streamline and support, or allowing for more flexible ways of working, 2020 looks set to be a year of significant change. Let’s make sure that change is for the better.

2020 is all about using tech to support our people and streamline repetitive tasks.

Lucy Peacock

Lucy Peacock

Lucy Peacock, Manifest.jpg

Happiness Officer

Manifest London

My approach for 2020 is actually to do less!

Working smarter will definitely be a theme for the New Year. Nobody wants to spend time on mundane paperwork or on HR and recruitment processes so I will be working closely with our CTO to develop innovative AI tools to shake up, streamline and improve the way things are currently done.

We're focused on building tools designed to reduce time spent on reporting plus creating software that will enable us to predict the success of news stories via insights which will be a game-changer! 2020 is all about using tech to support our people and streamline repetitive tasks.

Personally, I will be experimenting with a four-day week in Q1. There has been a lot of research and fuss around the concept in the past year, so how better to see if it really works as well as Sweden claims, than to try it for myself?

Mental health is a continuing conversation and we know that leaving work at work is beneficial, so why are we all so bad at it? I will continue to focus on drawing a line under each day, going home and enjoying my free time.

As an agency, we’re expanding our training budget and moving away from traditional learning techniques to build more meaningful experiences for our team. We want our employees to be able to give their best and dream big, so we have introduced a new initiative called the ‘Bucket List’, a grant designed to let the team do just that.

Annabel McCaffrey

Annabel, NABS.jpg

Head of Support


At NABS, our mission is to help our industry to thrive. Even making small changes to your working life can improve your wellbeing. At our workplace wellbeing conference WellFest, held in November 2019, leaders across wellbeing and adland suggested some practical changes. We’ve combined these with some of our own guidance to give you a few ideas to help you thrive in the year ahead.

Find your “sharing tribe”, people at work, and at home, who, in the words of Will Young at WellFest, will validate your feelings. Equally, don’t try to ‘fix’ someone when they share their wellbeing challenges with you. Put solutions to one side. Simply listening can be the greatest help of all and this was a key WellFest takeaway.

Get to know your values and how you work best. Communicating these values to your colleagues will help you to set clear boundaries. Start asking open questions. That will enable you to connect better with those around you, which in turn improves wellbeing, brain chemistry and clarity.

Encourage your team to ask each other, “How can I support you?” It’s a great question to enhance wellbeing. Leave work on time, which will encourage your team to do the same. Make the most of NABS. We provide free coaching, Masterclasses, evening Talks and an Advice Line. Browse our site to see how we can help you to thrive this year.

The big shift I’ll be making in 2020 is how I manage my attention.

Chris Buckley

Chris Buckley

Chris Buckley, RAPP.jpg

SVP Business Development & Marketing


I’ve always been good at juggling. Keeping multiple balls in the air. But the big shift I’ll be making in 2020 is how I manage my attention.

We’ve rolled out a new flexible working policy. Not a ‘come in late once a week thing’ but a comprehensive review of our working practices. From agile workspaces and quiet zones, through to “me and us days” where everyone gets to take one day out for themselves, to recharge and rebuild resilience, and one day to give to others.

The result is I get to manage my attention, not just my time. Controlling distractions. Remaining mindful of what I’m doing at that moment. Keeping something in the tank for home as well as work.

As Thomas Edison said, the object of all work is production and accomplishment; seeming to do is not doing. Our new set up at RAPP gives me the opportunity to do what works for me as an individual with more forethought and focus.

Lydia Hoye

Lydia Hoye, Kazoo.jpg

Managing Partner

Kazoo Communications

As working and personal life is so intrinsically linked, I’ve realised that it’s the stuff that you do out of work that helps you tackle the working week with perspective and a positive attitude. For me this means three things; getting good quality sleep and going to bed at the same time each night to ensure I’m refreshed; getting outside in natural light as much as possible as during the week I’m mostly indoors. During the week I get off the tube a stop earlier to ensure I get more light walking into work; and making sure I have some proper quality time with the children and am not just ‘doing stuff’. So, when I’m late home from work for bedtime I can keep a positive perspective and not feel guilty that I’ve not had meaningful time to share their day.

It sounds simple but I’m listening more, which has its challenges when you are used to thinking fast and having an answer. But I’m consciously being more attentive to staff, listening better to clients and ensuring I’m paying attention to a given situation to gain perspective. I think this allows for so much more good stuff to rise up. Whether that’s allowing a member of the team to develop their creative thought process in a more supportive way, or having a deeper understanding of what exactly a client needs to achieve personally and professionally; above and beyond the comms brief, I’m all ears!

In 2020, I will be interrogating every brief as to its impact on future generations...We need to take responsibility for our influence.

Bella Towse

Bella Towse

Bella Towse, Bulletproof.jpg

Senior Creative Strategist


Climate damage couldn’t be ignored this year. From the small but mighty Greta Thunberg to the activities of Extinction Rebellion, climate action has literally been on Bulletproof’s doorstep. But as a mum to a toddler too, this awareness has really sharpened my perspective. I fear for her future. So, in 2020, I will be interrogating every brief as to its impact on future generations.

Our industry is talking a lot about Gen Z being the activist generation, the ones that will ‘save the world’. But whilst they are raising awareness, they don’t yet have immediate influence. We do. We need to take responsibility for our influence. As creatives, we are the conduit between our clients and their consumers who want to be able to make a ‘guilt-free’ choice. We have the opportunity to make sure a ‘right choice’ exists for those consumers. This goes beyond sustainable tick-box agendas. This is about futureproofing brands and their products or services for years to come, nay decades. Innovation needn’t just be about the allure of the latest trend or ‘more stuff’. Instead it should focus on smart and resourceful invention or improving what already exists. This will ensure that innovation will be relevant and really useful in consumers lives.

There is no planet B and I want my daughter to be able to enjoy all its wonders and weirdness as much as I have. I’m in design for her. Seeing the power in small, butterfly-effect choices.

Ryan Scott

Ryan Scott, twentysix.png

Global CEO


Agency life is a roller coaster of emotions – from the highs of pitch wins, to the lows of client losses, 2020 will be no different here!

My work purpose this year is to flatten out these highs and lows and be more present and in the moment. To achieve this, I’ll be looking at a number of things, some are tweaks to how I currently operate, some are bigger, but nothing hugely fundamental will change. Firstly, I’m taking back my time, I over committed last year, which diluted my time and my effectiveness.

This year, I’ll be focusing only on what matters most to me, my family and this business – if it isn’t on my priority list then, simply, I’m not doing it. My mantra is do simple things well and amazing things happen, I’m going to live this more and being exclusive with my time is key to this. Secondly, I’ve undertaken meditation – it’s something I’ve always shirked away from, but it’s actually brilliant and gives you much needed punctuation at the start or end of your day. 15 minutes a day is a tiny commitment and I recommend it a lot. I’m a big fan of leaving work at the door otherwise it can consume you, meditation helps with that.”