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Rania Mitsiou -
10 Ruler Principles That Set Us Apart

You walk into a creative agency and what do you see? Neon signs, free-flowing coffee and more . It's the Instagram-perfect vision of the work-life dream. But what lies behind that fancy curtain?

Beneath the veneer of laid-back vibes and "cool" job descriptions that sound like they were penned by a motivational speaker, often lurks a more sinister reality. From long hours and toxic bosses to dysfunctional HR departments, the shiny facade can mask a multitude of issues.

In this vast, global community of creatives, we often talk about ourselves as one big, happy family. Job descriptions in our field overflow with buzzwords like "flexible," "generous," "passionate," and the ever-popular "wellness." Step inside these agencies, and you'll be dazzled by plush furniture, well-stocked breakfast bars, and walls adorned with inspirational quotes. But let's face it-oftentimes, these are just smokescreens for an industry that can be anything but fun.

In advertising, creative & marketing agencies, the reality is full of burnout, excessive workload, toxic bosses and work environments.

According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 1 in 5 workers in Europe experiences a poor psychosocial work environment. It is easy to understand how burnout has grown to be such a serious problem when you consider the lengthy hours and demanding workloads combined with the changing nature of the digital marketing business.

So, how do we navigate this dichotomy without losing our minds or our creative spark? Buckle up, because we’re diving into the 15 Ruler Digital Agency Principles that can make a workplace not just bearable but extraordinary.

1. The 8-Hour Workday is Non-Negotiable

In an industry where account managers often juggle unrealistic deadlines and promises from CEOs to clients, Ruler is a breath of fresh air. We enforce an 8-hour workday, not just as a policy but as a product of good organization and management. Unlike other agencies where employees are often left grappling with unrealistic deadlines, our manageable work hours are a result of realistic commitments to clients and effective time management. It's not magic; it's simply efficient management that respects both employees and clients. The commitment to this time frame doesn't mean curtailing productivity;it's a cornerstone of our philosophy prioritizing work-life balance and efficiency, enriched by shared family-style lunches. Yes, that means even Nireas, our CEO, puts down his non-stop ringing phone to share a meal with us.

2. Cultivating Creativity, Not Egos

There are agencies where employees find themselves stuck in a rut of repetitive tasks, unable to stretch their creative muscles. At Ruler, every voice counts and everyone has the creative freedom to contribute. This creative freedom is not just for 'creative roles'; Here, web developers aren't restricted to coding, they're contributors to the creative problem-solving process. The absence of toxic ego environments ensures that we focus more on the work and less on who gets the credit, leading to a healthier, happier workspace. There's no room for hierarchical biases here -only boundless creativity.

While you might hear of workplaces stymying creativity in favor of established protocols, we cultivate an environment where every voice matters. This approach eliminates the fear of being subjected to toxic or diminishing behaviors, allowing innovation to thrive naturally.

3. Cultivating Respect and Open Dialogue

You won’ t find toxic egos roaming the halls of Ruler. Instead, the agency is designed to be a haven of mutual respect and courtesy.

Mutual respect isn't an optional virtue at Ruler Digital agency; it's a mandatory ethos.” - Nireas Theodorakopolos

This respectful tone permeates every discussion, meeting, and team project, encouraging everyone to share their ideas without fear of ridicule or dismissal. The result is an environment that encourages growth, both for the individual and the team.

4. Growth: A Two-Way Street

The philosophy at Ruler is clear: if the employees grow, so does the agency. Eurofound states that lifelong learning opportunities are available to less than 40% of EU employees. At Ruler, professional development isn't just encouraged-it's built into the fabric of our working model, including performance-based bonuses. Although, in many agencies, employees find their salaries stagnating even as they take on more responsibilities. Our performance-based bonuses are a testament to our commitment to individual and collective growth.

At Ruler Digital Agency, employee evolution means agency evolution.

5. Safety Over Show

While other agencies are busy putting up motivational posters and hipster-esque décor, we focus on what's essential: a safe environment. The American Psychological Association suggests that a safe workplace significantly boosts employee well-being. While the allure of contemporary office designs may be charming, we place the safety and comfort of our team first. Oh, and did I mention Poudra, our chief dog? She's got this magical ability to calm you down when you’re on your third revision of “making the logo bigger.”

6. Our CEO: A Modern-Day Philosopher King

In an industry where CEOs often promise the moon to clients, leaving their teams to deal with the fallout, Nireas Theodorakopoulos ensures that reality and promises align. Research from Deloitte shows that values-driven companies are more profitable and generate more customer loyalty. Our CEO, Nireas Theodorakopoulos, embodies these principles, emphasizing respect, passion, and flexibility. Whether it’s a small local client or a large corporation, ethical treatment is a non-negotiable aspect of our business agreements.

Isn't just about landing any client; we seek ethical, respectful partnerships. Our growth is anchored in shared values, not quick wins. If you're not kind, you're not getting on the boat.” - Nireas Theodorakopolos

This focus on relationships over profit prevents over-promising and under-billing, one of the most common reasons for burnout in agency settings.

7. Living Our Values Through Transparency

In today ’s digital agency landscape, where competition for talent is fierce, living by your core values isn't just a luxury-it's a necessity. At Ruler Digital Agency, we don't just talk about our values of transparency, respect, and collaboration; we live them in every aspect of our operations. Whether it's the relationships we build with our clients or the way we handle internal affairs, a transparent approach guides us.

Referencing a study led by Ngaire Moyes, UK country manager at LinkedIn, she states, "In today’s tight labour market, companies competing for talent need to not only be vocal about the values of their organisation, but truly live by them too." Moyes goes on to add that particularly among younger professionals, there's a strong desire to work for companies that not only state their core values but live by them. "The pandemic prompted a real shift in what people want from their career, and while salary is still the biggest factor, our research and data show that values can increasingly be as much of a deal-breaker."

By living our values daily, we not only attract the right kind of talent but also ensure that the relationships we form are based on trust and mutual respect. Here at Ruler, we don't deal in empty promises or shady practices. Our unwavering commitment to transparency ensures open dialogue with both our team and clients. This isn't just a policy; it's a reflection of our core values and the essence of who we truly are.

Research shows that companies with a positive culture of inclusivity and collaboration have up to 72% higher employee engagement than those without. And 74% of employees believe that company culture influences their performance and ability to do their best work.

8. Zero Tolerance for Discrimination

In today's society, discrimination remains an uncomfortable reality in many workplaces, despite efforts to foster inclusivity. A staggering Glassdoor study found that 55% of employees in the UK have experienced or witnessed workplace discrimination, with age and gender being the most common triggers. Even more startling is that the art and culture sectors reported the highest discrimination rates at 63%.

The same study summarized findings across the UK and the US, revealing that only 19.7% of senior roles are held by women. However, their chances of getting hired can surge up to 46% through blind applications. That’s why at Ruler, we're implementing unbiased hiring practices and continually scrutinizing our internal policies to identify and eliminate any form of discrimination.

When you step into Ruler Digital Agency, you step into a space free from bias, filled with potential, and open to everyone. It's not just a policy - it's who we are.

9. Fun as a Core Value, Not an Afterthought

At Ruler, we understand that productivity and growth are vital, but we also recognize the human need for relaxation and enjoyment. Our workplace is laced with team-building activities and opportunities for playful evenings. But let's be clear: these aren't mandatory 'fun' sessions that encroach on your personal time. We fully respect your evenings with family and friends. Our 'work hard, play hard' philosophy leans intentionally on the 'play' part, but only when team members genuinely feel they have the time and desire to join in. That way, our agency remains a truly enjoyable place to work, without impinging on your life outside of it.

10. Clients Are Partners, Not Just Revenue

Our clients are seen as valued partners. We respect each investment and aim for the maximum return on each euro or dollar spent. Disappointment doesn't find room in our vocabulary. In many agencies, the word 'client' can often feel synonymous with 'revenue.' At Ruler Digital Agency, we see things differently. Clients are our partners, integral to the fabric of our agency. We understand that when you invest in us, you're entrusting us with more than just funds; you're sharing a vision and setting collective goals. This sense of shared commitment permeates our entire team, influencing the work we do and how we approach it.

Our emphasis on partnership isn't just a marketing slogan-it's the way we operate. From the outset, we aim for transparency, realistic goals, and a focus on value over volume. It's a two-way street, a true partnership. When clients invest in us, they're getting a team that's equally invested in their success. It’s this collaborative ethos that allows both our team and our clients to thrive.

11. Remote Work Flexibility

The future of work is flexible, and at Ruler Digital Agency, we embrace this shift towards remote working as an integral part of our operational strategy. In that mindframe we offer remote work options that allow our employees to choose where they work best, whether it's at home, in a coffee shop, or in a coworking space. This flexibility helps our team maintain a better work-life balance, leading to increased job satisfaction and productivity.

This approach not only enhances employee satisfaction and retention but also attracts top talent from across the country, enriching our team with diverse perspectives and skills.

12. Leveraging Technology and Automation

The digital age is marked by rapid advancements in technology, particularly in artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. At Ruler Digital, we harness these technologies to streamline operations and automate routine tasks. This shift allows our team to focus on what humans do best – creating, problem-solving, and innovating. By freeing up our creative talents from mundane tasks, we can dedicate more time to crafting bespoke digital strategies that drive success and innovation for our clients.

Our rule at Ruler Digital (pun intended) isn’t just about keeping up with tech trends-it’s about setting them. Embracing the adoption of cutting-edge technologies, we are actively enhancing our capabilities and efficiency.

13. Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility

As environmental and social governance (ESG) becomes a paramount concern, integrating sustainability into our core operations is no longer optional but essential. Ruler Digital is committed to minimizing our environmental footprint and fostering a corporate culture that prioritizes sustainability. From reducing paper use and optimizing digital workflows to supporting green initiatives and encouraging eco-friendly practices among our team, we are dedicated to making a positive impact on the planet.

14. Free Flow of Information & Culture of Continuous Learning

At our digital agency, we firmly believe in the power of knowledge and the significance of staying current in a fast-paced industry. This is why we have instituted a culture that emphasizes the free flow of information and continuous learning. Regular seminars, “Mastermind” group video calls and training sessions are a core part of our ethos, providing our team with the latest tools, trends, and techniques to keep them ahead in the digital game. These learning opportunities not only enhance our team’s skills but also foster an environment of openness and curiosity. Every team member, from interns to senior executives, is encouraged to share insights and learn from one another. This continuous learning cycle not only drives our company’s innovative solutions but also ensures that we adapt and thrive in an ever-evolving industry.

15. Employee Stability - Long Retention

Employee stability is another cornerstone of our agency’s work culture. We understand that our success hinges on the satisfaction and growth of our people. By focusing on long-term retention, we aim to build a workplace where everyone feels valued, stable, and motivated. Stability at our agency means more than just job security; it encompasses career growth, skill development, and a balance between professional and personal life. Our retention efforts are reflected in our competitive benefits, inclusive work environment, and transparent career progression paths. We believe that by investing in our employees' futures, we are not only enhancing their lives but also fortifying the foundation of our agency, which in turn benefits our clients through consistent, high-quality service.

Conclusion

In summary, Ruler Digital Agency is more than just a workspace-it's a sanctuary for creativity, well-being, and genuine professional growth. Yet, we are aware that there is always room for improvement. We invite our talented team and valued clients to share their insights and proposals for making Ruler an even more extraordinary place. After all, it's the collective input that makes a work environment genuinely nurturing.

As we continue this incredible journey, let's recall the words of Maya Angelou: 'People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.' Our ultimate goal is for every individual who walks through our doors to leave feeling respected, valued, and above all, human.

Your well-being is our well-being, and your success is our success. At Ruler, we're not just building a company; we're creating a community.

Join us on this journey as we continue to innovate, inspire, and influence the digital landscape through our work.

 

Sources:

1. Harvard Business Review : https://hbr.org/2023/03/to-curb-burnout-design-jobs-to-better-match-employees-needs

2. CBS news : https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nearly-60-of-us-workers-say-they-seen-or-experienced-discrimination-at-...

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TEL: +30 210 9567847

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