Accidentally on purpose… we were ready for this.
A new remote reality is upon us and we are adapting at the pace of the news. Currently this is daily. The unfolding crisis around COVID-19 is having profound roll-on effects in ways in which we could not have scripted for our clients, our ways of working and our own individual psychological states.
Despite not physically being together, we still make time every day to come together as a team to check in on each other, usually with a coffee or wine in hand. Structurally and systematically we are learning a thing or two, but it is business as usual, from our home offices. Here are some of the things we think are most important in maintaining our remote momentum.
We’re all Human
Whether welcome or not, we have had the opportunity to step into each other’s bedrooms, kitchens, homes and personal lives.
Pets, partners and little ones are inspiring us all right now. Distance, strangely enough, is bringing us closer than I can ever remember. Working from home doesn’t have to mean working alone. Work / life boundaries can be a little blurry but we are respecting individual circumstances and humming as a team. Seamless transitions between Slack, Zoom and Hangouts are exposing our larger than life human side in full screen HD.
As more empathetic humans, we are looking at everything around us through a very different lens. Creatively, every brief, concept, strategy and tone of voice needs to be reconsidered within its current context. Some brands are being run off the shelves whilst most are facing some serious adversity.
We are asking how brands can help to alleviate the anxiety and bring a little positivity to people’s lives.
We are considering broader business problems on a more human level as we attempt to guide our clients in this crisis through to recovery and an eventual new reality.
As a colleague very aptly pointed out. It’s only been three days… but I’d like to think that we will be inspired to create more ‘real world’ thinking, not just advertising ideas. You know how they ask in Award School “Would your mum get it?“. Well, being at home reminds us that we make communications for the real world, not just the advertising echo-chamber.
Kick back Fridays
This is no holiday but more a new semi-permanent reality. What does culture look like for remote companies? Does it still exist when you remove the bricks and mortar from the equation? We think so.
This is a time to reinforce habits and behaviours that may have fallen by the wayside. Culture can be hard to pin down but I believe it bleeds from the top down. Swift and proactive reactions to the adversity around us from our fearless, or rather, empathetic leaders has brought us together in new ways. A practice run at home to iron out the kinks and general weirdness of the situation, finishing off with a beer in hand and an all agency kick back courtesy of our friend Google. Not a single meeting was missed and no one was late. Huh! Turns out we had been in altitude training for some time.
Pyjama Wednesdays, furry friends in toe, group mindfulness activities or remote yoga sessions. Have some fun and keep it positive! Do what works for you.
Its times like these when a company’s values seem to bubble to the surface.
A mature people-first reaction breeds respect and loyalty like no words can. Hustle, humility and heart. It sounds corny but these ring especially true for all of us now that we are working remotely. Actions, attitudes, behaviours and routines form the heartbeat of any agency. I, for one, thank the boys for showing a whole lotta heart!
Trained in agency agile, this recent week has become more of an exercise in muscle memory. A quick leadership video chat to stay abreast of the overnight developments before an all agency standup to kick into the day at 9am. Everyone gets their turn and by 9.20-ish we know exactly where each job is at and what we need to get done during the day.
Somehow collaboration and communication has increased exponentially. From backyards and beaches to park stools and kitchen benches we are managing our distractions and embracing our little creature comforts to elevate our efficiencies. Not without its hiccups, we have learnt to block out some uninterrupted flow time to do the doing and maintain a little live camera-free sanity.
It’s all in the cloud
Who needs physical offices anyway? There’s something unnerving about working from the middle desk in the open corridor. Desperately trying to avoid the prying eye of the hovering Creative Directors ready to pounce on the long-way-from-finished work in progress. Hold the phone, sorry that’s me. You can do that remotely now?
Our design team has been leading the way as we learn to celebrate and embrace the ‘live-ness’ that programs like Figma can afford us. From Slack to Frame.io to live Keynote collaboration decks, our ideas and our designs are always live and ever evolving. There is something quite magical about seeing it all come together as cursors fly back and forth between contributors.
Digital canvases have replaced physical basketball court walls as we have managed to plan, collaborate, develop and successfully execute complex roadmaps for big client problems in real time.
This collaborative approach to design and creative problem solving is our new reality and it is mind boggling to watch!
I look forward to seeing what week 2 brings.