Earlier this year I updated our Disaster Recovery and Contingency Plans as part of our response to a request for information. Yes, we’d done some testing, but as with a lot of plans, never did I think that we would have to implement it. Whilst we do have some team members who remote work regularly, we had not considered moving everyone to remote working. I’m sure if we’d tried to plan to do this it would have taken several months of planning, piloting, consulting and maybe eventually implementing. One thing I’ve learned is that when we’re focussed it’s amazing what can be achieved in a very short space of time. Our Contingency Plan turned out to be robust and within a few days everyone was not just coping with remote working but functioning well. The pace of change was amazing but the team all embraced the situation and made it work for them. Many of the barriers that would usually exist were simply removed or dealt with very efficiently, and decisions on how we were going to work evolved organically and quickly. The amount of change that we have undergone in a few weeks has been significant, and I’m sure rather daunting for some but we’ve achieved a great deal. We’ve communicated with each other, a lot, and learnt from each other, a lot, supporting people to ensure they are comfortable with the various, and sometimes overwhelming, amount of technology we’re using now. The team have gained confidence in our new ways of working, undertaking self-learning where necessary to help them along the way. There’s a huge number of courses and free content available for those who want to use this time to upskill.
One of our company values is ‘shared adventure’ and never have we lived this more. The courage shown by the team as they make suggestions to improve our ways of working and work with clients on understanding their ‘new’ needs, finding ways to deliver innovative solutions has been outstanding. There is a clear focus on outcomes and figuring out what is working well so that we can maximise our successes. Rather than the word ‘unprecedented’, ‘flexibility’, ‘impact’ and ‘omni-channel’ and have become key words in our vocabulary. Our clients have been fantastic, talking to us about their changing marketing plans and, rather than simply issuing briefs, we’ve been having great conversations with them, developing briefs together and bringing a new level of ‘partnership’ to our relationships. We’ve pitched and won new clients too – developing client relationships in an online world and understanding that getting to know the person behind the technology is essential. For us, understanding how we can support our clients has been key, along with ensuring that our team is safe and well, both physically and mentally, as this new way of being is undoubtedly tough on everyone emotionally too.
Yes, we had to make some tough commercial decisions early on but these were done with compassion and with our values at heart. I’m optimistic that we will emerge from this not simply fit for purpose, but braver, stronger and with an even greater sense of team.
I hope the environment after this epidemic is one that remains kinder, more tolerant, with a greater sense of community and with more sustainable ways of living in place. I hope that we emerge fit for purpose having had the courage to be bold and optimistic during this period of change. I hope that we all remember those who were kind and considerate (people and brands) and continue to support them in whatever way we can.
I can honestly say, I know our people are ‘our everything’ but I absolutely bloody love them to bits and have so much respect for how resilient, brave, creative and supportive they’ve been over the past six weeks.
Stay well, stay safe, stay creative and curious everyone.
Claire, Chief Executive