As the UK, and many of the other countries that we do business in, take cautious steps out of lockdown, myself along with Claire Herriott, Founder and Managing Partner, took some time out to reflect on the impact of Covid-19 on White Label, our clients, and our team.
We had been following global and local news closely and in early March had already started to introduce extra hygiene protocols within the office. We had also undertaken a risk assessment and put plans in place should we need to go into a full lockdown. Even so, like most organisations, we had to adapt quickly when the entire team started to work from home with immediate effect.
Let’s be honest. We’re a small, niche independent agency – our structure is what makes us different as it means we can remain flexible and nimble. That’s a big plus for our clients, a selling point to prospective clients and when this Pandemic hit, it was a positive for our own ways of working too. Our team all had the right tech to continue from home, meet via Microsoft Teams or Zoom and support each other in getting used to these new ways of working.
Like many we’ve spoken to, those first few weeks were a roller-coaster. Clients were being pulled in different directions, keeping up with which of our contacts were and weren’t working, which were being placed on furlough, which projects were continuing, which were being indefinitely paused and how this might impact our team members and our business operations, was intense.
Claire and I consider ourselves incredibly fortunate. While some of our clients stopped their activities due to the sector they’re in (think, travel) or because of the type work we do for them (think, social media management – there was a period when no-one really wanted to post anything in order to stay sensitive to everyone’s differing situations), we also have clients whose businesses have not been affected or have even seen an upturn. We didn’t place anyone on furlough and 2 weeks ago we had a new starter join our growing Reporting & Data Analytics team. One thing we have found, is that data and measurement has taken a huge step forward in terms of importance to clients during this time.
There have been some fun moments too – it took some time for everyone to find a comfortable and practical workspace so each team meeting we were getting to see a different part of someone’s house. We found ourselves waving to each other at the end of every Zoom meeting until we decided we looked too hilarious to continue. And we had a few successful team events involving a dance routine , gin and vodka tasting, and the ever popular quiz night.
But…we also felt that there were a few times when being so far apart wasn’t allowing us to do our best work. We had instant access to each other but there were still moments when being in the same office space, being face to face, would have been so much better and so much easier. Everyone agreed.
And that is why, like wider society, we have taken cautious, safe steps to begin returning to the office without losing the great employee benefit of more opportunities to work from home.
More on that in the next Blog.