As a team, we’re close knit. We get on really well, we genuinely care about one other, and we’re always off enjoying an adventure together. So, being in the situation we’re in now, which has seen us have to be physically distant, is tough. Really tough.
These are absolutely unprecedented times, and every one of us is on a continual emotional rollercoaster. The majority of us are parents of small children and so we’re juggling the pressures of working remotely, whilst also having to fulfil the role of full-time educator, carer, and domestic god/goddess! And that’s even without the added mental load that comes with being completely isolated from those we love, and being subjected to the sight of the same four walls day after day.
As an agency, we’re of course used to working flexibly, and in fact it’s rare that we’re all in the office at the same time (bar our sacred team days). Plus, we’ve already invested in a host of technological tools and systems to make remote working easy and secure. But, having to work solely from the confines of our own homes over the past few weeks has meant that we’ve had to introduce new ways and means to ensure we stay connected.
Twice a week without fail we take part in full team Zoom calls – giving us the opportunity to share updates, chat about plans for the week ahead, and to simply check-in to make sure we’re all OK. Plus, it always makes every one of us more buoyant seeing each other’s smiley faces 😊
Usual processes and procedures have been adapted to fit with our current way of working. Jen, our gorgeous Relationship Manager, is currently seven months pregnant and her time in lockdown has also seen her celebrate her eighth year at Zen. We’ve conducted her pregnancy risk assessment as well as her annual HR review ‘virtually’, and not forgetting the organising of her ‘social distanced’ delivery of a congratulatory bouquet of flowers (admittedly it’s usually a bottle of bubbly, but we’re saving that until after Baby Lloyd has arrived!)
Outside of these structured catch-ups and formalities, we’ve also made sure that we keep in touch with each other in less official ways. Whether that’s sending group message to share the triumphs (and disasters!) of juggling three full-time jobs, posting links to useful apps or social media pages to help us get through our ‘life as we know it for now’, or sending a random meme to someone just to say hi.
We’re an extremely sociable team, and so not heading for a drink after work or dancing the night away at a corporate event has been a shock to the system to say the least. Instead though, we’ve brought the entertainment to us, and have organised a number of virtual ‘pub nights’ – with a quiz thrown in here and there for some friendly competition!
Working within an industry where communication is absolutely core to everything we do and everything we are, it’s been vital to us a team that we maximise use of all of the tools available to us to ensure we remain positively connected to and ‘present’ with not only our clients, but with each other. And without doubt, all of these things have made a huge difference to every one of us… with sometimes the simplest gesture having had the biggest impact.
How are you and your teams managing the new normal? Have you been able to maintain that connection whilst being physically apart? And what tools have worked best for you? We’d love to hear your experiences…