Adapting to Change – How Our Team Worked Together, Apart
Client's needs are always evolving. Adapting to change in the workplace is key to maintaining those successful partnerships. Recently, the pandemic of COVID-19 has impacted our personal, social and work lives. After working apart for over 3 months, our team got together to talk about the experience.
Like every business owner, I felt a lot of anxiety about meeting professional and financial commitments. Taking care of my team, supporting our clients but also to our suppliers and other partners. The primary concern was, how are we going to keep going "as normal" when "normal" had been turned upside down.
We had to rethink the strategy with our clients - with everyone shutting down in the automotive industry, pushing a traditional marketing strategy didn't make a lot of sense when there was no one to market to. We thought about how our clients' needs have changed and how we could use those skill sets to meet their changing needs. We turned our efforts inward focusing on employee communications, back to work guide books, social distancing signs etc.
Working from home occasionally is a luxury, working from home continually is a challenge! Establishing a routine was so important but also difficult with a preschooler at home. There was a lot of rearranging of furniture in order to create dedicated spaces for work, play and family time.
Communication is key! When something disrupting happens one of the biggest stressors is not knowing what is going on or what you should be doing. Be as transparent as possible with your team and set clear expectations for what can and should be done and also - what will have to wait. It is also really important to stay in touch regularly. When you are in the office it's easy to walk up to someone and collaborate, when your team is working remotely you have to be deliberate in creating space for those conversations to happen.
Towards the end of February, my coworkers and I were sitting on a rooftop patio in Scottsdale, Arizona discussing a pitch for a huge potential new client. If you had walked up and told me I was about to be trading palm trees as my view for my parents house...I would have been pretty skeptical of your statement. One week later I found myself fleeing Oakland Country and living vicariously through Netflix rom-coms.
Pre-pandemic, my team had plans to support a client at a tradeshow in Las Vegas. Now, my team is having a happy hour over Zoom (slow clap if you found yourself cheers-ing your laptop camera). Like every other company in the world, we were forced to make adjustments. Being a digital marketing agency, we weren’t strangers to working online. Luckily, we were still able to serve our clients from the comfort of our computers.
As a designer here at Exigent, I saw a shift in the work that became top priority. During a normal week, I was mainly creating content for social media. With the health and safety of employees becoming of utmost importance, my focus quickly switched over to internal matters. Our team worked with HR to create COVID-19 protocol guides, signage advocating for new rules and regulations, and informational flyers for employees. My designs went from “pretty” to “practical”. Around the world, it was humbling to see how the conversation changed. How everyone mutually promoted togetherness rather than the usual hustle of competition. Adaptability is key in any industry, not just in marketing - make sure your team is “in tune” both internally and externally.
When your morning commute is just from your bedroom to the living room, you actually have time for a real breakfast!
February 19th to June 1st. 102 days working remote. Three months of my first job out of college, working from my kitchen table. How crazy is that? And oh how interesting it was. Daily phone calls with the team, facetime collaborations on projects and after work zoom happy hours. It was a very eventful and yet uneventful time for all of us, but we did our best to make it work!
Now being able to look back at my “Quarantine WFH” experience, I can honestly say it may have been a blessing in disguise. Even though it was tough, it was worth it. I ended up taking a lot of online courses, making my free time pretty darn productive. I learned a ton of new website tools that I used to help the team develop and launch our website! It made me feel like a nerd - which I have no shame in calling myself now. With the world slowing down, our workflow did too. The website launch was our silver lining - something we may not have gotten done without having the newfound time for it.
Amanda's work from home setup! Record player: On, Distractions: Off