UK-based creative digital agency ADAO shared their experiences of adjusting to remote working during the pandemic.
With the vast majority of workforces across the UK working from home (WFH) during COVID-19, this has presented a number of new challenges for organisations. This new reality of working remotely, away from the office environment for a few months has felt quite surreal for many of us, with little choice but to adjust very quickly.
How has ADAO supported the wider business community?
There are many organisations that have unfortunately had no choice but to close their doors and furlough staff. They have tried to support businesses, especially in their local close-knit community by making their paid for website callout product, Sweetnr, available for free. Sweetnr helps businesses to relay the live status of their business and also an opportunity to adapt the messaging for whenever restrictions ease, in preparation for secure and safe reopening of their business to the public.
The prospect of WFH for ADAO
They are quite blessed in terms of being a digital agency, working almost exclusively ‘online’ with use of the internet for digital marketing purposes and various web tools to assist in designing and building websites. This made the prospect of working from home far less daunting than for other non-digital focused organisations.
Moreover, three of their staff members were already working remotely before the COVID outbreak. Richard & Tristan, their Digital Marketing Consultants, live in Derbyshire and South Africa respectively, along with their Web Developer Adrian, soon to be moving across to the UK. Therefore, they were already well versed in utilising virtual communications platforms such as Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts to ensure there is a clear synergy between their teams.
The realisation of WFH for ADAO
Despite 16% of their workforce already used to working from home, the majority of the ADAO team had not yet experienced this, nor had the company considered this as an option historically due to the collaborative nature between all three departments and workflow. However, due to the government guidelines set out, they had to start implementing clear directives to all employees to ensure they kept the service and communication consistent to their clients and team alike.
Protocol outlaid by the directors
Ensure each employee has provisions to WFH effectively
- Effective WiFi connection
- Workspace setup – with license to borrow monitors and equipment to support the transition to WFH
- Access to essential apps and systems including 3CX to receive phone calls to the office from home
- Minimal distraction
Effective comms with team members and clients
- Skype for instant messaging
- 3CX app for receiving and making outbound client or sales calls
- Rota for phone cover
- Daily standups with heads of each department to plan the day ahead
- The same, effective logging on the timesheet for billability purposes
Facing the challenges of working from home
Some of the clear challenges for some of the workforce have come in the way of schools and nurseries also being closed. Flexibility has been allowed for employees with parental responsibilities, however, none of the parents has had to home-school, as their partners are either stay at home parents or have been furloughed.
For others, the challenge hasn’t been work-related, but being housebound alone in smaller spaces, which has been particularly difficult during the phase of lockdown when leaving the house was only allowed once for daily exercise.
As a close-knit team, socialising with each other was part of their culture and so extra effort has had to be made to encourage regular Zoom calls with the whole team after work on a Friday afternoon to catch up with beer, wine or soft drink in hand. This hasn’t just allowed them all to unwind, but has kept team morale high during trying circumstances and has been a good outlet for discussing the highly unusual times with each other.
Looking towards the future
As is the case for many businesses, they have all been thrust into WFH situations which they have had to adjust to very quickly.
With industries such as their own, they have found the transition relatively easy and straightforward; they have almost been spoilt for choice for conferencing solutions, and so keeping the regular communication flowing between each other between teams and clients hasn’t been an issue. There are instances where you lose a little bit of the personal touch, though, and the instant message doesn’t always have the same effect when trying to convey humour so jokes can sometimes be misconstrued.
Although it has been proved that the team can work just as effectively from home, there is also an excitement to spend more time in person with colleagues and welcome clients through the door when the COVID situation ends. For now, it is business as usual, and clients can continue to contact the team as normal.
ADAO is a creative digital agency based in the heart of the Midlands providing a range of design, web and digital marketing services to their valued clients.