Like many, from day one of confinement, we’ve been dealing with a change in our working environment. A physical office space isn’t necessarily a prerequisite in our line of work, but it’s something we’ve become accustomed to from very early on in our business. We’ve always enjoyed coming to the office and the comfort that offers: an iMac rather than a laptop, separation of work from home, listening to music and podcasts in the car during the short commute… For the past four weeks now, we’ve been working from home, and in fact the actual way we’re working together hasn’t really changed a great deal. In this new context, what has dramatically changed though is our working environment, time management and workload. Here are some of the challenges we’ve been facing and how we’re dealing with remote work at this complicated time.
Time management: With many events planned for this summer either on hold for the time being or already rescheduled to 2021, we’ve experienced a decrease in workload. However, we’ve not necessarily got more time on our hands as we’ve also had to decrease our working hours in order to cope with family obligations as we both have small children at home at the moment. We both work different time slots in the day and don’t at any time expect immediate responses from one another. We’re prioritising client work over anything else right now, doing everything we can to lighten the burden of worry for them.
Environment: We both have very different office setup situations within our homes, but have access to the same tools that we use for our day to day work as we’re virtually 100% digital. We even share our end of month accounts with our accountant digitally.
How we’re working together: Our regular office work is a mix of tasks carried out totally independently, collaborative creative sessions heavily lead by sharing and discussing visuals, as well as quick chat on a range of topics from anything client-centred to general admin and running of the business. We’ve been scheduling video calls at times when we both know we’ll be uninterrupted, using email for non urgent matters requiring reflection rather than an off the bat response, and WhatsApp chat for any quick questions, updates, thoughts or ideas. With chat, we try to be conscious of the fact that the other person may not be able to respond right away or might not even have the headspace at that moment to get into a conversation. If we make an unscheduled call to one another, the understanding is that if we’re not fully available or not focussed on work at that moment, we don’t answer as the conversation won’t be productive. We’re not afraid of multitasking, but feeding a grumpy baby with one hand while simultaneously discussing Force Majeur contractual issues isn’t conducive to work well done! We managed to carry out a pretty successful creative session recently during a video call with image sharing via WhatsApp. Granted the process was a little slower than usual but we got there in the end and it’s probably something we’ll get quicker at the more we do it.
Client relations: As we don’t have any local South of France based clients (all our clients are based internationally), our communication methods with our clients have not changed one bit which is reassuring for them and us. As usual, we communicate using a mix of emails for detailed topics requiring explanation and prior reflection, file sharing using Dropbox, pre-scheduled video and voice calls, and WhatsApp chat for time sensitive issues.
Communication with vendors: We’re privileging email over calls or instant messages to respect the fact that our vendors are likely also dealing with childcare, homeschooling and fragmented working hours.
We can’t wait to see one another and get back to the office, but we have the tools we need in order to be productive, even from a distance.
Our thoughts are with our clients and their families, our freelancers, venues and vendors at this difficult time. We have a feeling that we’re all going to need a good reason to celebrate once this is over… and we’ll be there to plan it!
Stay safe and stay at home!