I’m about to head off on maternity leave for the second time. Being pregnant during a pandemic has certainly been a different experience to the last time, but I hope that by the time I return to work, the pandemic situation will have vastly improved. Life might even have some semblance of normality, whatever that looks like.
Before I sign off, I’ve been reflecting on the last year and what a whirlwind it has been. 2020 was my first year working outside London, as a mum and in a smaller agency. It already offered a new experience – but throw in a global pandemic and a handful of lockdowns and it’s been a huge learning curve. Here are three key things I’ve picked up on the way.
You really can’t beat in person communication
Aside from a few months working in the office during the summer last year, like most other businesses, we’ve mainly been working from home. I really, really miss the office. At first, I enjoyed the freedom (and more recently, the ability to hide my growing bump!) but nothing beats in person brainstorms, meetings or catch ups. I have met very few of my clients face to face and no matter how many video calls you have, nothing compares with even the shortest in-person meeting.
By the time my maternity leave is over, I really hope that offices are fully back open for the long term. We offer flexible working, with the option of some at-home days, and taking a hybrid approach will give everyone the best of both worlds.
Practice what you preach
It’s fair to say, the day after the initial lockdown announcement in March 2020 was not one of our best. But we very quickly pulled together and through a number of proactive initiatives we managed to not only survive as an agency but thrive. We spent the time doing what we do best – focusing on promoting our business and our core strengths. A new website, prioritising our public profile through our own PR and advertising, and a refocus on the importance of our own purpose are just some of the initiatives that have enabled us to become a stronger agency.
We’re in a really good place which makes it doubly hard to step away from – just as the UK is opening up and the business is really ready for it.
It’s all about the team
Admittedly this isn’t a hugely surprising reflection but the last year has really shown just how important a good team is. Everyone has faced a personal challenge at some point and working remotely without any in-person contact can make these challenges feel harder to overcome. Knowing you have colleagues who are there for you is so important and taking the time to stay human, and not always talking about work makes all the difference. Having an open and supportive culture when working remotely is not easy to create, but it really does pay off.
So, for the time being, it’s goodbye from me – there’s an exciting year ahead and I look forward to hearing all about it![/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]