Be more human
So, it’s our responsibility as agency leaders to do our utmost to take care and look out for our teams; to keep them motivated and engaged, make them feel protected and cared for and remind them to look after themselves. It’s very easy to lose humanity in an online world, but now, more than ever, we need to make an effort to be more human, more empathetic.
Alongside all the formal things we have in place to help people feel valued including Vitality healthcare with all its benefits and discounts and access to Health Assured for 24/7 mental health support, we are also more actively involving the agency in our progress and being far more transparent with what goes on behind the scenes.
We have run all-agency workshops to help collectively determine what we stand for, and how we present ourselves to the world. We regularly share, and explain, our topline P&L and our new business discussions as well as taking people through presentations, pitches and the latest work, not just the ‘big stuff’. In understanding more about the workings of the agency, the good and the bad, people feel more empowered, more respected and more engaged.
Build up trust
We’ve also instigated a more informal process where I will try to speak to each and every person in the agency at least every couple of months. We have encouraged weekly check-ins with team members who aren’t really working together right now but have a good connection. We recommend ‘walking meetings’, where it’s ok to just use the phone, rather than be on video at a desk and ensure clear boundaries between work and personal time.
We know it’s still not enough, and we know that we can’t completely prevent people feeling down occasionally, or even regularly. But they know that we’re looking out for them, and will protect and support them where we can, and recognise their anguish.
Whilst the working world has changed forever, the trust that we have had to put in our people as they work remotely is a silver lining. No bums on seats, no obligation to be seen to be doing it, and instead a renewed focus on delivery. Flexibility has empowered people to behave differently, and more healthily, and that’s got to be a good thing for when we do get back together.