Ensuring existence through digitalization
We all know that video calls and online communication offer many advantages. But we didn’t expect these technical tools to help us secure our existence so quickly. The coronavirus has turned our lives upside down. We have to master the challenges, not only socially, but also from a business perspective. We provide an insight into how we as an agency are facing those challenges.
You’ll all go home now
The words that usually took us into the after-work hours on Fridays and the excitement over a cold beer made us feel rather uncomfortable at the beginning of the week. How quickly a problematic situation, so far away at the beginning, develops into a crisis that directly affects and influences everybody, probably frightened everyone. The decision of the management is not an easy one: projects have to be completed, the money has to be earned, the employees have to be paid,… But what is even more important: everybody has to stay healthy. To pursue the general responsibility in the context of the corona crisis, it is decided: We are all going home. Home office. For how long? Nobody knows right now. The mood cannot really be put into words. Nobody really knows what is going on, nobody can assess the situation. A little chaos within everyone and yet everyone knows: This is the only appropriate thing to do.
Let the server do its work
Pack your laptop and go. Everyone gather their things together, take their jacket and bag and leave the office. The advantages of a digital company? Everything is stored on the server, everyone can access it and at least this chaos with notes and folders is prevented. As quickly as the Open Office was left, the home offices were set up: On the very same day, each of the Schwarz+Matt team members sat in front of their laptops and was ready to continue working from home. Since we never actually work from the home – and certainly not all of us at the same time – the changeover was noticeable for everyone. Within a very short period of time, a plan had to be drawn up to ensure that we could still be available to our customers as a marketing service provider and provide the best possible advice. Despite turbulent times.
New tools right to the start
Our internal online communication takes place through “Slack”. Here we can either chat in groups or individually to clarify all necessary things, or just send some fun messages back and forth. We handle our project management with our agency software and “Asana”. With “Asana” we can not only create digital boards internally, but also create a project overview together with our customers. Everyone can see transparently what is currently being worked on, who is responsible for which tasks and when deadlines have been set. Briefings can be added within the tasks on the board. This not only ensures targeted and structured processes internally and for Schwarz+Matt’s corporate marketing, but also allows control and guarantees clients insights into the efficiency of their projects. Up to now we have always handled meetings face-to-face. In order to be able to hold efficient meetings without personal contact, we were looking for a solution for video chats that would allow the whole team to participate in online meetings at the same time. We have chosen the provider “Zoom”. The implementation of the new tool could not have been easier: Each employee receives a link and is added to the company’s account. Afterwards, everyone – team members and clients – can be invited to the individual video conferences, again by e-mail with a link. And then it can already start. For us, “Zoom” represents the perfect complement to our existing tools such as “Slack” and “Asana” and rounds off the digital communication of our agency.
Implementing old processes into new structures
How do we continue with the Weekly and Daily Meetings? How do we transfer the workflows into the digital environment and make them home office ready? Since we didn’t want to interrupt our transparent communication, we had a short briefing via e-mail: In order to be able to carry out the previous daily meeting, each of the employees dials into the call via “Zoom” at 10 a.m. All customers are informed via mail and social media that despite the corona crisis, work is not stopping and the team is still ready for action. Video conferences are scheduled for meetings with individual customers. Thanks to the transparent project management, everyone has a feeling of security despite sudden distance and does not feel forgotten.
The greatest benefit: the team
The tools help us to act digitally, to react quickly to sudden situations and to be able to offer service regardless of location. But what proved to be particularly valuable in this situation, which was absolutely uncertain for everyone, was the team team spirit. The motivation of all employees ensures that no one is left hanging and everyone gives their best to push the company forward as a team.
We are currently noticing how quickly circumstances can change and were once again reminded how important it is to be able to act flexibly. We are learning from these situations and, despite the enormous challenge, we are able to take away important insights for the future. Schwarz+Matt has positioned itself digitally as a marketing consultancy and is ready to deal with the still unknown situations in the context of the corona crisis.
Finally, our tips for your home office:
- Use internal communication channels to keep the team spirit up. Group chats are a great way to put a smile on the face of your colleagues or send each other an update on how you are doing. Do not forget to let your team members participate in your daily work. This promotes a sense of community, motivation and increases the productivity.
- The workplace itself is the key. Use the flexibility and comfort and create a quiet corner in your home. Plenty of light, fresh air and a few snacks will help you to successfully deliver your work from home. For inspiration, check out our Instagram channel (@schwarzundmatt).