Securing existence through digitization

Home Office: Decentralized, but all the more concentrated

We all know that video calls and communication via the Internet offer many advantages. However, we never expected that these technical tools would now help us to secure our existence so quickly. The coronavirus has turned our lives upside down. The challenges must be mastered, not only socially, but also from a business perspective. We give an insight into how we implement this as an agency.

You all go home now

What words usually bid us farewell to the end of work on Fridays and awakened the anticipation of a cold beer, rather caused unease at the beginning of the week. How quickly an initially distant problem develops into a crisis that directly affects and influences you probably startled everyone. The decision of the management is not an easy one: orders have to be completed, the money has to be generated, the employees have to be paid,… But what is even more important: everyone has to stay healthy. To follow up on the general responsibility in the Corona crisis, it is decided: We all go home. Home Office. How long? Nobody knows right now. The mood can’t really be put into words. No one really knows what is going on, no one can assess the situation. A little chaos in everyone and yet everyone knows: this is the only correct action.

Thanks to the server

Pack up your laptop and go. Everyone gathers their things, takes their jacket and bag and leaves the office. The advantages of a company that works digitally? Everything is on the server, everyone can access it and at least this chaos with notes and folders is spared. As quickly as the Open Office was left, the home offices were set up: On the same day, each of the Schwarz+Matt team members was sitting in front of their laptops, ready to continue working from home. Since we usually never – and certainly not all at the same time – work from the home office, the change was noticeable for everyone. Within a very short time, a plan had to be found for how to still be available as a marketing service provider for its customers and provide the best possible advice. Despite turbulent times.

New tools straight to the start

Our online communication takes place internally within the team using “Slack”. Here we can either clarify all the necessary things in group or individual chats, or just send some fun messages back and forth. We handle our project management via 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. In this way, everyone can see transparently what is currently being worked on, who is taking on which tasks and for when the deadlines are set. Briefings can be added within the tasks in the board. This not only ensures targeted and structured processes internally and for Schwarz+Matt’s corporate marketing, but also enables control and guarantees customers insights into the efficiency of their projects. Up to now, we have always conducted meetings face-to-face. Now, in order to conduct efficient meetings without face-to-face contact, we were looking for a video chat solution that would allow the whole team to participate in online meetings simultaneously. We have chosen “Zoom”. The implementation of the new tool could not have been easier: Each of the employees receives a link and is thus added to the company account. Then everyone can be invited, again by mail with a link, to the individual video conferences. And then you’re ready to go. “Zoom” is therefore the perfect complement to our existing tools such as “Slack” and “Asana” and rounds off the digital communication of our agency.

Implement old processes in new structures

How do you continue with the Weekly and Daily Meetings? How do you transport workflows into the digital environment and make them home office ready? Since we did not want to break our transparent communication, there was a short briefing by mail: In order to be able to carry out the previous Daily Meeting, each of the employees dials into the Call per Zoom at 10 a.m.. By mail as well as via social media, all customers are informed that work does not stop despite the Corona crisis and that the team is still available. For meetings with individual clients, video conferencing is scheduled. Thanks to the transparent project management, despite the sudden distance, everyone has a sense of security and does not feel lost.

The biggest benefit: The team

The tools help us to act digitally, to react quickly to sudden situations and to provide service regardless of location. But what stood the test of time, especially in this absolutely uncertain situation for everyone, was team cohesion. The motivation of all employees ensures that no one hangs their head and everyone gives their best to move the company forward as a team.

We are currently realizing how quickly circumstances can change and have once again been reminded of how important it is to be able to act flexibly. We learn from these situations and can take away important lessons for the future despite the great challenge. Schwarz+Matt has positioned itself digitally as a marketing consultancy and is ready to deal with the still unknown situations within the Corona crisis.


Finally, our tips for the home office:

  • Uses internal communication channels to keep team spirits up. Group chats are a great way to put a smile on your colleagues’ faces or send each other an update on how you’re doing. Don’t forget to share your day-to-day work with your team members. This promotes a sense of community and motivation, as well as productivity.
  • The workplace is the be-all and end-all. Take advantage of the flexibility and comfort and create a quiet corner in your home. Plenty of light, fresh air, and a few snacks will help you successfully deliver the work from home. You can get inspiration for this on our Instagram channel (@schwarzundmatt).