Lessons to Move Forward in a Post-Covid-19 World
It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since our lives were turned upside down. Our work dynamic, home life and overall mental well-being were challenged in ways we never thought possible. But here we are. One year later, and we are seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Things will never be what they were pre-pandemic, but we’re nearing some sense of a new normal.
Here are some challenges and changes I experienced during the pandemic I believe will help you and your agency move forward as we put Covid-19 as far in the rear-view mirror as possible.
• Calibrate yourself to the work, not the clock. At our agency, this is a mantra we lived prior to the pandemic, and one all agencies should be following if they aren’t already. I wish work life was linear, but it’s far from it. One of the reasons we don’t subscribe to a 9-to-5 workday is because we know our clients have real, pressing needs outside of that window. We force ourselves to anticipate the rush, so we can adjust our schedules accordingly. Don’t be that agency that forces people to do busy work or twiddle their thumbs while waiting for feedback, assets, or anything from the client. Think ahead and book your staff’s hours accordingly. The pandemic forced many to realize that not only is a 9-5 schedule archaic, but people who work from home are productive!
• Clients are also people. This is often overlooked and forgotten, but the pandemic brought this back into the spotlight for me. For better or worse, clients are human beings—they’re not demons or angels. They’re people like you with lives. Don’t be fearful, pander, or shrink from telling them honest truths. Cut people some slack and continue to be mindful of people’s mental health as we approach returning to office settings. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t experienced challenges and loss this year; clients are simply trying to deliver good work within deadlines just like you.
• Patience is not a virtue. We remind ourselves 10 times a day that waiting is a rookie move. I hate to burst bubbles, but clients are rarely thinking of you. They have their own problems to solve. Don’t sit around and wait. Calculate their challenges before they do; research upcoming projects; and provide solutions with firm, consistent reminders. Workflow will improve and your clients will have a great reason not to think about you.
• Call your competition. It might sound crazy, but if you’re not talking to the smart people who run other firms in your field, you’re missing out. If this past year has taught me anything, it’s that your competitors can be confidants, information resources, therapists, virtual drinking buddies, and maybe your next potential employee or employer.
• Push harder. This past year was all about making it through one day at a time. Better days are here and ahead. Prove that you can beat your own expectations by taking on tough projects. Anyone can get an easy project across the finish line—even my toddlers can get something done with endless time and budget. Show you can deliver great ideas quicker than you expected and clients will notice. Excellence isn’t built in safe spaces. Safety breeds mediocrity.
What changes have you made to move forward, post-pandemic?
Brick Rucker is co-founder and executive creative director at Unfold