COVID-19 Learnings #1: Working Remotely

COVID-19 Learnings #1: Working Remotely

Here at AMIN Worldwide, we've had the privilege of learning from our colleagues around the globe on how their agencies are handling COVID-19. We're calling it COVID-19 LEARNINGS. We are actively collecting global weekly insights for sharing. This week’s inquiry was handling Working Remotely. Here are some of their insights:

1. Arnaud Debane, from Elson (China)

At Elson China in Beijing, the work from home situation has been going on for much longer than in other countries. Everyday, I video-conference with my staff members for 20 or 30 minutes. I keep track of the work load and tell them what lies ahead for the agency, and remind them the work we do have needs to be done well.  In terms of health and safety, I remind them to be super strict and don’t do things halfway.  If your staff doesn’t need to be in the office, then encourage them to work home. Staff who are stressed or uncomfortable being in the office are less likely to deliver for the clients. There’s a lot we can do with remote work these days, and it’s worth it.  In the future, employees will thank you.

2. Kendra Kelly, from Meyocks (USA)

At Meyocks, we are posting a Question of the Day (QotD) on Microsoft Teams. Last week, we asked people to share what they were having for lunch. For each person who shared a picture of their lunch, the agency donated to the Food Bank of Iowa. We then shared our lunch pictures on Facebook. You can see our post here.

Other QotD included:

  • What was your least favorite food as a child? Do you still hate it or do you love it now?
  • What’s one thing you’ve learned working from home? A technical skill or tip, something about your own work style, something about your co-workers, something about your family, something about society…
  • What’s your first executive order as King or Queen of the World? You have unlimited power to direct the actions of your subjects, but you can’t change the laws of nature.
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3. Lucie Pathmann, from Stone Ward (USA)

At Stone Ward, we start our weekly agency-wide staff meeting via Google Meet. This allows everyone to talk, share highlights, share issues some of our clients may be experiencing and get everyone involved. Our plan is to have everyone see their colleagues so they don’t feel quite so alone!

We start off with client highlights and then move to victories for staff. During our highlights we show new spots, internal videos, etc. so that everyone can see the work of the agency across both offices. 

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4. Gita Cīrule-Ostvalde, from Bounce Agency (Latvia)

Advertising workers know to cross the lines and change the rules. But here at Bounce Agency there are few rules we follow and one of them is: Stay at Home, People! Working from home, using various methods of communication, we even TALK to each other on phone! (as you know Latvians are introverts.) The best tool to keep our chins up is our WhatsApp group. We created it ages ago, before this virus hit the fan, and it has been always fun and easy.  In fact, staying apart from each other, as far apart as possible, we feel closer and more united than ever.

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5. Patrick Kopischkie, from Hoffman York (USA)

At Hoffman York, this marks the third week we’ve been working from home. In terms of meetings, we’re using a combination of Go To Meeting and Skype for video conferencing. We created a Facebook Group and invited employees to stay connected by sharing photos of their workspace. Our CEO reached out individually to employees to see how everything was going, and our culture department has been working on new and fun things to keep people engaged.  Those now include contests for  sharing photos and stories from the home front, and organizing a virtual Friday Happy Hours

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6. Marina Teushchakova, Freshmind (Russia)

At FreshMind, we use WhatsApp in addition to our regular calendar. Each morning meeting begins with cheerful news or pictures not related to the coronavirus.  We were used to going through the upcoming daily tasks, so we continue this tradition. The daily tasks are now set each day via messenger.  We are happy to report that in Russia now, many online educational courses are free, so we share the courses someone has found interesting and this has made our isolation more tolerable.

7. Raluca Crișan, from Vitrina Advertising (Romania)

At Vitrina Advertising, we believe in the power of leading by example and doing something useful for the community.  Recently, the self-motivated employees in the Production Department voluntarily worked many long hours producing hundreds of protective visors. The visors are being donated to area hospitals to protect those on the front lines: doctors and nurses. Our agency message is: Respect and help the medical staff, they are our day-to-day heroes!

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8. Kerry Beutel, from White64 (USA) 

At White64, we have a volunteer task force that generates ideas on how to “Keep Kids Occupied.”  They need to create fun activities for kids to do while at home. One recent idea was a design challenge for kids to create a T-Shirt for our Metro transit client.  Can they illustrate how using the metro actually promotes sustainability?

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10. Angi Wesson, from Trone Brand Energy (USA) 

TBE has kept our employees engaged and motivated a few different ways. We use Microsoft Teams to video conference with teams daily. We’ve asked our staff for home office images to share internally and on our social media channels. We have also implemented a WELGO challenge to keep employees active and healthy. WELGO is a wellness bingo card with multiple activities and eating healthy daily challenges. To keep us mentally healthy, we also have a monthly book club that was implemented before the social distancing was required, which is still going strong.

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11. Julia Santalucia, from ComOn (Portugal)

Here at comOn, we created #quarantinecam. Every day a new challenge is launched on the company’s channel (in this case we use Slack) and people must respond with a photo. For example: what does your home office look like? What do you see from your window? What is the state of emergency for you? The results are published on our instagram, originally called #empathycam.

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12. Marc van Bakel, from Campagne (The Netherlands)

At Campagne, remote working basically works. But without spontaneous/live interaction between colleagues, remote working is mostly about checking lists and progress.  We really look forward to having spontaneous personal interactions again.

Many thanks to all the members who participated in this article. Next week we will discuss a new COVID-19 topic: Brand Purpose – from words to actions, how brands can actually help COVID-19 situation? Stay and home and stay safe!