June 10, 2021

The future of operations and how we collaborate

Erin Morris

VP, Client Operations

Everyone remembers that day in March, 2020, when we had to pack up our stuff and head home for what we thought was short-term work from home. Weeks turned into months and months turned into a year. Now we’re here, 14+ months later in our new normal, preparing for yet another new normal. 

One thing I know for certain is that we won’t be going back to what it once was. We have adjusted and learned a lot through this. Like what we miss, what we can’t live without, and the things we once thought we couldn’t live without we now know we can. 

Anyone familiar with agency life knows culture and energy is everything. The energy brings ideas. The culture keeps us going. These are key reasons why most choose the agency side. How do we bring back those watercooler moments? How do we keep the energy? This is the number one element that can easily be forgotten in the remote working world, but the number one thing that can impact and hinder productivity and creativity. We all need to stay engaged and inspired.

This pandemic certainly challenged us to keep our culture and energy alive at Curiosity. We have a passionate group, but we know attitude is everything. So, to keep our culture alive despite the challenges of the pandemic, we’ve had to get creative with it. We have done everything from re-evaluation how we conduct 1:1s to Cameo messages from Snoop Dog letting our teams know how great they are doing. 

There was a time where many in the ad industry, especially creatives, couldn't imagine working remotely. How do you collaborate? Collaboration has certainly changed this past year. Remember, the visual definition of collaboration was a group physically together around a table...collaborating.

I recently attended a session at SXSW with Scott Bansky, Adobe Chief Product Officer, who talked a lot about forcing function. This pandemic has forced us to be more resourceful. We’ve learned to iron out the mundane to allow more time to be creative. Adobe has always been focused on this in their product offering and the need has only increased during the pandemic. 

Being more resourceful hasn't just impacted creative teams, everyone has been pushed into this welcome or not. Building relationships through a screen has taken on a whole new meaning. Whiteboarding looks different, where we are using resources like Miro. Check-ins are at times more mindful and planned, and other times it's just a quick call via Slack. Big meetings and video shoots are now done remotely. 

It wasn’t just about surviving, we’ve been forced to work smarter. And, we now can see a different way to work that we couldn’t even have imagined before.

Still, the billion dollar question is what will our new normal look like when this is all “over”? The easiest answer is that it won’t look like it did before and it shouldn’t! We need to take the good we’ve learned and not lose it. We also need to bring back what we have missed. This is where we prioritize. This is where we have to remember this time and continue to push ourselves like the pandemic pushed us to operate differently. This is how we move forward and grow and succeed.

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