Better together

26/03/2020 12:09:41
Senior account executive Leanne Kirtley takes a look at what we've learned from week one of daily team video calls.

If you’re anything like us, your inbox will be full to the brim right now with COVID-19 updates from every brand you’ve ever interacted with. And while it can be reassuring to find out how your favourite sushi restaurant is handling the latest government advice, what you shouldn’t neglect is to check in with the people you’re probably missing the most right now: your co-workers. 

With distance working rightfully hitting unprecedented levels following Boris Johnson’s plea for us all to stay home, it’s important to not to neglect the people you usually spend the vast majority of your day communicating with. A regular day in the office for us has always included team meetings, catch-ups over cups of tea and chats about last night’s TV, and without even realising it the entire nation has overnight gone from talking to our colleagues constantly to suddenly feeling a little cut off. 

Which is why we’ve never been more grateful for the help of technology, with words like ‘Zoom’, ‘Google Hangout’ and our choice ‘Microsoft Teams’ now entering everyone’s daily vocabulary. Of course, with that comes a selection of mishaps that have been posted across the internet for everyone to see.
Lessons from lockdown

The Partners Group got off to a flying start during our inaugural Monday morning Microsoft Teams video conference. From muted microphones and shadowy faces to children wandering through the background while cats wandered through the foreground, we felt as though we ticked just about every box in a game of ‘video call bingo’.

Advice for virtual meetings

Learning from Monday’s mistakes, we’ve since hit our stride and would humbly like to offer our advice to any teams facing similar hurdles for the next few weeks:

  1. Appoint someone as chair of the meeting, aka the bossy one who gets to tell people when to talk. Otherwise things descend into a cloud of ‘sorry, can you repeat that?’ very fast.
  2. Take some time to talk about something other than work. You’ll have been missing your lunchtime kitchen catch-ups and you have simply GOT to know if anyone is watching Tiger King on Netflix…
  3. … but try not to let the conversation stray too much. As tempting as it is to endlessly compare living room d├ęcor after seeing no other human faces for 24 hours, try to rein it in before an hour has passed and you’re still complimenting curtains.
  4. Nothing is too small or unimportant to mention. Remember: on a regular day you’d trade thousands of words with your co-workers, so take the opportunity to bring up anything that’s on your mind or suggest a one-to-one call afterwards to go over the finer details
  5. And finally. Try to have a little fun! Laugh at your boss’s Madonna-esque headset, tease the vain sod who can’t stop fixing her hair for the camera, and why not do as we are and schedule a Friday night debrief/virtual trip to the pub, complete with the tipple of your choice?

Some positives from lockdown

They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder, but that person didn’t have to contend with a malfunctioning webcam or a missing laptop charger. For many businesses, the learning curve will have been steep this month, but we hope that you’re able to take some positives away from this situation.

For us it’s been a great reminder of the power of teamwork, that we’re always there for each other if needed and that no amount of distance between us can take away the reasons we worked so well together in the first place: our drive and creativity. 

Until next time, take care of each other! In the meantime, we're just an email, phone or video call away if there's anything we can help you with.

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