Like many companies we have been away for a long time, over a year working from home makes real creative project collaboration quite difficult. The sort of collaboration where you sit together acting out an animation idea, or stick post-it notes across a wall to map a strategy. Creative working with content, digital with animation. Every day agency stuff.
Disrupted creative flow leads to a lack of momentum, or worse, inertia. Agency projects work best when they are moving, adapting, anticipating and delivering. The uncertainly around Covid and resulting disrupted workflow was a threat to this way of working that became noticeable over time.
So far so good.
Time away gives you time to reflect. We made a number of really big changes following these lockdown reflections. We now have a four-day work week and our Punch profit-share scheme for example. At one point we thought hard about our home, we wondered if it has become a white elephant almost overnight. We had moved to agile working pretty well, invested in new kit to help things work more efficiently, the sun was shining, things were going ok.
Creative ideas flow better together
Slowly that novelty wore off of course. We knew that we weren’t doing our best work. Little niggles would crop up due to annoying comms issues or misunderstandings over this and that. You can’t have that easy understanding that someone is stuck on something just by glancing across the room – if they aren’t in the room.
The problem was our work is collaborative and based on ideas. Collaboration and ideas are organic, they bounce around off each other and become better due to the input of the wider team who contribute to the mix. Yes, people can go off in isolation and work on a piece of copy, an edit or some brand creative, but too much of that becomes a bit one dimensional.
I don’t want to sound old fashioned, but…
At this time everyone was celebrating this new modern agile work culture, and to be fair, we were too. Mainly because we were happy to be just coping after so much uncertainty. Big brands were making statements about the death of the office, sales of those garden studios went through the roof. At the same time we became more certain that a large part of our client benefit is built around the sum of our parts working together to provide a full brand perspective.
What does agile even mean?
Of course this is different for everyone. For us, agile isn’t one set thing, it is agile to suit: working and thinking agile in a way that best suits our client. If that means mini project teams working off-site to focus on a campaign, we do that. If it means the team being together to work through a brand activation plan, we do that. But most of all to Punch, agile means creating a constantly adaptive solution to our client strategy that best fits today, knowing that next week might be different…that’s agile for us.