19
Mar
Grace French

A year of working from home

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How we’ve adapted, what we’ve learnt, and what will change

Like so many others, I remember the surreal afternoon of 16th March 2020 very clearly. At Stand HQ, we were gathered around our TV watching Boris Johnson urge the nation to start working from home immediately.

At the time, it was assumed we’d be a ‘WFH nation’ for a few weeks. But fast-forward a year and our dining tables are still our desks, our lounges are our offices, and our pets make regular guest appearances on video calls.

In a year where time has (almost) lost all meaning, we’ve been reflecting on what a full year of working from home has meant to us, not only as colleagues, but also as a nation.

It’s been a year of fundamental change that’s prompted governments, industries, businesses and individuals to evolve out of necessity, but also to reflect on what really matters. It’s been a reset button that we never could have planned for, but that we have to act on.

So, as lockdown restrictions gradually lift (third time lucky) and offices begin to re-open, we’ll be enthusiastically returning to a “new different” rather than a “new normal.”

Here are our key learnings and reflections from a year like no other:

Adapt quickly, stay flexible

We work on laptops so could adapt immediately to WFH. But of course, there were teething problems to overcome, with WFH environments varying greatly. Our serviced office has remained open and Covid-compliant, but recognising that everyone has individual personal and commuting circumstances, we couldn’t rely on this as a solution for all.

A quickfire investment in screens, office chairs, keyboards and headsets ensured we could all work from home effectively. Looking forward, we’re now set up for greater flexibility, and productive working, both at the office and from home.

Quality, not quantity communication

The transition to WFH is a major one at the best of times. But during a time of significant confusion, emotion, and concern, it had to be managed sensitively. Keeping colleagues connected and avoiding isolation, without overwhelming our diaries with meetings and socials, was a delicate balance to strike. Over time we found the perfect balance: a weekly company meeting, wellness-focused session, 1-2-1 coffee catch up, and a fun activity (needle-felting, pub quizzes, jazzercize, laughter yoga – you name it, we’ve done it!).

We’ll be adapting this model as we head back into the office, and continuing to dedicate time to celebrating success, alongside prioritising wellbeing and creativity. 

Read more “A year of working from home”

11
Jan
Grace French

We Believe that ‘Better’ is on the horizon – so we’re helping brands get there

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Why we’re joining forces with LONDON Advertising and Pimento to offer reduced fees for new clients in January.

As the reality of lockdown 3.0 sets in, and with conversations already taking place about it being extended ‘til Easter, it can be all too easy to feel gloomy about 2021. Wasn’t it meant to be ‘better’ than 2020?

The sense of unease amongst individuals and businesses is all too understandable. But with vaccines being rolled out, ‘better’ is coming – and in the meantime we as a nation we must strive to come out of January with an energy and optimism to see us through the coming months.

In a year of lockdown and decreased interaction, communication has proven itself to be a lifeline for many. Relationships between many brands and their consumers have been cemented or shattered in a tense landscape.

Over the next few months, we will see more brands examining their positioning and their purpose, the changes they want to make happen, and how this fits into a post-Covid world. With a collective sense that there are lessons to be learnt from the pandemic – both positive and negative – this time of introspection is critical, and will lay the groundwork for more meaningful comms going forward.

Read more “We Believe that ‘Better’ is on the horizon – so we’re helping brands get there”

16
Sep
Grace French

Believe in Better: Insight and inspiration from industry leaders

Posted by Grace French

Back in July this year we spoke to Steve Swayne, Chair of the Institute for Turnaround – a membership organisation of highly trained professionals in business turnaround and transformation.

In this episode we discuss the work the IFT does in helping struggling businesses go from distress to success.

With thousands of businesses battling to survive during and beyond the pandemic, it’s crucial to understand how vital the work that turnaround professionals do and how their skills can potentially save thousands of businesses from insolvency and make them viable again.

Watch this space for future episodes of Believe in Better with more inspiring thought leaders from our network.

To learn more about Stand Agency, work with or collaborate with us, please email ask@standagency.com. Follow us on Twitter @standsays

04
May
Grace French

During lockdown, the power of a book is even more profound

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In our second year working with the prestigious Women’s Prize for Fiction, we’ve found ourselves pitching the story to the press in amongst an incredibly unpredictable and competitive media landscape. Headlines are rightfully dominated by news around the ever-evolving coronavirus pandemic, and media outlets are increasingly offering support and guidance to the public on how to navigate our temporary ‘new normal’.

Read more “During lockdown, the power of a book is even more profound”

17
Jul
Grace French

Breaking the taboo with the launch of a new helpline

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Being a victim of a fraud or a scam isn’t the easiest topic to tackle – no one likes thinking that they might have done something ‘wrong’ or been ‘caught out’. Which is why we jumped at the opportunity to support the launch of a new service to make having these conversations easier, and to break the taboo around what is the most common crime in England and Wales.

To launch the Reassura helpline, we developed an integrated PR, social and digital campaign around the concept of breaking the taboo when it comes to talking about fraud and scams. Everyone has a story to tell – so why aren’t people doing so? And what is the impact of this silence?

Read more “Breaking the taboo with the launch of a new helpline”

21
Oct
Grace French

Disruptor brands – an industry challenge or an opportunity?

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Recently an article by Ian Griggs in PR Week caught my eye. It was about challenger brands being considered the biggest potential ‘crises’ in the eyes of established players. I, and several of those quoted in the article, thought it was a bit strong to label market disruption a crisis. Jim Hawker’s comments resonated the strongest with me, saying that “the best way to respond is to innovate today rather than scramble to respond tomorrow”.

Read more “Disruptor brands – an industry challenge or an opportunity?”

03
Mar
Grace French

Changing behaviour? It’s all in the mind

Posted by Grace French

This week I’m attending Ecobuild, the sustainable design, construction and energy event and a quick look at the conference programme got me thinking. There’s an intriguing session called ‘Unlocking environmentally responsible behaviour – can mindfulness help us make the change?’ I’m by no means a mindfulness expert but my understanding is that it’s a technique to improve life through increased awareness of the here and now. Could a more ‘in the moment’ appreciation of our world help promote less environmentally damaging behaviour? And if so, could mindfulness be a useful tool for wider communications and campaigning? Read more “Changing behaviour? It’s all in the mind”