We shut the Stand office and started to work remotely nearly four weeks ago. Twenty people scattered across the country, rather than in an open plan office in WC1. It’s this change in environment I’ve found the toughest. For an extrovert, who gets their energy from others, I’ve found the need to call, video or text, rather than wander and talk, quite exhausting. Not just at work, but with family and friends. I miss the interaction, the noise, the physical presence of others. I’ve had to entertain myself, rather than get my buzz from people and activities around me. But I’ve learnt that I don’t need to be ‘busy’ all the time. That drive to ‘use every moment’ and ‘live life to the full’ comes from me, and I am not sure what it achieves. I definitely don’t want to self-isolate on a permanent basis, but it is OK to do nothing sometimes.
So this is the start of the new normal https://t.co/CsoPrllHmO
— laura oliphant (@dreamingNYC) March 17, 2020
Working alone has also given me more time to think. I wish I could say I’ve used it all positively. Like everyone I’ve questioned how everything changed so rapidly and why. I concluded it’s to create something better. A big warning sign from the world that we need to change; to be more considerate to the planet, more caring to others and more appreciative to those that give for a living. Do we need to fly and drive to see the world, or travel to an office to work? Shouldn’t we always think about the impact of our actions on others? And why should we only applaud the NHS and other essential services in crisis? Shouldn’t we thank them every day?
Way before our timelines were filled with coronavirus, we examined Stand’s positioning. An evolution of our founding vision, we knew we wanted to work with clients who believe in better, who want to create positive social change or offer their customers something improved. Maybe this exceptional experience will make us all believe in better and do our bit to make it happen.
— Stand Agency (@standsays) April 14, 2020
The other big learning for me, is seeing how quickly we all adapt. In just a few weeks, exams, school, holidays, social plans and a marathon were cancelled, I stopped seeing family and friends and had to make tough decisions when it came to the agency’s strategy and budget. It would have been easy to focus on what we can’t do and what has to stop, but instead we celebrate each small achievement and make plans for life after lockdown. We find new ways to stay in touch, to feel like a team and even to teach PE. Daily exercise never felt so good and cooking from the store cupboard never more creative. It’s this ability to adapt that will see us through, and these new skills that will help us all create something better.
Now for my evening glass of wine. That’s one of my lockdown indulgences I probably shouldn’t keep the other side.