What have we learned from 2020?

The Corona pandemic has changed many things: how we work, how we communicate with each other, and also how we handle our clients’ needs. Our working environment changed from one day to another, and we’ve been working from home since March with just a few days in the office during summer when it was safe. So, we thought that with 2020 coming to an end — finally — it would be a good idea to share with you some thoughts and learnings we’ve gathered from both business and personal perspectives.

New circumstances, same performance

We can proudly say that we had some big and exciting projects this year. Nevertheless, keeping up the same levels of performance has been a challenge. From the very start it was clear we needed to make some changes in the ways we communicated internally, since what would previously have been obvious in a face-to-face interaction was not necessarily the case when remote working, and this could create misunderstandings. Optimizing internal communication is key to ensuring the success of projects, and it can improve overall employee satisfaction too through frequent feedback and increased interaction between team members. So, this was the first thing we had to change.

The second revelation: we realized quickly that consumer behaviour was changing fast. The pandemic introduced some new dynamics that needed to be taken in consideration from a marketing perspective. For example, it became much more important for a brand to show clearly the human side behind it. It seems the pandemic stirred the emotional sides of many people, who responded more positively to a brand that showed compassion and provided peace of mind. As a consequence, marketing strategies had to be adapted or completely reworked to meet our clients´ and their customers’ new needs. And it was also the year of social media, which became even more powerful. According to Statista there was a significant increase in social media engagement globally, which necessitated new and highly creative engagement ideas to support our clients´goals. If it were ever in doubt, the crisis confirmed the relevance of social and digital media channels and demonstrated their power to boost brand awareness and sales.

There’s no “I” in “team”.

In the frenetic environment we were in, it was easy to forget that people working remotely need more than just tasks to be assigned and meetings to attend. You must not neglect team spirit, which is naturally easier to maintain in the office by simply asking colleagues how they are or grabbing a coffee or lunch together. But when working remotely this doesn’t come naturally, and it is why we decided to have a daily morning “how are you today?” call, in which everyone would share their thoughts and worries. This helped the team members feel less isolated and reconfirmed that we were there to support each other.

The other new development earlier this year was the emergence of virtual after-work drinks. Although not organized on a daily basis, we do have limits, we found that having an end-of-the-week drink worked best. There we could let go of the stress accumulated during the previous days, evaluate how the week went, and have a laugh together.

Last but least, our co-founders often took the time to talk to each of us personally to see how we were doing and even sent surprises home. Who doesn’t love surprises?It all comes down to empathy. Being able to take the time to show your employees that you care about them isn’t always a given, especially in the startup reality, where things are dynamic and there’s no HR team.

Remote work is here to stay

Despite what many people were fearing, studies show that home office has increased employees’ productivity. The reasons behind this can be many: having to show employers that their performance wasn’t affected by the general situation, more comfortable environment with less interruptions or not having to commute. The fact is, home office proved to be efficient. So, what does this mean for the future of work? Will remote work be partially integrated after the pandemic?

It goes without saying that if companies decide to keep this flexible option, they will have access to a greater talent pool that isn’t restricted by geographical areas and those who normally commute can save time and money. In addition to this, remote work can help employees who have disabilities. In short, if you can offer great working conditions and flexibility, you will attract better talent and increase employee retention.

Conclusions

What an unusual year! Our work and personal lives changed in a way we could have never imagined. It seems counterintuitive but social distancing actually brought us all closer together. We learned to communicate better and more efficiently, and also learned how to interact with each other virtually — be it on a professional or on a personal level. We are very proud of how we handled the unexpected new normal, the creative work that we were able to produce, and the high degree of flexibility we have all shown. Cheers to our team and to the cool new projects awaiting us in 2021! We’re ready!

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The Relevance House

The Relevance House

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We’re a full-service marketing agency for the blockchain and emerging technology sectors. Building, designing and delivering relevant brands and stories.