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When COVID-19 was yet to reach South African shores, we started transparent conversations with our team around the impact of the virus and introduced broader health and sanitization procedures within our Studio. However, in light of last night’s announcement by President Ramaphosa, infection rates increasing locally, and multiple countries going into lock-down, it has given rise to some difficult conversations and decisions by businesses as we start to see, not only major health effects but also the financial impact this will have on businesses locally and abroad.

For us, like many, the health and safety of our staff and clients are paramount. But the challenge of how to navigate trade during a time of widespread illness, or even the potential risk of a forced lock-down, has necessitated the need to put our creative “thinking caps” on to find an alternative working solution that will allow us to keep business going effectively and as uninterrupted as possible, while also looking after the well-being of our employees and those we service.

Luckily, as a digital agency with 20+ staff, the transition to a virtual Studio is much easier than for most.

Here are some of the action points we are already implementing, and some that will take effect in the event of a forced municipal or countrywide lockdown:

Communication

This is key. Our first action point this morning was to touch base with our team and ensure that we are all aligned and on the same page. During these times of uncertainty, (and sometimes panic), it is really important that we realise that we are all in this together. As a team, it is our vision to remain true and constant in our efforts of working to help our clients achieve their goals. Now, more than ever, it is important that our staff and clients know that we are all working as a team with a single-minded goal to weather these unchartered territories together.

Hygiene and Sanitisation

We have implemented some new cleaning measures in our Studio and have stocked up on cleaning and sanitisation products to ensure that our staff have access, and the ability to regularly keep their hands and working spaces clean.

Educational material and links have also been shared to ensure that everyone is aware of the recommended health and safety precautions.

Relocation

Our staff will be working off-site (from home) in the case of a lockdown. We are implementing a trial run this week to allow for an opportunity to test and measure the successes, and any shortcomings, of remote working. This is to ensure that we can operate as efficiently as possible and continue to deliver our creative solutions to clients and their brands quickly and effectively in the case of a lockdown. With so many things out of our control, being proactive and having a plan in place that we can control is important (and comforting).

*Tip: Make sure that you contact your insurance company and notify them of any location changes with your equipment in the event that you have to work remotely.

Software and Systems

Scoro

Our Studio already uses task scheduling software to ensure that we can track, schedule and monitor tasks accurately within any given day, week and month. Luckily, this makes working remotely that much easier.

WhatsApp

We have a very active Studio WhatsApp group that is continually filled with hilarious gifs and banter. This is a great way to keep in touch while working remotely and maintain our company culture, even from afar.

Slack

Some of our in-Studio departments have already been using this software, but we are now implementing this company-wide for the purpose of ensuring effective work-related communications while working from home, should the need arise.

*Tip: Be sure to do a team alignment and training session prior to implementing any new software or programmes, and before the need arises to work remotely. This will help to alleviate inevitable teething issues, if like us, you generally all work from one shared office space.

Virtual Calls

Meetings, from today, are being replaced with Skype, Zoom calls and Google Hangouts.

*Bonus: We are decreasing our carbon footprint

Getting (even more) Creative

COVID-19 will impact our businesses, that is an inevitability, but it also offers the opportunity for us to relook at some of our systems and company behaviours and find new and improved offerings and service options for our clients. Our teams are working closely with our clients amid the recent presidential announcement to find new (even more) creative ways of ensuring that their businesses not only stay afloat but thrive over the coming months.

Keep the Good Vibes Going

In a time of uncertainty and stress, it is super-important to keep the energy up and our team motivated. Celebrate all the wins, no matter how big or small, and be cheerleaders for each other. We are resilient and powerful, together!

“Fellow South Africans, this is the most definitive Thuma Mina moment for our country. I have great trust that our people will respond positively to this call to common action. This epidemic will pass. But it is up to us to determine how long it will last, how damaging it will be, and how long it will take our country and our economy to recover. It is true that we are facing a grave emergency. But if we act together, if we act now, and if we act decisively, we will overcome it.” – President Cyril Ramaphosa

We would love to hear from you!

What are you doing with your team and business amid the COVID-19 outbreak? We would love you to share how you are navigating these uncertain times and what steps you are putting in place to keep your businesses thriving.

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