What our agency has learned from #TeleworkingTogether
Today marks 115 days of full-time remote work at our agency. It’s sometimes too surreal to think about our lives three-plus months ago, but as we continue moving forward in an uncertain future, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on what the rocky road of teleworking has done for our team, our clients, and the future of COHN Marketing.
When the lockdown was first announced, COHN, like most businesses across the country, swiftly packed up our desks, said a temporary goodbye to our office, and said “Hello” to the new normal of a global pandemic.
We welcomed the blunders of setting up Zoom calls and even found enjoyment in personalizing our makeshift home offices. But a few weeks into our #WFHLife, we began to realize this wasn’t a passing trend to tolerate, but a necessary tool for our companies survival.
In the following paragraphs, we breakdown the trials and errors that have helped us to develop a teleworking process that keeps our agency successful now and into the future.
The “Waterfall” Brainstorm
Founded on the belief that every interaction matters, COHN is collaboration. Above all else, we pride ourselves on having an integrated agency whose diverse perspectives can lead to greater insights for our clients. But transitioning our all-hands-on-deck team to a virtual brainstorm… was more like a brain stump.
Everyone too afraid to talk over one another, so instead, we just stayed quiet. A screen of blank, empty faces staring into the abyss. In an instant, our collective talent was stripped away by the unfamiliar space of virtual communication. We needed to adapt.
Knowing that a great idea doesn’t come from thin air, we created a brainstorming process that could help every thought flow into the next. How does this work you ask? It starts with just that: a question.
In a shared document, one team member will kick-off the brainstorm with a ‘What if’ prompt. What follows is completely up to the imaginative spirit of our team. And just like a waterfall, every single stream of thought builds into a rushing opportunity for our client.
Good Day Weekly Round-Up
If John Krasinski taught us anything amid a pandemic, it’s that everyone could use some good news. COHN took that value to heart and decided to introduce our very own weekly recap series, delivered by our very own Lisa Wieting, that covers the following feel-good topics.
- Video Call of the Week: Celebrating the hilarity that comes from virtual communication.
- Opportunity in Crisis Award: Spotlighting the team member(s) that went above and beyond for their clients. Even if that means throwing together a 400+ person webinar in three days (shout-out Kelly Behm).
- Our Weekly Zen: Sharing the meditative activities that help our teammates relax and refocus such as this ‘2020 WFH Jams’ Spotify playlist from Account Director Leigh Ann Bauer.
- The Bulletin Board: Our chance to highlight the amazing talent of our team, both on and off the clock. Such as our Senior Brand Director, CJ Powell, penning a gripping letter to recent college graduates as they face a Post-COVID workforce.
- Faith in Humanity Moment: Our constant reminder that even in a strange world, there is good to be found and moments to be celebrated. After promoting his restaurant for our #TakeoutTogether initiative, owner Mikey sent us this heartfelt video message.
While the Good Day summaries ignite and inspire our team to continue another successful week of WFH, we were still lacking the importance of an open, honest conversation with our co-workers.
Pre-COVID, our office would partake in daily coffee runs to stretch our legs, share a laugh, and reflect on our workloads. Now, in our remote offices, those micro-moments were lost and so were our connections.
It was clear. COHN had to stay together as a culture, and as a company.
Now, we begin every company meeting with a ‘Business & Personal Best’ section that allows every employee to share their recent highlights with the team. Our CEO, Jeff Cohn, has committed to calling every employee for one-on-one chats throughout the week. And our team effortlessly shifted lunch meetings and coffee chats to Zoom so we can stay social, from a distance.
Despite being more independent than ever, the success of our agency depends on our collaborative nature. We rely on each other to ideate, create, and make things happen for our team members and clients. As our remote lives continue, and our world keeps changing, COHN stands ready to adapt, learn, and grow so that once we do return together, our team is ready to serve your business’s greatest challenges.