- Exercise. I am convinced one of the positives that will come out of the Covid-19 lockdown is a healthier ‘life-embracing’ creative community. The sheer need to get out of the house has driven many of us to take up running, cycling, powerwalking, anything. Some do it for the fresh air, some for the me-time, some to dodge the horror of home-schooling bored children and the fear of online chemistry quizzes. If my household is anything to go by, we are all at it. Whatever the reason and whether it be outdoor solo HIIT circuits or zoom yoga, if the creative agency world emerges more toned, energised and healthier this must be a good thing. It’s that or liver failure to be honest.
- Technology. What’s not to love. From Microsoft teams and Zoom to WhatsApp Chat, Houseparty and TikTok – we all appreciate seeing clients, candidates and colleagues (and the insides of their houses) and be honest – who doesn’t enjoy watching students kick loo-rolls round the country. It’s fair to say technology has kept us amused, perhaps even sane, and has come to the rescue of our business. It’s amazing how quickly we have all adopted it and how well it works. Meetings happen, and on time. We collaborate and decisions get made. Work gets created and delivered. Communication is far better even though we are geographically distant. We are more polite and more respectful of each other. Personally, I am loving the technology, and for anyone that knows me at all that is quite a statement. The young ones in Grace Blue will be on the floor laughing now.
- THE NHS. The public outpouring of love for the NHS is a wonderful thing to see. The rainbows, the 5k runs, the doorstep clapping, banging of saucepans and singing Jerusalem lifts us up and makes us proud. Woe betide any government that suggests any spending cutbacks in the next 20 years. One of the few good things that should come out of this crisis is that our NHS is vital to us, we all love it and need to protect it. And a special thank you to St Luke’s and Mullen Lowe for their creative comms in support of our awesome doctors, nurses and care-workers.
1.What we need is different to what we have. Every household in the UK, in true Blitz spirit, has vowed to de-clutter. Neatly ordered condiments cupboards are now devoid of the 10-year-old jar of spice only Yotam Ottolenghi knows what to do with. Tupperware stashes have been sorted and anything without a lid has been ruthlessly dispatched to the recycling.I’m sure some agencies are undertaking the same spring-cleaning to make sure they have what they need for the future rather than assume they need all they have. It’s going to be weird new world out there when we get back – let’s all get ready for that.
2.Remote and flexi-working works and could galvanise a broader workforce. The industry often bemoans the loss of skilled, talented people that find the long office hours incompatible with family or personal lives. Large work forces mean large and costly workspaces. Could the post Covid-19 world finally mean a shift to a whole new era of virtual offices, remote teams and real flexibility? Where experience and wisdom are valued and not lost? Where work is delivered without everyone having to be always in the office? And importantly where a more diverse workforce can be found round the country.
3. In this case it is to remember. Actions speak louder than words (excuse an old cliché). Hearing news like Morrisons and Unilever fast tracking payment to smaller suppliers shows class in a crisis. P+G maintaining Adspend shows commitment to brands and their agencies. 750,000 people volunteering for the NHS. The young doing shopping for the elderly and vulnerable. The nation abiding by the social-distancing rules but still smiling at total strangers tells us there is heart left in the modern world. Doing something good does feel good. This isn’t true of all, and agencies or companies using the crisis to delay or renege on agreements should give themselves a long hard look in the mirror. Customers have long memories
- The neighbourhood spy-watch. There’s keeping an eye out for our neighbours and friends and then there is over-zealous monitoring of what is going on down the street. So, what if some are ordering Uber-Eats deliveries 3 times a week, or if No. 4 has resorted to house brand wine boxes Let’s not be too judgy as we get through this crisis. And let’s stop watching the young things down-dogging on their balconies (you know this is just voyeurism).
- At home haircuts. Oh dear. Do I detect a new trend emerging which I fear is damaging the sartorial elegance rep of the creative community? Whilst the young hipsters amongst us are rejoicing in their flowing locks, Leo Sayer curls and lavish beards, there are some that have recklessly grabbed the dog clippers and embarked on a buzz cut. There is creativity and then there is madness. All sharp hair cutting equipment should come with a hazard warning – please keep away from children….and middle-aged Ad men. Step forward Tim Lindsay I am proud to say the females of the species have been more pragmatic, have ditched the make-up, adopted the handy ponytail and taken to staying in their gym kit all day. Respect ladies.
One final note. Much as Zoom meetings and WFH has served us well, it will be nice to be in the same space as colleagues again, soon I hope. And I will be wearing my comedy lama slippers.
Take care, keep well and most of all, keep sane everyone.