What has the move to remote working and reliance on video meant for communication? What challenges are creative business leaders encountering and what are they discovering in meeting them?
I spoke with two agency leaders, Jayne Mayled of True Story in Nottingham and Charlie Butterfield of fst in Marlow who shared their experiences.
Mayled highlights the difference in the cadence of a day spent on video, “Before, there was some light and shade to the day, with maybe phone calls, emails, dropping by someone’s desk, meetings, internal and external.” Moving between these would usually involve some kind of shift, often physical. “There is a break created by the change in setting”. She describes the “Zoom day being more of a shift or slide from one place to the next, only it’s not a physical shift.” Both Butterfield and Mayled’s comments highlight the risk of video fatigue, and something they’ve addressed by paying attention to the volume and arrangement of the calls.
Butterfield describes “a part of my role is to introduce an element of challenge into the conversation. When we’re all in the studio working together, the time for this, the moment, when it happens is organic. It arises out of the situation. It feels right. On video, finding this moment is tougher. There’s no appointment or meeting reminder that can replicate it. And if it’s forced it risks being robotic, ill-timed and potentially harmful. The challenge for us is to find these natural breakthrough moments, when we can be honest and there’s an ease and easiness with the interrogation of the idea.”
New discipline Butterfield notices that “there is more discipline with diaries. And more discipline with time. Meetings start on time. We use the starting time as a lasoo for ourselves. We keep to meetings, we arrive on time as a group and we’re looped up and drawn together. And they tend not to overrun. We control the ending and discuss their continuation more consciously, someone might say ‘we’re getting somewhere here, can we find some more time later?” Mayled also observes a change in approach to meetings, noticing “a more orderly approach. We start on time. We’re also more disciplined about going through the items on the agenda.”
Butterfield notes that since their return to the studio “it feels the period of trusting each other to work out of sight has benefited my work. Before the remote working, I would be over the work. Anything I was in ‘ear-splash’ of, I could and would pick up and input on. The period of not having access to that has helped me get out of the way. In doing so, I’ve got out of my own way. And this stepping away from the work has given me more time to work on the agency.”
Would you like to be supported improve your use of video communication? Perhaps I can help. For an informal chat about how coaching could help you get there, get in touch here.