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There’s no subtle way to spin it – the last few months have been incredibly challenging for everyone. Employers, employees, clients, parents, students, children, essential service workers, the elderly, politicians; anyone and everyone has had their fortitude tested to its limits by COVID-19.

While business as usual hasn’t yet returned – and things may never return to exactly how they were pre-COVID-19 – as a society we are slowly and cautiously reacquainting ourselves with something that somewhat looks, smells and feels a little like, “business as usual”. 

 

Embracing business as unusual

Running your business in an isolated world is never easy. As a multi-disciplined marketing agency serving SME businesses in many industries, rising to the COVID-19 challenge has required us to let go of ‘business as usual’ and embrace ‘business as unusual’. To do so, we needed to forget about the certainties and ‘best practices’ of the past and embrace a cultural change. Instead, we have had to lean into new, yet-to-be fully tested approaches for how we would run our business and serve our clients.

But ‘business as unusual’ isn’t easy. Change is never easy and doing things differently can get some people a little flustered, and for good reason. It requires letting go of long-held beliefs, making space for new ways of thinking, and taking a leap of faith into the unknown.

At Icon Visual Marketing we have embraced the changes forced upon us and over recent months have seen how adapting to the new normal may offer new, long-term benefits for us and for our clients. We quickly adapted to business as unusual so we could continue to serve our clients. In some cases that meant upending how we engaged with some of our oldest clients, which has led to us taking a closer look at how we might collaborate and communicate differently moving forward.

We have embraced video conferencing for virtual meetings and platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have been extremely helpful for keeping us connected with our clients, and for keeping our internal teams connected. Our way of presenting to clients has changed, dramatically in some cases, and in many ways we are now more efficient – because we’ve had to be.

 

Moving forward during a crisis

During COVID-19 we have had new staff come on board, as well as new clients start working with us. An open, positive, and supportive frame of mind and a can-do attitude has helped us continue to serve our clients and do what we love over the last few months. And it has proven successful for our team, our business, and our clients.

We have kept our office open for staff who preferred to work in the office, while also setting up and supporting our staff to work from home. While remote working for the majority of staff isn’t an option for many businesses, we have been lucky to be able to offer it to most of our staff. We have seen many of our clients do the same too.

 

The changing nature of work

Because many businesses didn’t have any other choice but to offer remote working options for their teams, attitudes, and habits around the nature of work and where we do it have changed. And things may never go back to what they were.    

However, as anthropologist Dave Cook states, opinions from academics and the media are split on remote working. Some talk up the benefits: cutting out commutes, increasing quality family time and productivity and achieving a better work-life balance. Others believe that flexibility comes at a cost: losing social interaction, nuance and community, and potentially becoming less productive.

It’s true that remote working simply doesn’t work for all businesses – or for all employees in some businesses. As a business community, what we’ve seen in recent months is a look at how remote working could play out for businesses who can and are willing to offer it as an option. Regardless of what industry you work in or the size of your business, there are lessons here for all of us.

 

Learnings and looking beyond 2020

While the pandemic and isolation has been extremely challenging, it has forced all of us in business to creatively push onwards. As a business community we have embraced innovation and challenged our thinking around how we engage internally with our own team and externally with our clients.

Looking ahead, the learnings will guide us all long after COVID-19 passes and we are excited about formalising what we’ve learned into how we operate moving forward. We are inspired by seeing our clients and other businesses in the community doing the same and pivoting, rising to the challenge, and successfully navigating the path forward.

Need help with your COVID-19 exit strategy? Icon Visual Marketing is a multi-disciplined marketing agency in South West Sydney. Call us on 1300 138 984 and let’s work together to provide the right pathway to grow your business.