The corona virus is not only omnipresent in the media, but is also slowly but surely making its way into people's everyday working lives. In order to protect employees and thus also their own company, many companies are increasingly shifting work to the home office. This is also the case with Spina's Civil Voices. The Zurich agency, which specializes in NGOs, has sent its employees - with a few exceptions - home to work. How does that work? Werbewoche.ch talked to agency founder Lorenz Spinas.
Werbewoche.ch: Lorenz Spinas, what specifically prompted you to switch to a home office for the most part due to the corona virus?
Lorenz Spinas: The potential danger: one infected employee means: the whole agency in quarantine, dozens of missed delivery dates, in short: a scenario that would endanger our continued existence.
How was home office regulated at Spina's Civil Voices before the coronavirus?
Situationally and individually, maybe a third of the staff used this option from time to time. This was a big advantage during the radical change on Monday of this week, because it was nothing completely new for the team and the necessary communication tools were already tried and tested.
A core group of six people, arriving by private transport, remain at the agency. Voluntarily or are they "ordered" to hold the fort?
Absolutely voluntarily and free of any resentment. It was clear to everyone that we could only cope with this exceptional situation as a team. The thing that caused the most discussion was that no one was allowed to come to the agency by public transport because of the increased risk of infection.
Would it work if those six people went home too?
We try to avoid this as long as possible, because we will only gradually see whether we still need one or the other from the agency. For example, only the last two years of data are in the cloud. If needed, people in the agency can upload older data to the cloud more easily than through external access to the server in the basement. But we could also ensure the vast majority of this if everyone had to work from home.
How do you organise communication within the team and with customers?
We use three tools for communication: 1. Slack for internal project documentation, 2. Dropbox Business for data, 3. Whereby for meetings within the team and with clients.
And how does the exchange work?
The cooperation has worked very well so far, we are not experiencing any delays in the projects.
Which processes are more difficult when most employees work from home?
Many creatives prefer to sit together in an office for conceptualization rather than in front of a screen. Whether creativity suffers, we will see.
Do you also notice areas where home office offers advantages over stationary agency work?
"Perfect, now we have a 100 percent digitized agency in one fell swoop," said our digital strategist after the internal announcement.
Are there activities in the agency's day-to-day work - such as pitches - that cannot be carried out "remotely" and thus require the physical presence of the employees?
The willingness of customers to use video conferencing is currently very high. This could well be valid beyond the Corona phase. We have already been communicating with our customers in Germany in this way for the most part, because otherwise we would have to fly every time.
Is it possible for you to implement a campaign from A-Z via home office, should the Corona phase last longer?
If this crisis lasts longer, that must be possible. We assume that we would find a solution for everything except for the team spirit and the informal exchange in the corridors and in the kitchen. But a lean period of a few months in this respect would not be a problem either.
Home office is not everyone's cup of tea - you have to be "made" for it and have the necessary self-discipline. How well equipped is your team in this regard?
It's a matter of getting used to it, but the high level of motivation in our team helps.
Is the creative industry - compared to other industries - well suited for home offices?
The people who work in communications like to get involved with new things, so they have the best prerequisites.
How long do you continue home office?
No one knows what will happen next, including us.
Once the corona virus is sat out and off the table, will you return to the usual agency routine or are there things you carry over from the home office period, if applicable?
We are already a different agency today after three days than we were a week ago. What has proven itself in this crisis, we will probably continue in one form or another.