Lockdown Learnings – staff, clients and twins

By Caroline Coskry

Every business has seen significant change over the last few months and Oracle is no exception to this.  I took the decision to close the office on the morning of the day Boris announced we were locked down.  The reason?  I would love to say I assessed the business and the climate and came to a scientific conclusion. But no, at 5am on Monday 23rd March I saw news that McDonalds was closing its doors, so came to the conclusion the rest of the bigger brands would follow and perhaps the Government had put pressure on them to do so.  So, we closed the office doors, and all embarked on ‘working from home’, which I wasn’t quite looking forward to.  Then Boris locked us down.

 

Many who know me, know I like to plan but at the same time I also like a challenge, so quite sadly my response to lockdown was to look at it as opportunity.  Every day for the first two weeks of lockdown, I spent learning. TEAMS, ZOOM, to furlough or not to furlough, webinars, what staff want, what clients want, what journalists want, the behavioural changes of consumers and what they want and where they are consuming their news from.  And with almost two-year-old twin girls with an attention span of a gnat between them chatting around my conference calls, it was certainly a new sort of challenge.

It wasn’t until our fantastic business mentor, Joe Hinton, who delivered us almost daily updates with advice and Government announcements, said to me ‘what we all must learn in this situation is to accept it’.  Something so simple, said at precisely the right time made me take a slight pause, a breath to consider, review and reshape.

What I learned about staff

Everyone had their own situation at home, whether they had children, moved to a new house during lockdown, lived with parents etc, so Joe was quite right, the first thing was to accept that everyone had something to deal with personally.

Communication – this was key to ensure everyone felt included but also supported.

Flexibility – essential for staff to feel they could do the Joe Wicks workout or help children with homework while also getting through their work commitments.

Trust – I try to see the good in people, but I don’t always trust them. This showed me how much I can trust staff to work from home and how committed they are to get the job done.

A little give – At a time when most are struggling with something, a little give is incredibly important.  Let the small things go and show support.  With that in mind, I created ‘care package bags’ for staff, full of goodies and essentials and enlisted my wonderful other half to deliver them, he was keen to get out of the house….

What I learned about clients

We work with some great clients, who really care about our business and our staff. I’ve had some great conversations over the last few months with one client saying, ‘you have a cracking business Caroline; your team really are Premier league’.

Insight – this has been essential to keep our business going.  During this period we have kept communicating with clients and bringing them media and consumer insights to help them shape their sales and marketing strategy.

Integrity – has been even more important during this time as clients adapt to their own times of change.  Offering support, guidance and an ear has been essential to keep that relationship going.

Knowledge – of the client’s business and challenges and offering ideas and initiatives to help drive their business forwards

What I learned about myself

Terrible at baking!

Even worse at gardening!

Thankful to get back to the day job!