It’s fair to say that the Covid-19 virus is having a huge impact on our business and personal lives already. And, as I write, the common understanding is that global disruption is going to increase in scale and that we are in for a period where life feels anything but normal. How we, as Agent3, respond to this challenge is going to have a significant bearing on how impacted we are by it, in the short, medium and long term.
To my mind, as the CEO of a people based business, my first responsibility, in terms of a duty of care, is to our employees. It is with this in mind that we have therefore made the call today to allow all of our people to work from home with immediate effect. We believe this is the most sensible course of action in the current climate.
It’s also a pragmatic decision too; by safeguarding the health of our staff as much as we can do so, we put them in the best position to continue to be able to work on behalf of their clients. Unashamedly, we are encouraging a ‘business as usual’ mentality, as far as possible. We believe this is exceptionally important. Why? Because, while the impact of Covid-19 is going to be significant in the coming days and weeks, we have to create the best environment to ensure that when it does pass, we are in the strongest possible position to allow our people to resume their normal working lives. Now feels like the time for cool heads and sensible measures and to maintain as much of a semblance of normality as we can.
Our commitment to our clients therefore is that all planned programs and campaigns will continue to be delivered without interruption, as far as is humanly possible. Over the last few years, we have taken steps to invest in technology that allows our people to provide exceptional levels of client service, wherever they may be working from. From today, this means that our entire workforce will work remotely until further notice but we are confident that they will be utterly comfortable doing so. We know that many of our clients will desperately want to be as productive as they can be, despite the restrictions that will necessarily be a factor of everyone’s lives until the threat of Covid-19 subsides. As a business, we are confident that we can support our clients’ desires to continue to be productive.
In a period of great uncertainty, it’s very hard to make predictions about what the future holds. However, when we look back at this period in months or even years to come, I believe we will see it as an inflection point when many things changed. In terms of working practices, this may be the point at which we pivot away from the assumption that office attendance is the dominant format for work. I think the genie will be out of the proverbial bottle in terms of acceptance of home office working once people have had a prolonged period of working in this way. In the long term, I see this as a good thing for the environment, for productivity and for work/life balance. In terms of marketing practices, (and sorry to all those of you who make a living out of events, award shows and conferences), I believe budgets are going to get redirected to digital delivery formats very quickly. And, when it then comes time to determine whether to get back on the event/award show/conference bandwagon, many budget holders are going to shake their heads and say no because their digital efforts are more measurable, effective and cost efficient.
Enough of the future gazing though; now is the time to focus on the here and now by managing our way through the coming challenges over the next few weeks and months as best we can. And that means taking sensible steps like the one we took today to allow all our employees to work from home, supported by investment in technology that allows them to be productive. It also means remaining resolute on maintaining a ‘business as usual’ attitude wherever it is possible to do so. Keep calm and carry on indeed!