It’s no surprise that like so many businesses across the world, we’ve been impacted by Covid-19, and the shockwaves from the pandemic look set to rock our entire industry for many months to come.
In the face of such a challenging economic outlook, we’ve been forced to make difficult shifts across the business, primarily by temporarily cutting the salary of the entire workforce by 20% - a decision that was made to protect the long term futures of our staff.
As the leader of an extremely talented and dedicated team, that was a conversation that I did not want to have to have, but the way that people within the business have reacted to not only that news, but to this entire period of drastic change, has been nothing short of inspiring.
Despite our physical separation, with people now working from home up and down the country, we’ve pulled together as a single unit, drawing strength from the fact that wherever we’re from in the business, we’re all in this situation together, and the only way we’ll get out of it is by pooling our resources and working as a team.
We are now three weeks in and any novelty of working from home will have well and truly subsided for most. It’s times like this that test our mental health and many of us will find this incredibly challenging. The lack of clarity, the lack of safety and security, and the lack of physical contact with others, could lead to demotivation and inaction.
A strong culture can work as a unified force to combat this potential demotivation and bring us together. The thing about culture is you can’t buy it. You can’t hire it. You can’t insource it. You sure as hell can’t outsource it. Culture has to be grown organically within your business and nurtured by the people within the business to make it thrive. This is not a top down solution.
It goes without saying that a shift in communication is imperative. We’re now having all staff huddles every week as well as voluntary virtual culture sessions almost every day. People from all across the business have stepped up to host fitness sessions, inspirational talks, cooking lessons, yoga and coding classes.
However, as an agency we really don’t want to use this time to just look after our own. We also want to try to help anyone within our industry that is going through a tough time. For this reason, we decided to launch a free-of-charge online course, run by our TIPi Academy team. The course is designed to train people in various situations that they may now find themselves; from those furloughed, those that now find themselves suddenly without a job, or those who just want to upskill during their increased amount of downtime.
Our ambition behind launching this is to empower people to turn a time of uncertainty into a time of growth; giving a sense of opportunity and personal improvement.
It seems a long way in the distance at the moment, but when we come out the other side of Covid-19 I believe a lot of things will have changed. Firstly, as an industry we will support and appreciate each other more – I have already experienced first-hand the industry as a whole unifying to become stronger – clients, other agencies, partners and of course staff. Secondly, the way we work will be more flexible and more location agnostic. Thirdly, the importance of a good company culture will be more prevalent than ever after witnessing how crucial it is to pull together and in the same direction during such challenging times.
Ollie Bishop, CEO & founder, TIPi Group