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Vox pop: what's the most heartwarming moment from lockdown?

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We tend to use our Drum Network vox pops to celebrate the creativity of our members. This time, however, we've opened up the TDN vox pop to share some of your most heartwarming stories from your time in lockdown. We may not have been able to see our coworkers, clients and friends in person but, as the following stories show, that didn't take away our capacity for heartwarming interactions.

Emma Parker, studio manager, Waste

By nature, Waste is a fun and caring place to work, so we’ve all been lucky to have a few enjoyable (and sometimes crazy) moments as a company during lockdown.

The one that stands out the most took place during a fortnightly company meeting, a few weeks in. Each of our meetings are usually themed and this one was to have an animal theme. There’s usually a bit of fancy dress, a quiz with prizes and a few drinks. This one was different. We had a very special guest called Joan, an alpaca.

We had got in touch with a farm in Germany which had been forced to close its barn doors and had turned to live streaming its animals to raise money. This was going to be a surprise for the team so a small group of us in the know eagerly awaited the farmyard sounds signalling Joan’s arrival and looks of utter confusion from unsuspecting staff that would follow. And we were not disappointed.

What followed was twenty minutes of not just one alpaca, but a hundred! We watched alpacas and llamas of all shapes and sizes, and it was absolute bliss. A few latecomers thought they had joined the wrong call or that one of us was calling from our own secret animal ranch in the country.

Even though it was a brief experience, it was so random and weird that it got us all laughing and cooing which, up until that point, was the best a lot of us had felt in a while. It put us all in a great mood and started the week on a positive note. It also made us think hard about how on earth we would top that company call. What kind of surprise guest could we dream up for next time?

The fortnightly company calls have since become a new highlight in our work calendars, giving everyone time for much needed social interaction, as well as a chance to celebrate the achievements of each team and award individuals for their hard work. They also offer us a great opportunity to get creative and do something weird and wonderful.

Cat Davis, group marketing director, Mission Group and Krow

As a group of creative agencies, we’ve really enjoyed coming up with creative ways to tackle the challenge of maintaining team connections and morale whilst working remotely. Like many businesses, I’m sure, Friday afternoon (virtual) drinks have become more important than ever as a team, and agencies have organised everything from virtual cookery sessions to yoga, book clubs and even a mini Olympics.

These have all been great fun, but the most heart-warming moment for us as a team at Krow was when we decided to get together for an online family storytelling session towards the start of lockdown.

Parents from across the group took part in a ‘Bed Time Half hour’ where we all took our laptops to our sofas and our children turned up in their PJs with their teddies, snuggling up to their parents with milk and cookies while we took it in turns to share bedtime stories with each other. The kiddies all got involved by performing actions and doing silly voices! The virtual story time was a lovely way to get to know each other better through our families, and it was such a success we have repeated it many times over the past few months.

Spending so much time on video calls where you’re essentially inviting colleagues into your homes and introducing them to your pets, partners, children and the realities of everyday domestic life has been challenging, entertaining, occasionally embarrassing, but ultimately a fantastic bonding experience for us all.

Rebecca Vickery, business director, Brave Spark

We’ve sent video card goodbyes to familiar faces and hello memes to new ones.

We’ve celebrated go lives, birthdays and a honeymoon via the medium of Zoom backgrounds.

We’ve sent emergency bank holiday care packages filled with Netflix tips and ice cold beers.

We’ve debated at length Tiger King and DIY haircut dramas on our Tuesday Tangent stand ups.

We’ve written a poem from the perspective of our office fridge who is terribly lonely right now.

We’ve volunteered our time to help our elderly neighbours and other causes close to our heart.

Our most heartwarming moments have been those small, unexpected and seemingly insignificant ones that have made us all smile, together as a team.

A standout moment for us was when we attempted on a morning stand-up call to reimagine our Zoom Grid by spelling out Brave Spark, with each member of the team responsible for owning a different letter. Whilst at first the team was reluctant, we soon eased into fits of laughter with puzzled faces staring down the camera. We say “attempted” because we learnt the hard way there is always one person who isn’t listening as intently as everyone else. Admittedly, morning yoga didn’t go down quite as well. Since then we’ve opted for much more simplistic human grid based exercises such as a virtual Mexican wave but regardless of the complexity, our Zoom workouts are still helping us to collectively smile from week to week.

Lydia Hoye, managing partner, Kazoo

As we entered lockdown, one of our senior account managers also started chemotherapy so the past few months has been even more of a challenge for him. The team decided to host a special birthday celebration via Zoom which had a hip-hop theme to boost his spirits and show him how much support he has. We all dressed in hip-hop attire and we dedicated a quiz entirely themed around him. We all (working team and furloughed team) hadn’t laughed so much in a long time and it created a distinct moment of union for the whole team.

One of the most unexpected moments from the past three months was the passion from members of the team who wanted to talk and take action, spurred on by BLM.

Managers and account directors came together to rearrange a lunchtime company meeting to a lively all agency debate around diversity and inclusion, a review of what we do as an agency already and what we could be doing more of. People told their own stories, others shared what they had learnt from their own research and we brainstormed the changes we want to make to our own agency practices around D&I. Not only was it a conversation that needed to happen, it also was an opportunity for the team to create agency change, bringing their own perspective and ideas.

Hannah Gringard, senior research analyst, Three Whiskey

With lockdown firmly in place, many of us likely resorted to rummaging through the overwhelming amount of “Best of Netflix” suggestions to find something that piqued our interest but probably landed on something we had already watched or heard of before. When I founded the company movie club last year, I wanted to expose my colleagues to films they usually wouldn’t watch, films that were profound, thought-provoking or had beautiful storytelling and deserved to be seen. With lockdown measures inhibiting our cinema visits, we quickly moved our club online. And while we miss out on the physical experience of cinema with delicious popcorn and coke, as well as the direct social aspect, our online movie club has still managed to bring us closer together.

Each week starts with a selection of movies (available on Netflix) chosen to fit the week’s theme. Themes have started as generic categories such as comedy or drama and over time have come to be more specific, including ‘European Cinema‘, ‘80s films‘, down to spotlighting ‘Female African American directors‘. Members choose a film to be watched on Wednesday evenings and discussed the following day. Many of us have started to include our partners, friends, and flat mates in the process as well, making an at-home cinema experience out of it. Discussions are varied and include opinions, questions, likes, and dislikes. But most importantly provide us with a feeling of community. In the process, we have also organized a Company Short Film Festival, voting Hungary’s Sing our favorite. Online movie clubs are fun, easy to organize and create a great bonding experience. Most importantly though, they provide us with a variety in lockdown, the potential to open our minds to unknown films, encourage us to think about different topics and hopefully support the artists behind the film.

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