As our first week of working from home draws to a close, we’re reflecting on how we’re coping, both as a business and personally, with these strange times we find ourselves in. We’ve asked our team how they’re doing life in quarantine – from keeping the creative juices flowing to looking after ourselves and our minds. Hopefully reading this will offer some useful tips and tricks to not only stay sane, but to thrive in this new (albeit temporary!) way of life…
As a branding agency, our designers and their creative skills are at the heart of what we do. Working from home and away from our studio, The Old Art School, the creative team are having to find new ways of staying inspired and motivated – we asked how they’re adapting to their new work day…
Jennie, Senior Designer:We’re very lucky to be living in Falmouth – it’s such a beautiful place and means I have been able to go for a sea swim every morning before work. The sun’s been out too, which I have LOVED, and this morning a seal swam right up to me! It was a little unnerving but I think we were friends. I’ve also been making time to have a morning coffee with my housemate, he’s keeping me sane.
Holly, Designer:I find it really helpful to stay up to date with other artists, illustrators and designers over social media. Despite this being a tough time for everyone, there are some lovely messages and inspiring work being showcased online that just motivates me to continue creating!
I’ve been taking advantage of everyone being indoors! The public footpaths are all really quiet, so being able to go for a walk with the dog, listen to some music and not see another soul really allows ideas to form. I think Cornwall’s coastline is conducive to creativity regardless of what’s going on around you, so I’m feeling very fortunate to literally have it on my doorstep.
Whilst working from home I get a lot of inspiration from just absorbing my surroundings. Light, the colours of the rooms, the different shapes and structures. I also started looking at magazines (that I’ve piled up for years and never really looked at) which is a nice change to the usual internet based research. But, of course having a scroll through Instagram with my morning coffee gets me inspired too – and that’s something that motivates me to create. Seeing other people being active and creative always sparks ideas. AND OF COURSE our morning Zoom calls motivate me a lot. It’s a good reminder of the purpose of my work and, at the same time, talking to everyone and exchanging ideas motivates me to start the day and get stuff done.
Chris, Design Director:One of my main roles is to keep the design team working at maximum efficiency, creativity and most of all happiness. Making sure my creativity is running high is key to me carrying out this role effectively! I tend to sketch on my iPad – doodling definitely creates plenty of ideas and concepts. Music is also a big influence, it allows me to switch off and really get to grips with trying new styles and techniques that I’ve come across during the week. It’s also important for me to get outside and create some headspace – we’re lucky to have some woodland outside the front of our house, so I’m making sure I get out for a walk at lunch to step away from the screen.
Communication is another facet of our daily lives at Kingdom & Sparrow. We’ve got clients to chat to, new business enquiries to respond to, and of course we’re always keeping in touch with each other as a team. At the moment, face-to-face is out of the question for professional meetings and our personal social lives… So how are our client and communications team dealing with both?
Hannah, Client Director:
I’ve mainly been chatting over the phone and using Whatsapp and Facebook messenger to speak to family and friends – it’s certainly strange not being able to meet up with people for a walk or a beer but I think messaging allows you to have much more instant communication about things as they unfold, which is nice!
With clients, I always prefer to talk face-to-face if possible. Obviously in the current climate this isn’t an option unfortunately, but Zoom definitely feels like the next best thing! As an agency we’re used to using technology like Zoom – our clients are all over the world, so being able to see each other and put a face to a name is really important for them and us.
Bobbie, Project Manager:
Life has been really different not seeing people in person, but it’s given me plenty of time to discover new means of communication! I’ve started showing my grandparents love by arranging food shop deliveries and sending them homemade marmalade – I’ve had lots of time to rediscover my love for cooking. I’ve also started a photo album which has been lovely. I’ve been able to reminisce about some lovely times but also get excited for when all this is over and new memories can be made!
For work, our project management systems have been a real blessing. Streamtime and Monday have meant I can keep tabs on everything that’s going on and make sure I’m kept in the loop to be filling clients in with project progress. I’d be lost without them!
Tilly, Communications Manager:It has been a particularly strange time for me – I only started my role with the team this week, so working from home from the off has been an odd experience. I feel really lucky that I had met everyone beforehand but I’m particularly grateful now for Slack. It’s enabled me to really integrate into the team, with it being a little less formal than emails. I’ve been keeping in contact with friends mostly by messenger – I like the immediacy of it – but it’s been really important to be able to Facetime my parents and my nephew too. I’m looking forward to giving everyone a hug but, this will do for now!
Life under COVID-19 is proving tough for everyone, but business owners and directors are particularly feeling the pressure to keep their team, and their business, safe. We asked our top dogs how they were holding up – and what they were doing to ensure they had some headspace left for themselves!
Danny, Managing Director:
It’s been really great that the weather’s been so good this week – we’ve been spending a lot of family time in the garden. We’re planting our veg plots at the moment which has been keeping us busy, and I’m really into DIY, so have been doing a lot of jobs around the house. At this rate there’ll be no DIY to do for the rest of the year!
Sophie, Strategy Director:
I have the dog so walking her really helps – and having the beach on our doorstep just makes that even better! I’ve also made it an absolute priority to do at least 15 minutes meditation a day just to give myself some space. It’s a stressful time and it really helps to take a breather. I’ve also personally been communicating way more with family and friends as well, especially on video calls. It’s been really nice. My social life has actually taken off since Coronavirus!!!
Johnny, Creative Director:
Without doubt the biggest challenge to me and my family that has come out of the current situation has been how my wife and I juggle work and the kids. The K&S office being next door to my house has been the biggest blessing for us. It has meant that we can divide and conquer and with me being able to treat it as my personal workspace, Betty, my wife, can work from home. We split the kids between us which makes it more manageable, and minimises the distraction as much as possible (it’s proving harder than we thought it would).
Our morning meetings with the team have been a great way for everyone to connect, share ideas, questions and concerns. It’s also a great place to give feedback and encouragement towards what everyone is working on.
That sets the day off positively and the team have really embraced the new way of working, keeping regularly in touch via Slack and Whatsapp.
Betty, the kids, and I reconnect as a family for lunch and try to get in our rationed exercise by going for a walk together. We have been particularly lucky this week as the weather has been gorgeous and it really does remind us of how lucky we are to live here. It breaks up the day nicely and goes a long way to keeping the mind fresh too.
So the days are pretty hectic but we are getting into our stride. One way in which I unwind in the evening is to play Nintendo with the boys for an hour or so, but once they’re in bed, Betty and I are rewatching the Office (US) as it never gets old. I’m trying hard not to drink during the week as it’s ever so tempting to crack open a tinny every night but it’s Friday and I’m really looking forward to our first virtual drinks with the gang! I’m gasping, ha!
I’m incredibly proud of how everyone at Kingdom & Sparrow has approached this crisis and together with our collective determination, creativity and positivity I believe we will continue to do the best possible work for our clients and come out the other side an even stronger agency.