Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production

Coronavirus May Have Accelerated Our Business Into A New Era of Opportunity

Post Production
New York, USA
Nice Shoes’ MD Justin Pandolfino says the Covid-19 pandemic has gifted us an opportunity we thought may be years away

Be honest; did you really expect yourself, and your colleagues, to be as adaptable as we’ve all proven we are over the past two months? 

At Nice Shoes, we’ve been fortunate in that remote collaboration has been a part of the way we work for almost a decade. Eight weeks into this lockdown, it’s been inspiring to see our industry overcome the obstacles this pandemic presented - not to mention the quality of the original work that’s been made despite the adversity. I’ve seen a lot of great work produced throughout the industry, but I’m particularly proud of our team’s collaboration with Droga5 for Seize the Awkward and Ad Council, which utilized a mix of remote production, UGC, and multiple styles of 2D and 3D animation to deliver a bold and powerful spot. 

But I think the speed and size of the changes we’ve had to put in are clouding many of us to the fact that remote working was an inevitability. We’re simply in a scenario that has forced mass adoption sooner than many may have anticipated. For those of us who’ve long championed the practice, there’s an undeniable sense of satisfaction that much of what we thought might be a decade away has arrived in a matter of weeks. I want to make an argument for how we can use this time of rapid change to improve production and post-production businesses for the better. 

Nice Shoes first began to see the benefits of remote working back in 2011, when we set up a system which allowed offices in New York and Boston to interact seamlessly together. The truth is that remote working has been increasingly popular over the past few years, and now millions of businesses across the world are understanding why. But how do we embrace the changes and make it a defining part of the future of our businesses? 

We’ve discovered some great ways of coping with this situation in the short-term, but to make an impact in the next six months to a year, I believe we’ve arrived at a point where long-term thinking is essential. And that is going to require a paradigm shift in how we look at remote working. Far from being simply a coping mechanism to be discarded once governments give us the all-clear, we have to understand that this is a practice which will dominate our working lives from now on. 

The remote possibilities

Let’s consider all of the potential advantages. Thanks to the full-scale adoption of remote working, the best talent the world has to offer is closer to you than ever before. For companies such as Nice Shoes which specialise in end-to-end delivery, this is an especially attractive idea. Everyone collaborating together in parallel allows for a more creative final product, with the ability to hit faster turnaround times, as well as infinite scale unhindered by the physical confines of a studio.

In fact, perhaps the biggest benefit of having remote working forced upon us by this crisis is that clients have been very patient and understanding, allowing us to examine our remote practices and workflows, investing in them and getting real-time feedback as we strive to further improve the client experience. 

Not only that, there are huge benefits for our people. Staff who have typically spent hours (and often thousands of dollars) on their commutes are learning to love the freedom and flexibility of working remotely. Work/life balance can really begin to happen.

Preparing to succeed

We can also use this time to prepare ourselves for issues that might arise in the medium-to-long term. In the future, it’s quite possible that we will see teams of people working closely together who have never physically met each other. Handled poorly, this could lead to clunky relationships between staff members, not to mention a deterioration in their company’s distinctive culture. But it needn’t be so. There are a variety of tools available to help keep everyone connected, but we have to be intentional in our interactions with coworkers and clients and find creative ways to keep the culture alive and well while working in a distributed model.

But perhaps the best thing we can do is embrace the idiosyncrasies that come with working remotely. For example, last week we hired a new teammate, and by the end of the first day I’d seen his home and met his family via the background of his Zoom window. I’ve been working with people for years and haven’t had this intimate of a window into their personal lives. Who knew we had so many talented home cooks, bakers, teachers, and artists? It’s an example of how we can intentionally build culture and celebrate the connections that remote working offers us rather than lamenting those it takes away. If we grasp this opportunity early on, we can turn these potential negatives into positives. 

Don’t put a crisis to waste

Remote working isn’t just about coping with Covid. It’s about changing our business for the better, but to make sure that’s the case we need to take action now.

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