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Creative Hearts Can Beat Faster in Digital in this Pandemic


180heartbeats + JUNG v. MATT's business director Julia Konopka discusses how new start ups can foster a sense of belonging during a pandemic

Creative Hearts Can Beat Faster in Digital in this Pandemic

180heartbeats + JUNG v MATT from Warsaw has opened its first foreign office in London. How do businesses like theirs starting from zero, foster a sense of belonging with a completely new team. Julia Konopka, business director responsible for the agency’s foreign operations explains.


The situation in which the world has to face the pandemic does not make it easier for agencies that are finding their way on a new market. 

The fact is, fostering company culture and sense of belonging with a team pre pandemic was much simpler. We have developed it for years based on our DNA. Creating brand excitement and making consumers’ hearts beat faster, of course with brands who want to make a change is recorded in it. The same as diversity. We have always been a culturally diverse team. The agency has always been a place for free and not just work-related talks. Each of us has our favourite rituals, places and working styles. Many things like birthday celebrations, cooking breakfasts, common brain trains, celebrating birthdays and many other occasions we did together. Also the animals are with us for years. Social gatherings like many others across the world were an easy way to create a moment in the day for team members to come together, and connect socially. 

We do our best to make sure that, in the current situation, nobody feels disconnected from it and has no difficulty in recreating these spontaneous relationships. 

They have made the agency unique and, importantly, they translate into business. 

As an agency with a digital heart, everything innovative is close to us. The transition to hybrid work was relatively easy. Now we are implementing an application by working name 180 Digital Blood Stream that is such an assistant to facilitate the implementation of tasks, the flow of information, inspire, share the knowledge and create a common understanding sphere of cooperation. Platform combines everyday company tools for organising work, viewing personalised workers profiles, information about clients, projects and experience from projects, and social part. For example you can arrange a meeting with friends or watch a local award competition KTR’s gala together. It gives an opportunity to inform the team about events within the agency. It is simply a form of a virtual blackboard in a social room or kitchen. This app sets out to meet the need for remote working and minimises the need to monitor other communication channels. It relieves team members of the need to check other apps. Thanks to this, the employees are able to focus on their current tasks and stay in touch with one platform. 

We can’t deny after a year of remote working, and being disconnected from our usual social networks, most people are overloaded with technology and never-ending online meetings both in and outside of the ‘office’.

This lets you focus on delivering a variety of services and better optimising time. But importantly, it allows us to separate work and home life,  and having time to pause and re energise. The app could stimulate employees' creativity, or simply can help to take their thoughts away from working when they need it. 

In the age of remote work it is not enough to let technology do the work. It is important to keep their team members morale up in these uncertain times. Thus, if an agency wants to still be in touch with their employees they should try to address some of their issues in social distancing time, such as lack of inspiration going out to the theatre or cinema. And the people need to laugh and to talk to somebody about their problems. Let us allow it. For example in 180heartbetas we have coffee online meetings with the management. Regular and transparent communication regarding the current projects and the agency’s situation to all the employees in the beginning of each week are a way of showing the team that they are not left alone and that their voice regarding the company is important. If they need a chair or other stuff to work at home, we help them. 

Creativity requires open-mindedness and thus can be heavily affected by the pandemic. By fostering the sense of belonging and making sure team members’ morale are on safe levels, agencies can create a perfect foundation for their even more successful partnerships with brands. Creativity is the strongest tool in fighting crises. 

Even without app or special tools you can maintain the bond between team members. By opening private groups on Facebook, thanks to which people can still feel as if they shared something fun or a piece of inspiration and work. Remembering about the crucial role of mental health in times of a pandemic, introducing online zen, yoga sessions or free online sessions with a psychologist could also have an influence on maintaining the company culture.

The most important thing is that everyone in the team is on the same page and understands our goals in the same way. We do not have to wait for a brief, we know the brands we work for, we know the problems faced by industries. We can proactively translate our know-how to solutions for clients.

Taking into account the fact that the pandemic situation will cease at some point, it’s important to plan how you will introduce your ‘new’ team members to your office environment.  Regardless of when they joined, don’t forget to plan the ‘in-person’ onboarding they will have missed from joining the business remotely. Treat them as new members of the team, and let them revel in the wonderment of joining the business when your office finally opens. Show them around, introduce them to the team properly and let them immerse in the IRL experience of being in the business, the atmosphere, the team dynamics, and the general flow of working in the agency. Also, planning an event that everyone could look forward to could be a good idea. 

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180heartbeats + JUNG v. MATT, Mon, 22 Feb 2021 16:08:47 GMT