Thought Leaders in association withPartners in Crime

“This Is Bigger Than Business”

Post Production
London, UK
ENVY Advertising MD Greg White on managing a crisis and why it's people that matter most

It was only a matter of weeks ago that the country was waking up to the possibility of a stringent lockdown. Things were - and still are - changing rapidly each and every day. Businesses nationwide were facing some of the toughest decisions they’ve had to face yet, and striking the balance between continuity of work and the safety of staff and clients became the priority. 

In post, we were facing our own unique challenges of moving a full post facility out of the city and into people’s remote working environments. The scale of a move like that is huge, but it taught me, and many others in my position, just how important it is to have a brilliant team around you. Despite the challenges and pressures surrounding us, everyone from the runners through to producers, creatives and of course our engineers have risen to the challenge together and adapted brilliantly… I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished, especially with both our VFX and sound teams in the middle of complex projects when the move was undertaken.

The response team at ENVY was fantastic. From early February, pulling management together and monitoring and reacting to official announcements, we put together a three stage process - starting with the elevation of sanitising around the building through to everyone working remotely and safely from home. 

We are facing a situation that with it brings pressures for everyone, both personally and professionally, but we are also seeing examples of how resolute we are as people.

I cannot stress enough the importance a business should place on its staff and client wellbeing, especially at a time like this. The core of any business is its people - your own and those you work alongside. It has never been more important to remain in constant contact with your team, to remain collaborative and motivated and to remain connected. In difficult times, checking in, allowing for flexibility, and making it clear that you are always available for support is key…. regardless of location, the culture of the business should always remain. 

As we all come to terms with isolation, regular calls and encouraging conversation outside of business-related matters becomes an important part of staff wellbeing. Some individuals will be more concerned than others but as long as you invite open discussions, you will be able to help ease some of those worries, enhancing both staff wellbeing and their productivity.

It all comes down to caring about those you work with. Along with the importance of maintaining a level of reality and operating business ‘as usual’ to the best of your ability. It is hugely important to show your concern for the people around you - family, friends, colleagues, clients and neighbours alike. This is bigger than business, there is a collective responsibility for us all to step up and look out for each other. It’s teaching us not to take things for granted and being aware of the social impact of what we do day-to-day. 

When faced with any problem, I always like to think there are solutions, and the norm isn’t always the right way. Just because something has been imposed for a while, it doesn't mean it has to be the way. Creatively, you should always be looking at options and new solutions, even more so now with the environment we are facing. We need to find unique approaches to this quite unique period of time and I believe that we as an industry, with the quality of people within it, are perfectly positioned to do that. The team is excited to explore new approaches to typography, repurposing stock material, motion graphics, CG and animation, nothing new in terms of disciplines, but the current lack of shoots certainly allows for an exciting time creatively! 

It’s been inspiring to see how others have reacted as well, there’s been a real focus on positivity and support, from Caviar TV’s online workshops and brands switching up their manufacturing to produce sanitiser and PPE equipment for the NHS, through to the various Zoom pub/conference calls that have been set up to keep everyone in touch (and sane!). Individually and collectively we need to think about what we have in our armoury to step forward with and help. That to me is the industry in a nutshell, we’re perfectly positioned to do that. 

Among all of this, don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Regardless of circumstances, those with kids, with partners or living alone, there’s a lot of plate spinning to do in order to manage home life with work - as I write I’m judging my two daughters’ fancy-dress Barbie competition which will end in a draw… it will always end in a draw!

You’re sat in your front room or office but you’re surrounded by work and that can make you feel a little bit set adrift from reality. Try to keep a sense of normality for the sake of yourself; keep a schedule, exercise, take breaks and stay in touch with family and friends because before you know it, we’ll be back in our offices and the (real) pubs will be full again.

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