What we’ve learnt in 2020


What a year it’s been! It’s not over yet and we look to what we can only hope may be a Covid-19 free, healthy 2021. We want to share our key learnings and words of appreciation.

Lockdown 2 seems to have been easier to adapt to as we have had to work from home. People are seemingly better equipped than in the first wave, with home offices set up and ready to go. Tech is behaving and coping better (more often than not!), spare laptop charging leads and boosted wifi is in place. It’s feeling more like ‘business as usual’.

A chance to learn new skills

Much of our work has always taken place remotely. Prior to lockdown, we could be found working with our clients based at their offices here and there. Or out on site recce’s – taking in the heart and soul of a place. In beautiful ancient woodlands for a podcast production, video or photoshoot, or gathered around for a strategy workshop or coffee shop meet up. But for the majority of this year we’ve been based in co-work or from home. We do miss the days of physical client get-togethers and industry gatherings. In place of this, we’ve been cramming in webinars, seminars and all sorts of training. From LinkedIn masterclasses to an in depth look at the economic growth plans for the Oxford to Cambridge Arc. We’ve even found time for a vino Friday gathering here and there via the power of Zoom. All of that extra screen time though!

Adapting to new ways of working

With winter daylight saving hours taking effect here in the UK, it’s also much tougher with less natural daylight. We’ve found one of the ways to counteract this – and an added advantage of home working, is to shift work hours a little. This ensures that we can get outside during the day for a fix of inspiration, exercise and natural light.

It’s been really interesting comparing lockdown notes with our partners. From clients in London, to freelance consultants in Lisbon we are all comparing what we can and can’t do. And how, in different environments people are adapting to their set of rules. The changing regulations are constantly pushing us to think differently and to question.. ‘how can we keep moving forward and achieving? Can we use technology to help us more? What can we do to keep sharpening our skills?’ We’re fortunate to be nimble enough to adapt, to keep learning and to work closely with clients who value our contribution.

Connecting audiences with podcasts

During lockdown 1 – we were set a challenge by one of our clients to find new ways to reach their customers online. They had a rich calendar of events for the Summer, many of which had to be postponed or adapted. We responded with insights that backed up a great opportunity to keep audiences engaged with a new podcast. We set about making it happen remotely. With a simple Zoom handheld recorder to aid us, we were able to work with a family and support them to record a nature walk in their own time. This proved to be a safe and remote way to capture content, with results that were completely natural and unique. This is just one of the ways that we’ve found people to be more open to trying new things. In that endeavour to keep moving forward.

A new wave of online behaviours

Covid-19 continues to drive change at scale and is resulting in a new wave of behaviours. Reports of people taking new roles and learning new skills are in the media. Choosing to work in the most buoyant commercial sectors, from working in tech to joining an army of warehouse operatives to meet the online shopping trends. As people are learning new digital skills, it provides a greater need for mentoring in our industry. Throughout 2020 we’ve been able to support our client teams to adapt to doing more online. We’ve been sharing skills along the way, from strategy to tactics. It’s great to hear clients feeding back that they’ve learnt and feel more confident at implementing new campaigns.

Taking time to listen

One of the most important people skills we have honed through this year is quite simply taking more time to listen. Video calls can be challenging as they lack the direct eye contact and body language, which you pick up signals from when in the same physical space as your team or clients. We’ve seen more patience with others in meetings, more time taken to explain an idea, less reliance on presentations and more time talking through a problem.

In the last few weeks of 2020 we are taking time to appreciate what we’ve learnt. We’re looking at how we take those learnings into 2021 to build on them. And we are ever grateful for all of the amazing opportunities we’ve had.

What are your key learnings from 2020?