What we learnt from the COVID years

Man, it’s good to be back in the studio. There’s a feeling of enormous satisfaction at coming in each day to a permanent desk where the chair is set to the correct height (we’ve missed you). Although we’ve been back for a while, at the moment it finally seems that work is getting back to the pre-pandemic norm.
In between multiple coffee breaks and reassuringly familiar kitchen chats without fear or masks - being back gives us a chance to reflect on the lessons learnt from the ‘Covid years’
A healthy wake up call
We have been lucky that our core idea behind starting our own agency (6 years ago) was to develop better relationships with our clients that were lacking in our previous (working for someone else) agency life. These strong relationships have stood the test of pandemic uncertainty – in fact the act of going above and beyond when clients were struggling has strengthened what we had before. Tough times unite people and businesses. 
We’re in it together
Going through what we hope is a once in a lifetime challenge has made us band together with our clients. Our relationships have grown stronger and our understanding of each other's businesses and their respective challenges has made working together so much easier and pleasurable.  We have in reality become part of their business as we’ve all been navigating the same stormy seas from different boats for the past couple of years.
Enjoy the moment
Going through COVID together has resulted in one of our biggest learnings that is the ability to enjoy what we’re doing right now. Now more than ever before we try to make time to stop and smell those roses as quite simply, you never really know what is around the corner. Yes of course future planning will always have its place, but for us, being grateful for having the opportunity to work on a project right here and now, has never been more satisfying.
Delivering a direction, not fear
Brands and businesses that have and are now delivering a clear direction to navigate the future are the ones that people are following. Today, people crave certainty. People and businesses hate not knowing. After months of unease, false hopes and fear, it’s now critical that businesses know their path back to sustained growth and success.
We think ‘authority' is the new by-word for 2022. Although empathy is important, after a couple of years of not knowing how work, life and relationships are going to survive, a period of calm direction is now required. 
Strong brand leaders are going to push ahead of the competition by showing a clear path through what looks like being a choppy few years ahead. The world has turned once more into a place of uncertainty with recent events in Ukraine showing how global events have a significant impact here at home. 
Hybrid working
The most obvious change to the workplace since the pandemic has been the rise of hybrid working. Somewhat forced upon many of us, the need to rethink our work life has demonstrated that working from home can be as productive as heading to an office, and has demonstrable benefits to our work life balance. 
We’ve seen a rise in individual designers and small teams that are now competing with the larger traditional norm. A new start-up agency that sticks to their strengths and has an honest approach with their clients is going to find the next few years exciting and a small, agile business should find opportunities to create a working environment that truly suits their team.

The years of empathy are over - authority is needed now.