Our remote team, a retrospective: how a year like no other brought us even closer together

I’m proud and a little in awe of how our team has stayed motivated almost a year into remote working. I’m also aware this is a well-trodden topic that has understandably had a lot of air time in recent months. But I do believe we must keep talking about it; people need to know that consistent motivation is not accidental; it requires investment in wellbeing and team culture to keep the momentum going.

When I look back, there are a few key things that meant we were well-prepped for challenging times. Our senior team have always had an element of flexibility where possible, so technology-wise, we were pretty prepared. But, like everybody else, the immediate shift to fully remote was a definite shock to the system.

In sales, culture and camaraderie stimulate motivation, so working ‘alone’ without the buzz of a physical office coupled with the additional challenge of dealing with lower contact rates, as everyone else is also working from home, was a worrying combination. Still, thankfully we’ve survived and, dare I say it, thrived. Video calls have emerged as a valuable means of building a relationship with our clients. As we all adjust to the blurred boundaries between home and work, and by allowing people into our homes, we’ve become a little more real, and barriers have come down, which has had a positive effect on working relationships.

We were naturally worried at the start of the first lockdown, but the past year has really encouraged us to embrace team communication and live our culture harder than ever before.

For example, we have cross-team daily calls and a company-wide team meeting every Friday, which gives everyone a consistent touch-point and a way of staying connected to the business. Our sales leaders hold a monthly meeting to discuss individual coaching and support. We’ve also had great support from our training partner, Sales Geek, especially around delivering multichannel campaigns in the current landscape. My department, Account Management, holds a virtual team meeting twice weekly (as a minimum) so that we can discuss strategy with peers. Each Account Manager also gets a personal 1-2-1 each week to discuss challenges.

And it’s not all work-related. We’ve even taken virtual fitness classes to help us stay well and keep the lockdown pounds at bay. All of this activity has given us all some feeling of normality, structure and focus on the future. Because of this sustained effort and consistency, we can feel confident that the business will adapt to life after lockdown.

And although we haven’t been physically together these past months, I personally feel like we haven’t lost any of what made our culture so special. We’ve supported each other, celebrated successes and worked through challenges together as a team. And while we’re all keen to get back to Air HQ, I think we’ll look back on this time with a mixture of memories, and view it as a time where circumstances really tested our culture, and we came out on top. We were all at home, yet we continued to hire, grow the business, win new clients (we’re actually delivering more hours for clients weekly than pre-pandemic) and launched a refreshed brand. It might be a cliché to say it, but I’m sure this whole experience has bought us even closer.

Opinion piece by Shaun Weston, Campaign Operations Director

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