Self-assessing and a new WFH website
There’s been so much written about WFH, there’s no point me warbling on about the do’s and don’ts - there are those far better qualified. But, as Launch unveils a shiny new website today at www.hellolaunch.co.uk (not strategically done to coincide with WFH I have to confess!), I thought I’d reflect on a few things that have struck me personally about the current situation and work/home.
Firstly, the early WFH days were a bit weird. After exiting Archer Street in Soho (and calling temporary time on our office pub) and all that went with that, I found the earlier days a bit disorientating. I’d continue with my usual commute-work routine; up early, run, back, think about the day, then work full tilt, then, oh, Christ, I’m home already. Feel like I’ve done a truck load … and it’s only … er, 1pm. Jeeez. I guess, on reflection I got my pacing a bit wrong, and definitely thought more about Netflix or Chardonnay in the evening (usually both), than I normally would. I’m pacing myself better now, and heck, I didn’t run today. That’s certainly a change of routine for the better.
We’ve a lot to be thankful for. The silence and isolation FORCES YOU to assess what you have, who you are, what you stand for, what other incredible people are doing in society, what’s important - and what isn’t. In that sense, I’ve benefitted, and hopefully that will feed in to agency life. And personal, too.
WFH strips you bare. I’m very grateful that those close to me (including fellow Launchers and clients of course) have remained mostly safe. But the current environment is so raw and real, you become more aware of your own mortality and even more self-aware generally, I think. I’ve had a greater sense of ‘isolation’, but in a way that’s not been a bad thing.
Zoom is blatant about one thing. When we started our 9am all agency Zoom, I quickly became very conscious that all the smiling faces ARE Launch. Sounds too obvious, but in reality, there’s nothing more than those faces looking generally cheerfully or thoughtfully at you. That’s it. Zip. Nada. Cool offices, an agency pub, nice coffee, fancy boardrooms, incredible benefits and Soho are all fantastic - but the company IS just people; Launchers, clients and partners. There’s nothing more. So, it’s made me think a lot about our people, collectively and individually, what we’ll go back to – and who we’ll be (clue; it’ll be different).
This all started ages ago. We’re doing ‘OK’ because we’ve always put people and culture first, so the hard work has been going on in reality for 18 years, and during COVID WFH, it’s being (present tense) tested to the extreme. But there’s been a long time subconsciously prepping for times like this. And during WFH we’ve been nominated as one of the best PR agencies to work for in the UK by PR Week. Proof if we needed any.
Talk more. The one downside of WFH is interpretation. There’s always the danger of things being lost in translation, so you need to speak with colleagues as much as possible.
I’m working ‘cleaner’. I’m focusing more on the things I should be focusing on; people, company and client strategy … and key lines of creativity. I’m feeling more productive at times because my brain is less cluttered. And also because I do have more ‘free time’ (away from meetings, not commuting etc). I wonder if others feel the same.
Positivity remains one of life’s staples. I yearn to be back with my fellow Launchers. But, if Zoom is the main point of interaction, boy, you’re very aware of that staple.
I’m more aware of my responsibility as a leader. I’m certainly thinking more about what we can sharpen, change and improve and am more conscious of my own contribution, too. I’m sure the other Launch leaders are, too. And my own health, related to the benefit of the business (I’ve never exercised more, once a day).
I’m in awe of the NHS.
I’ve finally confirmed to myself that I’ll never go in to politics.
So, please do take a look at our new website today at www.hellolaunch.co.uk (thanks for herculean efforts, Robin, Roxy and team). I hope it gives you a feel for who we are, why WFH is working for us culturally, but why we can’t wait to get back to meeting. Because when it comes down to it, WLTM is better than WFH.
Johnny, Founder, Launch.