There’s a play on a ubiquitous popular old saying that would be hysterically funny if it weren’t so unfathomably terrifying and surreal:
Foresight is 20/20 vision.
In hindsight, considering how this year has played out up to the halfway point, there is hardly a soul reading this who doesn’t wish they could have somehow seen what 2020 had in store before it caught the whole world off guard in ways no one could possibly have ever imagined.
Starting with the huge swaths of land and animals destroyed by bushfires throughout Australia followed by the shockingly tragic death of NBA legend and Oscar-winning filmmaker Kobe Bryant and his beautiful daughter Gigi – the arrival of COVID-19 has literally changed life for all of us in ways we still are yet to fully realize. If you think about the devastation it has already caused around the world – just imagine how many lives would have been saved and how many businesses would have been in a better position to prepare for what was to come had all of us known it was headed our way.
The truth is, even for companies and organizations that COVID-19 has not yet wreaked havoc on, with the prospect of lost revenue, profits and bankruptcy always a looming possibility – business has not been anything close to business as usual. For all the lucky ones, those fortunate operations that have somehow been immune to its destruction and in many cases even continued to succeed and thrive, there are still many challenges they must constantly overcome to ensure their survival, both in the long and short term.
Among them are the psychological and emotional toll COVID-19 has taken on their employees, not to mention the potential impact it can have on productivity and motivation. You add to that the added pressure and stress for many companies to go from a bricks and mortar existence with the vast majority of their workforce going into a central location to work onsite, to one where the only choice was to pivot to a makeshift online version of the business – it’s not hard to understand why so many companies have either stumbled or failed to make that adjustment.
Fortunately for Overlap Interactive, we have always functioned as a remote, agile organization with working offsite intrinsic to our DNA from day one. Even so, we are all realistic about the difference between working offsite now and what it was like before COVID-19 made it to American shores. We have always enjoyed a close knit relationship with each and every one within our organization. We managed to do this before the pandemic by staying connected to each other with all the technology available that makes doing so second nature in 2020.
Now we are putting our collective heads down and grinding with a greater sense of urgency and determination than ever – because we know if the hand we were dealt had not been in our favor, we could be in the very same boat with any number of other companies in our industry that have had to lay off staff and even shut their doors – some for good.
Since the pandemic, we have made a very conscientious effort to be even more diligent in staying in touch with one another during the work week. We get on video status calls at least three times a week where we actually see each other’s faces. As a thriving and very successful digital agency, we stay busy with our current clients and when pursuing new opportunities, but that’s not the only reason for our virtual meetings.
We really are like family, so, while work may indeed be the focus of these calls, we don’t just talk about the work – we also take time to discuss what’s going on in all of our lives and out in the world. This time and these regularly scheduled interactions provide us all with a safe place to be real with each other and to make sure we are here as a support system for one another.
Not only that, we have found live, real-time video calls to be much more fruitful and productive than traditional conference calls, instant messaging and emails – both internally, with our agency partners, and our clients. We’ve all discovered that these face-to-face interactions compel us to be more buttoned up, more focused and more diligent in making the most out of the time we spend participating in these meetings.
We believe the immediacy and the energy they require lights a fire under us that fuels our creativity and our commitment to doing the very best possible job for all of our clients. It may be hard to understand how something so simple could make such a profound impact on the work we do, but we’re convinced this “in-person” engagement pushes us to go all out on everything we touch – whether it’s a kick-off meeting, work-in-progress, evaluating completed work, and more.
We realize our success with video meetings and other kinds of agile technology platforms doesn’t guarantee every company will experience similar success. We’re able to make it work for us because we’re not afraid to have tough conversations when problems arise, we’re always making time to learn new technologies and skills that give our clients added value, and we will literally do just about anything to set each of us up for success – individually and as a team.
If your company culture doesn’t welcome honest interaction without reproach and unconditional input from each and every one of you, and if you’re not comfortable with making yourself accessible in a way that encourages people to show you their true colors when they’re in the foxhole with you – your results may definitely vary.
At Overlap Interactive we’re living proof that even when times get tough, and circumstances beyond your control throw a wrench into the mix that you couldn’t have possibly anticipated, if your heart is in the right place and you do really care about the people you work with and you believe in the work you’re doing for your clients, you can make it through the darkness to the light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to be ready and willing to put your head down and keep right on grinding.
This too, shall pass.