Most people with a desk job had to hastily acquaint themselves with new ways of working when the pandemic forced us into lockdown. It was a real challenge for all of us, but spare a thought for those who not only had to adapt to a remote-only workplace, but also had to do so while starting or acclimatising to a new role at a new company.
We asked three of our newest recruits to give us an insight into how they’ve handled it:
I arrived at Ogilvy on Wednesday 18th March – the day after the office had run a trial remote working day, and then continued it with immediate effect. Only a handful of colleagues were at the usually bustling creative barn (we work on a farm!) collecting their final bits of IT kit, when I arrived to collect my laptop and receive a socially distanced whistle-stop tour of the software I’d need to use. Since then I’ve met my other colleagues via Zoom and what a friendly bunch they are!
The weekly virtual quiz has been great fun and I’ve enjoyed the much-needed opportunity to laugh with colleagues and get to know them on a personal level through this shared experience. I’m hoping I’ll be in with a win soon!
A major pro I discovered early on is that Zoom calls are brilliant when you’re trying to learn nearly 100 names as quickly as you can – as everyone is labelled in their frame. They don’t walk around wearing names badges usually so this was a massive advantage!
The cons are that it can, at times when you’re a bit stuck during the learning process, be a bit lonely. I’m such a people person and thrive upon having strong relationships with colleagues and bouncing ideas off each other. I’ve missed not being able to lean across to the next desk to share a thought or ask for help in a more casual setting than a conference call.
But, I love a challenge and I’ve just had to make sure I raise my virtual hand and pick up the phone when I need to. It also occurred to me that it can’t be easy for the team trying to support a new starter during these extraordinary times either. Finding ways to smile through the frustration makes it easier on everyone.
I’ve found the people around me to be generous with their time, knowledgeable in their field and inspiring in the ways they’ve supported each other and sought to offer innovative solutions to our clients during these extraordinary times. Two months in, I’m excited to continue my Ogilvy journey and support the business in the changes ahead.
I have now been working at Ogilvy for just over three months, and seeing as this is not only my first agency job, but also my first job in marketing and my first job following university, I knew there was going to be a steep learning curve. However what I couldn’t predict was that one month into this learning curve a pandemic would break out, and I’d be removed from the office and the colleagues who had been showing me the ropes.
Within a day I went from being in my teammates’ line of sight, meaning they were always there to direct, aid and answer any burning questions I had, to being on my own at home behind a computer. During the first week, what I found most striking was that any query I had or direction I needed was instantly formalised by the necessity to email or set up a call with someone. I quickly became paranoid that I may be nuisance owing to my frequent pinging of emails and Zoom requests.
However, it didn’t take long to find my groove. Working at home pushed me to develop skills and understanding of the agency process at a faster rate than I might have in office, and I soon adjusted to the fact that teammates were just a call away and more than happy to help.
Client relationships have also become more personal, owing to a mutual understanding that life is challenging at the best of times, but especially when you’re at home on a call and there’s excitable children or pets around.
Starting at Ogilvy was always going to be a welcome challenge, but my first three months have been novel in ways I couldn’t have anticipated. I can’t wait to see where we go from here.
As we went into lockdown, I was working through my notice period at GTB, where I’d spent the last 11 years on the Ford account. I packed up my bag on 16th March, naively thinking that we’d be back in a couple of weeks, a month, max. It never crossed my mind that not only would I have to leave my old job (saying good bye to people I’d worked with for years over Microsoft Teams!), but that I’d be starting my new one in lockdown!
When that day came, we were 6 weeks in, by which time I’d kind of settled into a routine and got to grips with working from home. But this was a bit different.
When you start any new job, you likely travel to a new office, have a new desk and are given a new PC and phone. So, it’s a very odd feeling when that physical experience is taken away from you. The closest thing to a physical marker on that first day was my email address changing.
Luckily for me, as I came from within the WPP network, I was able to spend a few Fridays at the office in Shere before lockdown. That gave me the opportunity to meet the team and see a little of the agency working - Not to mention squeeze in a lunchtime beer.
An early frustration when starting any new job, is the lack of knowledge you have and generally not knowing how ‘stuff’ works. Obviously, I have the ability to learn in the virtual sense, but it’s tough. I can’t overhear phone calls or conversations by my desk. I’m not witness to how people interact with each other or what the dynamics are.
But thankfully I do know how an agency works, the trick is to listen closer and try to recognise the unrecognisable. Then, if I haven’t worked it out with Google, I ask for someone to explain, usually caveated with ‘This may be obvious to you, but …?’
Everyone has their challenges, and this is just one of mine. And when we do go ‘back to the office’ it’s something we will all have to manage together. In a way it will be everyone’s first day again.