One year, 365 days … many of us have had a different every day life experience with the pandemic that hit the world in March 2020. Ultimately however, it has changed the face of not only our industry, but of business’ across the globe. As we all looked toward social to ‘keep things normal’ and virtual experiences to stay more connected than ever, the behind the scenes for any business may not have been what it seemed in the background. Emma Hart, Founder and Creative Director of Push PR tells us her experience of navigating a year of changes …
Last year, on Thursday 12th March 2020 one of the Push team members came back from the communal kitchen and said; “The office next door is moving to WFH tomorrow for a couple of weeks to let the COVID-19 situation settle down”. In that moment, a sudden frenzy of every emotion and a barrage of questions attacked my brain acknowledging the fact that tomorrow will be our last day in the office. ‘How could we move?’ ‘The full team to WFH with no notice?’ ‘How would we stay connected?’ ‘How would we keep connected as a team?’ ‘How would we carry on?’ ‘What would we do with the office and showroom for the two weeks we would be closed?’ TWO WEEKS. That is how long we initially planned to close for – just until things calmed down a bit.
Today marks 12 months since we temporarily moved to WFH. 12 months of rent for an empty 2,500 sq ft space. 12 months of Zooms, remote working, and ultimately, surviving. Friday the 13th is of course often a day that people approach with trepidation and I have to say it was not a great day for us and so many others globally. As soon as we moved to WFH it was like every anchor, every security blanket and everything we as a company was sure of, disintegrated. The Push office & showroom was our ‘hub’, our events space, our daily inspiration and a place to welcome people and showcase what we were about. More importantly than anything, it was a space to work closely as a team on a daily basis, stay abreast of what we all needed, inspire each other and collaborate.
Quickly the day to day had to kick in too. Needing to run a PR sampling press office came with its obstacles, but this was when we really felt the team work begin to kick in. The teams would tee up the relationships and liaise with all the media & influencers, creating new location WFH databases of the recipients and then myself, Greg and the kids would make up all the parcels, load up the car and do our post office drop.
After the initial few weeks, I began to see the shift from fear to opportunity. The mood was changing. The fear was like an ignition that sparked a survival revolution. Suddenly it felt like everyone was pivoting. IG Lives, Reels, Zoom events, FB lives, Collabs, and thought leadership pieces. April was a whole new mood. The sun was (finally) shining. As a team we found our rhythm and things were different and unusual, but working. Suddenly we were all realising that change was possible. Clients realised that they needed to stay visible and not only stay visible, but to be more visible that ever before. We reengaged with existing clients, extended our remit with many and attracted new clients who identified this time of pain and change as a positive opportunity. Relationships with clients became closer, more connected than ever before and with the humanity of all figuring this all out together and keeping each other sane (ish).
Ultimately, as a business owner, 2020 wasn’t the year we had prepped for – far from it – but, like everyone else across the industry (and country), we’ve learned to adapt to a new way of working, a new sense of communication within the team, and a new honest relation with clients. We’ve pushed ourselves far beyond our expectation and we can only look forward into the exciting abyss of what this new year of opportunities brings to us.