CASSIDY-LYNNE LOCKDOWN DIARIES: PART 2

What each team member has learnt during the lockdown

We turned to our team to gain their raw, authentic views of our new way of working. 

Social distancing doesn’t have to keep us socially distant and we truly hope that you can find comfort in knowing that you feel the same way about this situation as one (or even all) of the members of the Cassidy-Lynne team. 

Here’s where their heads are at and their experience of the lockdown so far –

Roo – Senior Graphic Designer and Studio Manager

As the company introvert and firm believer in work-from-home days, I fit into this new lifestyle a little too easily (and am keeping fingers crossed that this virtual way of working becomes the new ‘normal’ for us at Cassidy-Lynne, hint, hint, winking face). Living a little further than everyone else from the office, my workday would often begin with me being late, and angrier than Joe Exotic in his anti-Carol Baskin campaigns (yes – Tiger King has filled a lot of my free time during lockdown). I’m loving the extra hours of sleep and the flexibility working remotely has offered me. Not having to drive in traffic has left me super zen and with some happiness to spare. I also have a bit more time for the things I like doing, as travel often eats into my free time.

I wasn’t too surprised that the transition from office to home went so smoothly, although to be fair, we have been training for this for a while. Our offering is mostly digital, which means that most of our processes happen online, and we’ve had work-at-home Fridays (my suggestion – obviously) since the beginning of this year. The only new addition is some extra communication on Slack, as well as Zoom catch-ups on Mondays, and I’ve been having the most fun with the Zoom virtual backgrounds.

It hasn’t been without its frustrations though – we’ve found out the hard way that a severe lack of emoji use can cause many heated written debates. Another big struggle for me is that there is no official leaving-of-the-office, which makes it hard to cut off completely from work. There is no leaving to go climbing, running or to the group classes at City Rock which had become such an integral part of my lifestyle. On top of that, everything is so connected it makes it difficult to have a clean separation and remember that there is a life to be had outside of work (even if it is very much indoors). I think this is all turning me into a bit of a workaholic. I’ve had to develop a new routine and become the Miss Trunchbull of self-discipline. I’m learning a lot about myself though, such as the fact that I really don’t like listening to my own authority.

I’m lucky enough to be sharing this lockdown with housemates and we’ve been keeping each other sane. My current itinerary has been as follows:

  • 07:30 Wake up, have coffee/breakfast. Sometimes get dressed. Sometimes work in pj’s ‘til 12.
  • 08:30 Start work.
  • 12:00/30 – Daily lunchtime exercise routines planned by alternating members of the group
  • 17:00 Wrap up work, start winding down from the day
  • 18:00 Evening yoga
  • 19:00 Cooking
  • 20:00 A daily episode or two of Community or Terrace House during dinner

Weekends:

  • Dress-up dinners and online quiz nights 
  • Board game nights such as Superhero Monopoly and Risk – The Walking Dead edition
  • Weekend projector movie screenings

Kadzi – Senior Copywriter

It was admittedly easy to fall into the lure of remote-working. Makeup-free afternoons in a worn-out gown had me ready to embrace this new work reality and never look back. And yet, this promise of ‘relaxed work life’ lasted about a week. 

It goes without saying that I continuously thank my lucky stars to be fortunate enough to work for a company that was able to make such a swift change to remote-working, but this doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced my fair share of hiccups along the way. 

My greatest hurdle, you know, besides navigating through a little separation anxiety, has been learning how to switch off. Unsurprisingly, working in the digital space requires you to stay connected. And sometimes our desire to stay ‘plugged in’ means that we give up our ability to completely disconnect. 

The reality of work, play and rest now occurring under the same roof has forced me to reassess how I approach my work and self-care. Both of which, I’ve discovered, are equally deserving of my time. So if this sounds like a balance that you are still trying to perfect, here are a few tips that have helped me find my perfect work/life balance.

Switch your camera on during Monday Morning Zoom meetings. 

While anyone that knows me understands that no video calls will occur without a prior appointment, I’ve recently discovered that video calls are admittedly important. Seeing my teammate’s faces is refreshing and incredibly entertaining as they navigate through the Zoom virtual background feature. 

It is also important to lean on those that find themselves in a similar predicament. It’s good to be reminded that you aren’t alone and that we are all adjusting … together.

Designate a specific space for work. 

While working from bed is the epitome of comfort, it’s easy to slump back into a counterproductive mode. Head over to a proper desk to get work done. It’s important not to blur a space intended for restoration with work productivity.

Get outside.

I couldn’t say this enough. Spend some time outdoors* soaking up some vitamin D. Your mind and body need the additional source of support. Trust me! (*unprovoked aside: please note that when I mention the great ‘outdoors’ I mean the outside area of your home. Don’t venture beyond your gate. We are in the middle of a pandemic. Stay at home!)

Be grateful. 

It is easy to become frustrated by our current circumstances but remember to practice gratitude on a daily basis – for your health, your loved ones and (for those lucky enough to be able to continue working) your job. 

Simphiwe – Graphic Design Intern

I’m indifferent about the lockdown because to a certain extent I feel it’s a necessary precaution but at the same time, I feel there was a different way to do things. 

Working in isolation has brought challenges for me in terms of communication, but I’ve been trying to stay ahead of the challenges by making sure I stay in contact with Roushan – our Senior Graphic Designer – and ask for help with even the slightest bit of work that I may not fully understand. Task breakdowns are a lot easier face-to-face.

Here is my lockdown routine that helps me stay on top of my work and connected with the rest of the team:

  • Before I go to sleep I make sure that I go through my tasks, to see what I have to do the following day.
  • I gather the essential resources I need for that task and create a designated folder.
  • Daily reminders are set on my phone, where task-specific schedules are mapped out for the day.

Jade – Account Manager

Much like everyone else, the very first thought to enter my mind when rolling out of bed every morning is ‘we’re another day closer to this lockdown finally being over’. It’s surreal to think while the world currently comes to a screeching halt, our minds have been shifted into overdrive. Sleepless nights, along with the uncertainty of the world and what happens next consume you – how will lockdown affect my future, my family’s future, and those closest to me? And while it’s extremely important to stay practical and informed, sometimes we all need a break from the bad news and negative thoughts. 

Thankfully, there has been some light through this dark time – our team’s ability to switch to remote-working. Now while my outgrown nails may beg to differ, I have quickly acclimatised to a human-free workplace. Our increased team productivity levels prove it too. 

Work, out of all things, has made lockdown a little more tolerable, and somehow restored a sense of normality in my life. The occasional pyjama day (please note that I am using the word ‘occasional’ as I am not ready to openly admit that this is my everyday work attire) makes it all the more bearable. Luckily, I also no longer have to endure the piercing Taylor Swift playlist Cassidy insists on playing – daily. 

Working from the comfort of my home has been a blessing in many ways. 

  • I am beyond thankful that I can wake up every day, log onto my laptop and get stuck into work that I am incredibly passionate about.
  • My mind is still being stimulated every day and the work distraction is definitely welcomed.
  • I have a strong team to lean on and somewhat nag over our communication platforms (#LifeOfAnAccountManager).
  • Our weekly team Zoom meetings allow me to see the faces of the beautiful humans (other than my parents, bless them – they’re great- but I do need to occasionally switch it up) that I work with.
  • I get to see the power of social media in a time of global uncertainty and its ability to inform and unite people around the world. 

Cassidy – Managing Director

I might be 5 months pregnant and coming out of lockdown with zero maternity clothes, but what I am coming out with is knowing that even amidst all this uncertainty, we have a dedicated A-team who knows how to pull themselves together – even if it is from their beds and Zoom meetings in their pyjamas. 

I’ve learned that during this lockdown, everyone is feeling, well – how everyone is feeling and maintaining transparency with my team and our clients has been key while also being compassionate and understanding to everyone’s unique situation. 

It’s been tempting to try to gain more business by reminding people how important it is to market their businesses online during this time and to ‘gear themselves up for digital disruption!!’, but I’ve had to take a few steps back and, as mentioned in the blog post – ‘read the room’. 

Instead, we’ve done what I’d like to encourage other businesses to do for the last week of lockdown  – work on your businesses as best as you can because we all know that when we’re able to get back to some sort of ‘business-as-usual’ – whatever that will mean – we will be so busy working IN our businesses that we won’t have time to work ON them. 

I share much of the same sentiments as my team –

  • We’re lucky enough to have continued working during this time to keep our minds occupied and establish some sort of a routine while already having awesome processes in place to make a smooth transition
  • I’m grateful for having such a tight-knit team to lean on and work through this crazy time with and seeing their faces on our Zoom meetings is such a treat! We never know which virtual background Roo will be appearing on and Kadzi’s new attitude toward video calls is amazing
  • I love that I get to blast Taylor Swift as loud and as often as I want in my own home – at the expense of my husband’s sanity (he is legally bound to tolerate this, so it’s okay)

As we navigate these uncharted waters with our clients and our potential clients, I look forward to seeing how people perceive the world of online communication and whether there is any shift in need toward digital communication and strategies which aim to maintain and build relationships with an online audience. 

My team and I are here and we’re ready when you are to hit the reset button and redefine what ‘business-as-usual’ looks like to you.

Read part 1/2 where we delve into the challenges we’ve had to face and the lessons we’ve learnt as a company