Working together, wherever – how Propeller and Upfront keep the team spirit fizzing

Speaking on the task of growing a business and creating a positive working culture, Henry Ford once noted that “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” 

For businesses of all shapes and sizes around the world right now, the process of keeping everyone together has never been so important – or so challenging. So, as we swap our offices for our homes, shift our meetings to video calls and move from drinks at the pub to FaceTime and wine, how do we keep pulling in the same direction as a team?

Here at Propeller and Upfront we have been on a steep learning curve on how to keep mentally and physically in shape and camaraderie high. While we all have the opportunity at our business to work from home occasionally, that’s nothing like the experience of working in our habitats full time. It’s a big change.

We’ve canvassed tips and tricks from among the teams and think some of them might be useful – or at least bring a smile to your face. 

Rose Bentley, Director of Clients & Strategy (and resident Master Chef)

Find a recipe to cook meals which are more of a process than usual. Something that needs you to make flaky pastry from scratch. Or better still, get a sourdough starter going (if you can get your hands-on flour and pineapple juice). It’s good to have a tasty experiment to check on and prod between Zoom calls. 

On a work note, don’t desert your grooming routine completely. If nothing else, it makes you feel good and ready to face the working day. And it cheers people on the other end of Zoom to see you in business as usual mode. 

Jocelyn Wright, Account Director

Get dressed.

Take breaks.

Stick to your hours so you can create boundaries between home and work life.

Kate Chaundy, Account Director

Start a jigsaw puzzle and every time you make a cup of tea or coffee and are waiting for the kettle to boil, spend a few minutes on it. Mindful task! 

Branwell Johnson, Director of Content

If you don’t have/can’t afford a peloton, get a skipping rope – it’s a lot cheaper. I’ve had one for years. If you do have a bicycle give it some maintenance and get out on the road – it’s still allowed, and you see some fresh things.

Gill Browne, Senior Account Manager

Have a dedicated ‘workspace’ if possible (aka don’t be tempted to work on your bed). 

Have boundaries and make sure to take lunch. Have virtual coffee breaks with colleagues.

Ask anyone/everyone how they are coping – everyone needs to talk, and unusual circumstances mean people are more open to a chat. I’ve been having those conversations with clients, journos, salespeople, anyone really, and a lot of people are grateful to be asked.

Turn on video for calls where possible – it’s nice to see faces. Have lots of plants in your surroundings. Let your mum know that WFH does not mean you are 24/7 available for a coronavirus themed catch-up!! 

Georgie Power, Business Development Director, Upfront BD

Getting ready in the morning as if you’re going to work – couldn’t recommend it more!

Coffee calls and catch ups with the team in the morning, continuing the company vibe and making you feel part of something.

Jess Milham, Senior Events & Partnerships Manager, Upfront BD

Keep moving!

I like to go for a walk with my dog (obvs once a day) OR go on the PELOTON!

Also make time to have a virtual coffee with a colleague. 

Holly Dymock, Account Director

Wear bright things. Play loud music. Cook tasty stuff. 

All help to give you energy, cheer you up – and beat the boredom!

Rory Leader, Content Manager 

It’s important to find entertainment in the small things.

Making a cup of tea is easy. But swishing a tea-bag in your mug from across the kitchen before the kettle boils? This is a challenge. I promise you a tea will never taste better than when you’ve hit a three-pointer to make it. 

In a way, if a pandemic had to happen, we are blessed it’s in a golden age of home entertainment. We live in a golden age of content – and this goes well beyond just Netflix and Disney+. Video games are excellent – and if you have never played a game before – now could be a great time to start. 

From FIFA to the Sims, there’s genuinely something for everyone. I have plugged some solid hours into my Football Manager game – and the joy of watching Sunderland rise from League One to achieve Premier League and FA Cup glory is something Covid-19 can never take away. 

Kieran Kent, MD, Propeller Group

With coffee shops off limits at the moment I’ve had to invest in a top-quality coffee machine so I can still get my cappuccino fix each morning.

My son’s bedroom doubles up as my workspace now so I’m surrounded each day by miniature toy figures from the worlds of Harry Potter and Star Wars. It’s a different working environment but I think all businesses are having to do a bit of wizardry and use their Jedi force powers right now! 

These are undoubtedly strange times – but just because we are isolated does not mean we are alone. These tips and tricks help us navigate through this period and remind us that really, we have never been so connected. 

With a combination of technology, teamwork and courage we are all able to stay in touch with our clients and our colleagues, as well as our families and our friends, and continue to all work together – no matter where we are. And that’s success in itself!