Filament’s research on Agency Reopening published by MM and M magazine

As agencies started to consider a post-Covid existence, the issue of reopening the office has come to the forefront. Filament’s Independent Agency Forum worked to combine both qualitative and quantitative surveys to help get a better understanding of how employees will expect to use the office in the future.

MM and M magazine today published some of the overarching themes of the research. Click here to read the article.

Filament Forum result to be published in MM and M magazine

After a brief conversation with MM and M magazine, they have expressed interest in publishing the survey findings from Filament Independent Agencies survey on re-opening the office.

While the findings are not complete yet, it is exciting to see so much interest in the marketplace for our survey findings.

We will publish a link to the article when it is published.

Filament Independent Agency forum addresses re-opening issues

The Filament Independent Agency Forum has grown to over a dozen organizations representing a variety of communication firms. As we all get closer to the idea, if not reality, of reopening the forum conducted both qualitative research as well as a quantitative survey with nearly 500 employees respondents.

The research dove into areas of concern including:

  • what did staff like about working from home
  • what did staff dislike about WFH
  • what are staff expectations as we start to consider re-opening the office
  • how has the role of the office changed since Covid
  • what are tasks are best handled best in the office (or from home)
  • what does staff miss most about the office

Some of the qualitative responses were surprising and we look forward to seeing if those responses show up in the quantitative survey.

We will keep you posted as the findings are available.

Virtual training offerings at Filament

2020 created an enormous set of challenges for Filament since nearly 90% of work is done in person. While we needed to redesign or organization, we found that there are some significant advantages to changing to a zoom/webex format for training.

Two things popped up as the biggest advantages. First, if most presentations are going to be done in a virtual format, it stands to reason that at least presentation training should be in a virtual format. The second is that fitting multiple, short zoom meetings into agency staff schedules is far easier than dedicating an entire day or two to training.

While there is no replacement for in-person training, zoom/webex have proven to have some significant advantages and will give us different options to meet different client needs.

Who would have thought that something positive, however small, could come out of an otherwise brutal year.

Here is to a better 2021

Now that 2020 is in the rear view mirror, I think we can all breath a sigh of relief and hope that 2021 will be an improvement.

While March and April were scary from both a personal and business standpoint, mid-June through the end of the year were incredibly busy. New clients, new projects, new challenges all combined to make for an exciting year. In some ways, being busy with business issues helped to divert our attention from all of the mayhem occurring around us.

We can only hope that 2021 offers all of us a return to some sense of normalcy.

From all of us at Filament, best wishes for a safe 2021 and that we all get through troubled times with as few bumps and bruises as possible.

Happy New Year everyone!

Filament agency executive forum address mental health issues and WFH

As we move from fall to winter and outdoor opportunities dwindle, it is not surprising that mental health and Covid fatigue are becoming bigger and bigger issues.  Filament’s independent agency executive forum is tackling the issue head on and spent the entirety of the last two forum meetings discussing ways to help employees stay positive and navigate what will likely be a very difficult winter.

While the news of vaccines is certainly very positive, it would be surprising if the distribution would be wide enough to make a significant impact on our agency staff this winter.  As a result, finding ways to boost morale and give people tools to handle mental health issues are crucial. 

The last two forum sessions have given us all a number of new techniques to address the growing issues.  Nobody on the forum feels like they have the answer when it comes to improving mental health and morale but everyone came out of the meeting with a few new tools and techniques that can help.

It is important for us to all work together as we navigate unprecedented times.

Stay safe everyone…

Is what we are experiencing 6 months into Covid-19 our new normal?

So many challenges faced agency executives in the first few months of Covid-19

  • When will we reopen?
  • How will we reopen?
  • How will we get work done with no one in the office?

Fast forward 6 months and those issues seem like they don’t matter anymore and have been replaced with larger, industry-changing issues?

  • How do we maintain staff mental health, particularly in big cities, when everyone is cooped up in their small apartments?
  • How do we develop skills in more junior staff when they are no longer learning by being around other, more senior staff members?
  • How do we develop and maintain an agency culture when we are all remote?
  • How do we handle people that move out of state and assume they can work remotely forever?

And most of those issues have nothing to do with winning business, creating great work and turning a profit.  While our industry has changed significantly over the last two decades, it seems as though Covid is forcing us to wrestle with tremendous, urgent, far-reaching issues while at the same time creating great work that keeps our clients’ businesses moving forward.

While none of the answers are simple, Filament has created a collection of independent agency executives to address the issues that are keeping our agency clients up at night.  It is amazing to see how a group of bright minds can handle multiple difficult issues at the same time, creating both short-term and long-term fixes to the significant challenges we are all facing.

The first six months of Covid have been a rollercoaster but I think we are in a better place to face the challenges that the next six months will bring us.

Stay safe everyone. We will get through this…

The furious pace of change during the Covid era

At the first independent agency forum meeting, much of the discussion centered on reopening the office. How do we keep people safe?  What percentage of staff should be in the office?  What would cause us to shut the office again?  Just two weeks later, at the second meeting, and reopening the office seems like a pipe dream. Now the priority is how do we make work from home as effective as possible?  How do we keep employees engaged?  How do we keep clients engaged? How do creative teams (and all teams) better collaborate from a distance?

It is amazing how things are changing so quickly. Reopening the office seems like an almost silly proposition. Working from home appears as if it will be with us for a long time. Now the focus is how do we make WFH as good as we can make it.

The issues change drastically from over the course of just a few weeks. It certainly is a trying time.

Stay safe everyone…

Filament launches independent ad agency forum to discuss Covid-19 issues

As we all work our way through Covid-19 issues, it occurred
to me that our independent agency clients might benefit from Filament organizing
a group of agency executive to discuss all of the issues that we are wrestling
with as a result of the pandemic.   A few phone calls later, and we have 8 clients
scheduled to meet every other week to discuss issues like re-opening plans, pitching
new business remotely, maintaining culture and morale and a variety of other
issues. 

The forum is a collection of regionally diverse agencies ranging from 50 staff members to over 400.  The agencies are also diverse in their offerings including full-service agencies, public relations, public affairs, pharma agencies, digital and media shops.  The diversity of the group should give us a varied perspective on how to deal with different issues during unprecedented times.

I look forward to working with the group.

An odd end to the first quarter

While the first quarter was furiously busy, the end of March brought scary times. Hopefully, this will be short-lived but the news seems to get worse every day.  Stay safe everyone.