• Madeleine Bonser

Spotlight on Matt Daley - Coping with the pandemic

Here at Spotlight, we had the opportunity to chat with Matt Daley, CMO and Co-Founder of Circulate Digital. He spoke to us about how he and the business coped during the pandemic.

What has been your strategy for your business during corona?

Firstly, let me start by saying that to anyone that has had loss during COVID-19, my heart goes out to you and your loved ones.

COVID-19 is a strange subject because it’s created a terrible act of destruction across the world. Most of my team have had COVID and in some cases, they’ve had it multiple times. Our Head of Marketing Services was almost hospitalised by it too.

I have been very fortunate to have dodged COVID so far but it has impacted the way we work quite dramatically, especially during the early stages.

Let’s start with day one of lockdown. Meetings after meetings. Honestly, looking back at it it’s crazy to see that we did this. Luckily we evolved quickly from this point. Our strategy has always been to put trust in the team to deliver results. When you’re not in an office it’s hard to follow a routine. Let’s face it most of you probably wake up at 8:55 to hit that 9am call. We found a couple of simple ways to manage workload and efficiency in our business.

Firstly, calendars had to become a huge part of our daily routine. Everyone needs to be clear about what they want to achieve in a day. Even now when people are back in the office everyone maps their calendars out to keep organised and it really works!

Secondly, we optimised our task management system to get more organised. We realised that the one we had before couldn’t cope with the internal issues of not being able to communicate as effectively as we would have done in the office. We moved systems to create more structure around campaign communications and tasks.

Lastly, we had one meeting a day with relevant team members to ensure that we all knew what was going on within their teams. We kept people accountable to keeping on top of their tasks to keep productive.

The ultimate conclusion for our team was actually that they all prefer social interaction. Despite having a work from home policy, we have a much bigger uptake to being in the office as it currently stands. I also think this comes down to us putting a lot of time and attention into making the work environment amazing.

What top tips do you have for businesses struggling with remote working?

I really believe that as a business owner you have to trust your team if they’re working remotely. So if you’re having problems, I’d recommend asking yourself that question. If you have doubts try to understand why you don’t and identify areas of inconsistency in your work output.

I struggle to think that the more junior members of your team will find as much personal development without social engagement and learning from experienced members of the team.

This was actually one of our findings throughout lockdown because it was certainly hard to keep on top of that as you’re trying to deliver projects. Sometimes the smallest question can distract you from achieving the task that you have set out to complete. If this is your case, I’d recommend putting in place regular Q&A sessions and online training to help motivate your team. Also, use Slack as your main comms method for internal projects. It's quick and easy to respond and keeps everyone on the ball.

How has your business adapted to deal with such uncertain times?

We had to adapt most certainly from a trust perspective. As mentioned, when we first started working from home it was all new to us and we didn’t know how best to navigate through the pandemic, but as time went on we decided that our development into staff culture had to be our primary goal to keep the business moving forward and of course keeping our team happy.

We found that as soon as the office opened, staff members flocked back into the office eagerly. We had our office in Manchester shut down for a month due to an office move and we saw similar trends starting to appear. Our Head of Marketing services has been great at managing these transition periods and often hosted coffee meetups where they could collaborate together to communicate client plans, workflow and internal processes.

If you’ve found how Matt and Circulate Digital coped with the pandemic helpful, be sure to keep up to date with him on Instagram and Linkedin. Also, check out Circulate’s website today.

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