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Staying Proactive in Challenging Times

With most of adland continuing to work from home, Mark McCann, managing director of Oliver Ireland continues our weekly series about agencies working from home by describing some of the challenges it has faced over the past few weeks and the steps it has taken to ensure business continuity.

It is now just over two weeks since the Government announced a general shutdown, and advised that people should work remotely from home, with more stringent restrictions announced this week.

First and foremost this is a human crisis: Looking after our people is the priority through this difficult time.  Empathy, understanding and mental health awareness is vital.

How are we coping so far?

Well, here at OLIVER it is business as usual. We have seen amazing team spirit and we have all pulled together. There’s been a huge focus on increased communications.

We had put measures in place for all our staff to WFH along with all the technical requirements (and challenges!) that they posed.  Being first and foremost an onsite agency this presented  additional challenges but we have found ways to do the right work, in the right place, at the right time.  We have found that we can deliver on our core values even in these unprecedented and most challenging times.  We can still do work faster, better, cheaper – wherever that is – through collaboration and a collaborative spirit.

We are part of a global agency network, and this puts us in a strong position to deal with these challenges. We have learnt from our colleagues in China for example, they, like us saw a re-focus on e-commerce & specialist knowledge and they moved to stimulate normal business activity quickly afterwards.  Our colleagues in the USA are also now taking learnings from the global experience too.

Phase one of our Coronavirus response focused on getting the company as prepared as possible to have a large numbers of people working from home and to be able to continue working with a large number of clients that are also working from home.  This phase has been implemented successfully and our teams have adjusted to the new way of doing things with patience and professionalism.

Phase two focuses on getting back to basics and adapting to this new set up that ensures that OLIVER doesn’t miss a step in its day to day business of delivering results for our clients. The environment that we were all used to working in has changed so quickly and it is important that we change quickly too in finding new and innovative ways to continue doing what we do best.

Now in Phase 2 of our response our plan is for our team to focus on the following:

  1. Communicate: Working remotely means everyone needs to stay connected to each other, their teams and their clients even more than usual as there is now no longer the opportunity of a casual chat in the client’s office.
  2. Assistance: We are constantly asking our clients what we can do to help them. Everyone is trying to adapt to a new way of working and living and we want them to know that we are here to reduce the burden as much as we can.
  3. Pro-active We pride ourselves on always thinking about the challenges from our clients’ perspectives and coming up with innovative and creative ideas that help them, their business and their brands.

This is a worrying and stressful time for everyone, so it is important that OLIVER is what it’s designed to be and that’s great communicators in a time of need.

Fortunately, our business is uniquely positioned to be able to deal with these uncertain times. We have built very strong and trusted relationships with our clients and need to nuture these relationships to ensure we can maintain the stability of all our businesses.

These are difficult and challenging time for all of us and we know our peers are all in a similar situation. We wish our colleagues in the industry well too and know we will all come through this.

While I don’t have any real answers around the longevity of the situation, I know that we’ve got this. Our team of talented individuals coupled with our clients commitment, will see OLIVER come out of this stronger.



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