For the majority of my working life I’ve commuted into London – always from various locations in Hampshire. It’s not been an insignificant commute either: 2.5 hours each way door to door.
“Five hours of commuting?!?! That’s almost a working day!” is the standard response but I’ve honestly never minded the commute – “I’m in the zone,” I always say. Next question is, “Why do you do it?” Because I love where I live, deep in the Hampshire countryside and can’t imagine waking up anywhere else – then the golden question, “Surely you can work from home?” But the thing is, I really enjoy work, the office, the buzz, the banter and always thought that working from home would have a negative impact on the fantastic team spirit that we have at Rare Breed.
And yet, here we are, 12 weeks into lockdown (if that’s still what we’re in?), doing exactly what I thought we’d never do – working from home – and I couldn’t have hoped for more. I’m constantly in contact with the team and we are still producing great work. The ideas are flowing as much as ever, there’s still the buzz of excitement and there’s always time for a catch up – I’ve always enjoyed a natter.
The thing which has become clear, is that when a team has the solid foundations ours has, a great team is still a great team – even if it’s spread across the country. Partly it’s a shared history; Rob and I set up the agency 15 years ago and we’ve worked with many of our partners and associates for more than a decade and many of our clients too (although it’s not all about longevity – we’ve also managed to successfully induct a brand new member of the team during lockdown!). And perhaps partly, it’s down to shared values; honesty, a sense of humour and a commitment to creating great work and to do right by our clients.
Who knows where we’ll be this time next year – it’s too early to be sure. For now, I know that embracing change has been a positive thing for us as a business and as individuals – and while I’m looking forward to having face-to-face meetings with clients soon, and a face-to-face beer with the team too, the Friday afternoon ‘Zoom bar’ is working just fine. It’s an unusual ‘business as usual’ at Rare Breed – but I think I like it!