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Managing a Remote Creative Team – feat. Mr B & Friends

It is always our aim to showcase and share the remarkable expertise and industry knowledge of those around us. Today, we’d like to feature a Design Leader on the topic of managing a remote creative team.

As part of this, we caught up with Steve Richardson, ECD at Mr B & Friends, to gather his thoughts on the most effective ways of running Creative teams remotely. Here, our chat as part of our Ask the Expert series.

ADLIB: Firstly, is remote working new to the business?

Steve: On this scale, as in everyone in the team – it is. We have flexible working, enabling people to fit work around their lives, but this time with CV19 it’s fitting lives around work funnily enough. Generally, though, we all find certain parts of projects WFH can be better. No distractions, turn off notifications and get creating. We often work from home to either get headspace, or when life gets in the way.

ADLIB: In a nutshell, what character trait do you think is most important when getting the most out of creative projects remotely?

Steve: Drive and energy. It’s very easy to get distracted. So by setting timers, switching off the phone, getting space to focus this all helps – but you need to have a sense of achievement in each working period – this comes from a good internal drive. It sounds a bit too much, but making progress is important, either professionally or personally. I’m constantly amazed by what we’re achieving during this time.

ADLIB: If you had to pick one, what tool enables your creative team to work at it’s best when remote?

Steve: Tough one. Slack has tried to replace email for me, just in smaller bites. I sound a bit of a luddite there for sure. I’d go for your video-conferencing tool of choice – ours is Zoom. It helps hugely to see faces, get connected and share screens. If only we’d all bought shares in that 2 months ago. As I’m sure many agencies have, we’ve learnt new ways to work – running large brand workshops and programmes all virtually, all through Zoom.

ADLIB: What process, approach or methodology have you found to be most beneficial to remote working?

Steve: As soon as CV19 became a thing, we set up two meetings every day. A quick-fire morning stand-up where we go through tasks and everyone can share where they are and what’s still to do and then an evening check-in to see what help is required, what still needs planning. We have since loosened those as it was too much, with project check-ins, team catch-ups too. Personally, I feel walking and talking on the phone, away from the home set-up has been refreshing too. Some air, a quick chat off-piste – helps to talk around a project, and make sure there are no crossed wires.

ADLIB: And finally, what would your one key piece of advice be for those looking to help remote teams function to their optimum?

Steve: Get creative with it. Right now, everyone has different home-life situations with young families or individually feeling quite isolated. Let your team know they have personal space and they should make time for themselves. Equip them correctly at home, with chairs if need be. Health and wellbeing is important – we’ve set-up Zoom quizzes (yes, I dress up like a lunatic), Friday beers, team gatherings and online fitness ab-lab sessions to enable virtual interaction in different ways.

Thanks so much for sharing!