Can you believe it?

It’s been a whole year since 438 decided to pack up the studio and work from home…

The day we left the agency, I remember joking “we’d be back in a couple of weeks when things had calmed down”, but here we are 12 months on, and the home-office has become the new normal.

The work-from-home experiment has been… interesting.

By my estimate, there have been three stages. The first, fuelled with adrenaline, new experiences and the idea that we’re all in this together. Back then, zoom-bombing pets and marauding toddlers were considered charming.

After the adrenaline highs of the first phase, came the amorphous blob when days became an unending blur of work and home life.

Then, as 2020 wound to a close, came the “I’m-shattered-I-just-want-a-break phase”.

However, sitting here and taking stock of the last year, it’s amazing how what started out as an emergency solution has evolved into a new and in some ways better way of working…

Efficient morning meetings with the entire team, daily commutes that take seconds rather than hours, meetings with agendas and hard stops… incredibly, our efficiency and creativity continue to go from strength to strength.

Here are just a few examples of work we’re proud to have delivered in the last 12 months:

A fully integrated campaign to launch a new cutting edge risk analysis tool globally. In the face of an imminent lockdown with COVID on the rise, we delivered this campaign against the odds, complete with a live action film which was shot just 24 hours before the Prime Minister’s lockdown announcement.

Hosted for 100 specially selected clients and partners, Assurant’s Insight event featured panel discussions, live interactive Q&As and two keynote speakers across a 160-minute event. Designed to be a digital event with a difference, the experience involved a blend of physical and digital materials to ensure the delegates were made to feel just as special as they would at a physical event, and all of this was done without ever meeting the clients in person until the day before the event.

This was our first big lockdown test. With the cancellation of the 2020 Commercial Vehicle Show, we swiftly created branding for a virtual event which showcased Isuzu’s vehicles online. Two weeks, four target customer segments, four socially distanced presenters and one 40 minute YouTube premier later – we delivered this piece…a week earlier than the physical show would have taken place.

And We Can’t Not Celebrate A First For 438 Too…

…Our ‘Add more Boom to your Zoom webinar’. We’re normally the ones behind the camera, not in front but this year saw us change that, when we teamed up with our presentation partner Chainsaw for a session all about improving your online presentation skills. Focusing on everything from content creation, handling of distractions and delivery, the session was packed with actionable takeaway tips and delivered by Andy Whitmore and Alasdair Farrar.

So, what next?

COVID has also taught us some valuable life lessons. We’re naturally excited by the prospect of returning to the agency later this year as creativity really does need collaboration, but we won’t go back to the way we were. Moving forward the team will have earlier finishes each day, and the option to work from home twice a week with even more flexibility than before, plus all the equipment they need to work anywhere. AND, importantly – we’ll return with an open mind to how we can keep changing and improving.

In truth, the last 12 months would have felt very differently had it not been for the people at 438. We’ve all experienced challenges, whether that be illness, furlough or combining a relentless work schedule with the need to home school our children… (is anyone an expert in Algebra? *wink* I’m asking for a friend *wink*) 438 is a home away from home, and although we’re very distant right now, I don’t think we’ve ever felt closer.

Andy Fearn, Account Executive, 23/03/21.