Together… but not quite.

Together: it’s a word that has been used frequently in these crazy last few months.

We cannot be together, but we still need to work together in many ways.

Our abilities to work together have been tested more than ever before, as the need to do so has become increasingly more important.

Not only professionally, but in our households and personal lives as well. Juggling the complexities that come with the current situation means working together in completely new ways to get through the day to day.

Even down to the supermarket big shop. One family who prefers to walk the aisles and browse together may be forced to utilise a shared shopping list, with one selected family member heading to do the leg work. Or, that family may now be online shopping for the first time ever, unable to browse freely and maybe even having to learn a new skill or face a new challenge!

Alternately, it may be perfect for those shoppers who’ve always loved the online route – crowd free and efficient.

Neither is right and neither is wrong, it’s all down to personal preference, and how we each see the world.

Working together in this way, therefore also makes it very important to be able to understand others and put ourselves in their shoes.  To understand that someone else’s’ preferences, might be different to ours.  It can help in our overall life and during the big moments and the big challenges we face, and also can be a transferable skill that is helpful in our day-to-day working lives.

At MMC we’re very conscious of our differing preferences when it comes to communication and collaboration, having gone through an Insights Discovery exercise as a full team.

For those who haven’t heard of Insights Discovery, it’s a psychometric testing model that utilises four colours to highlight our individual tendencies for behaviours and communication.  You can read more about it here https://www.insights.com/products/insights-discovery/

We love it, because for us it helps to show the differences in how we consume information and perceive situations.   For example, even in a small agency such as ours, we have team members who prefer verbal discussions to achieve a plan, and those who prefer consuming and reflecting on written information. 

For those team members to work together, finding a common language and way of working together can be the difference between a good solution and a great solution.  It allows the team, and the solution, a chance to breathe.

For that reason, you’ll hear talk in our studio about how we are being green today, and that we are having a meeting with someone who is yellow.  Or that we have found a common language in our inner blue. 

We try our best to consider individual preference when it comes to all our team and external interactions. How it’s best to prepare for a meeting, when is the best point in time to share agenda expectations.  It creates a greater sense of team, as well as a greater self-awareness.

Working from home has highlighted different positives and negatives for our differing personality types. For some, collaborating online has offered the opportunity to pause and take a breath before responding to a question or sharing a thought.

For others, the lack of physical people interaction has brought the need to find a creative spark in a different way or find the energy they naturally get from other people via more difficult digital interactions on such platforms as Teams or Zoom.

One person’s struggle is perhaps another’s strength, and we’re really proud to be a team that considers this as part of our daily collaborations.

I can imagine that we are not alone in these challenges in our life and in our work.  Quite a lot of our clients work within the Pharmaceutical industry and congress season is fast approaching. As we write this, EHA (one of the globe’s biggest Haematology conferences), happened virtually for the first-time last week, due to COVID-19 restrictions.  The opportunity to physically meet and share a coffee with like-minded professionals, wander round the different exhibitions and sit in on abstract presentations was replaced with online sharing of information instead. 

We are seeing this happen with many other events and moments that we would normally mark by being physically together.  Some are not possible at all, but when there is value to certain elements of the event being delivered digitally, it is wonderful to see groups and organisations trying to find ways of being together, and being effective, in this way.

Taking this further, if togetherness became an enduring change from this difficult moment in our lives, just think of the power? 

Imagine if we continued to understand each other a little bit more, and work together towards common and positive goals?  That we began to look past what we think are differences, and past thinking about them as divisions or labels.  That instead we saw them as a chance to become more individually and collectively enlightened and accepting of each other.

At the moment, we’re still working on a roadmap for how we get team MMC back in the office.  We’re not sure when this will be, but we’re looking forward to watching the world continue to be together. 

Together, eventually physically.  And together, even when physically apart.

by Aimee Greensmith, Account Director.

2 thoughts on “Together… but not quite.

  1. Great read Aimee, do MMC and clients associated see a return to office working or will we see a hybrid approach being adapted – in person in office when you can’t get something done or need to get away from home?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Roger! Firstly hope you are well and sending good wishes as always from MMC! This is a really interesting question. From our perspective, we have been lucky to have the tools and systems set up to work at home, and as you say there are moments when it is beneficial to have this focus. But there are always moments when physical discussion and contact really adds value, it is hard to say exactly when, but we all feel it. We have also discussed a lot about our differences and how this has reflected on home working, from a professional and personal perspective. It’s likely we will go for a hybrid model in the short term, to remain flexible in general but also to give our team a chance to be more flexible with their work and lives. It would be interesting to see how things go more widely. Organisations may have invested a lot into digital infrastructure and tools over this period, especially where there is a need to work over international boundaries. Users have also been able to get used to these kind of ways of working and how they can keep us productive and feeling connected in so many different ways. We are going to take the best of both, and apply it how we can for future productivity and wellbeing, for sure.

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