Microteams: Maximize Post-COVID Productivity
Creativity doesn’t exist in a vacuum. WeCreate Together!
How many times across the early months of 2020 have you heard brands talk about these uncertain times… or trying to go about business as usual with so many unknowns…?
Let’s be honest, you probably lost count back in April, right?
Everyone has their own approach to the Post-COVID World. McDonald’s and Burger King are redesigning their restaurant concepts from the ground up, car dealerships are working on creating programs to buy cars straight from your couch, and major box retailers are carving up their parking lots to allow for more pickup spots.
At WeCreate, our 2020 has been no different, filled to the literal brim with new, new, new. Our number one goal is always to keep our team safe, and at first, we weren’t really sure what that meant in relation to COVID-19 – besides staying home and six-feet apart.
We took the initiative to work from home and in small groups in the studio team with the proper Personal Protection Equipment, aka the now-famous PPE.
In all this uncertainty we found inspiration, and as is often the case, our team began to thrive with this new way of working together/apart. But the hours between our big team video calls left team members spinning their wheels, trying to determine the best course of action to be ready for the next big meeting all on their own – something that is neither exciting nor a way to get the best work out of anyone.
Admittedly there was some trial and error, but after a few internal discussions, we began humming along as if the world were right where we left off.
(Don’t worry, we’re going to discuss what those internal meetings were about… Mostly because we’ve been blown away by the success and connections our team has built in a few months!)
It Started with a Drive-by…
With our team working remotely, I knew it was crucial we adapt our workflow strategy, particularly in regard to how we collaborate. Gone are the days of the Mega Office where our 30-foot whiteboard and open-concept office lived, and instead our day-to-day morphed into seemingly endless Google Docs… But within our situation we found inspiration to fight back against the loneliness and disconnection felt by so many, our team included.
The first version of this solution was to create what we referred to as a Drive-By to get our daily dose of collaboration, whether that was teaming up to crush part of a project for a client or even just bouncing ideas off someone besides whoever happens to be near our home office area. This seemed to shore up the gaps but it felt like we needed more.
We quickly found drive-bys were taking as much time as they saved, because “catching up” with your teammate for a quick call would become an off-topic time-suck.
We needed to actually increase productivity to stay profitable.
Because let’s just say we missed eachother and…got easily distracted…
So We Adjusted
A few conversations later, and inspiration struck… What if we were more intentional in our Drive-By meetings?
It’s not like they weren’t working, but instead of popping in, we settled on assigning a Microteam (of two or three) to each item. Rather than a quick check-in when it was time to hand something off, they were put together for the duration of the work, pushing forward into a project with multiple experienced minds ready to make it happen.
Not only was this productivity booster right in front of us the whole time, but it also had an instant impact on our deliverables. Whether it’s a copywriter and designer developing an advertisement or two designers working on a brand book, we quickly found that organizing our group into Microteams created exponentially better work than we had ever seen before from those same extremely talented people.
In one example, our end-goal was to develop wireframes to update a website for a client. Normally straightforward enough when we were in the office, I knew we needed to develop a new process for this New World. The web designer and graphic designer, who have built incredible things together in the past, came back in a fraction of the time expected with the most beautiful work we had seen from either of them before.
Thinking it was a fluke, I sat down and asked the pair about their experience. They mentioned feeling encouraged and mentored by the other, even as the respective best at what they do for us. After pairing other Microteams together, the positive feedback spread like wildfire and we knew we had something excellent.
Microteams takes the age-old idea of teaming up and boils it down to its essence. We take the two people who need to be on a task and superglue them together with a common goal to keep the pair side by side on the entire task.
Double the hours when you team people up? No way, it’s effective teamwork!