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Karen Stacey 

Some things will never find an e-equivalent

Some things will never find an e-equivalent

While everyone has been enjoying Zoom and House Party to get them through lockdown, Karen Stacey questions whether 'e-everything' is really set to become the new normal

I really enjoyed Mediatel’s virtual roundtable last week where some of our agency leaders looked at the immediate and long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, not only on our industry but society in general.

There were many opinions that resonated, not least Danny Donovan’s (UK CEO, Mediahub) optimism that cinema will see a huge boost coming out of this (we need some positivity in these tough times!) However, it was the discussions around the human effects that I wanted to share some thoughts on.

Lindsay Pattison (Global CCO, WPP) talked about the new normal becoming ‘e-everything’ from entertainment to education to a more visual-virtual social life.

However, while we’ve all been enjoying Zoom and House Party virtual quizzes, drinks and dinner parties to get us through the lock down, I believe our craving for human contact and shared experiences ‘in real life’ will make all the ways we can enable this even more important - whenever we can get back to a new normality.

And, while it’s been a relief for all leaders to know that working from home collectively can work, it’s made me really evaluate where it can add value and where it can’t.

I’ve been so proud of how the whole team has adapted to working from home – the productivity and the connectivity across the whole team has been phenomenal. BUT – we’ve missed being together in the office more than I could have predicted.

We’ve had some tough decisions to make over the last few weeks and I’ve missed the unspoken shorthand that you can only get from being in the same room together. Instinctive collective communication is intangible and impossible to replicate remotely.

I’ve also missed the spontaneity that comes from sitting right in the centre of a thriving culture and a team all sat closer than two metres together. Unplanned, wide-ranging discussions and random great ideas born out of an overheard conversation are hard to schedule via Skype for Business.

I’ve even missed commuting – giving me that much needed headspace to get in to and out of work mode. Having those boundaries and the balance between home and work can be easier when office based, despite the many positives of home-working.

Ultimately, I couldn’t agree more with Richard Morris (UK CEO, IPG Mediabrands) who said that post the COVID-19 pandemic we’d cherish more our freedoms, enjoy being outside, being with other people and having shared experiences – with all the implications for media consumption.

All we can all hope for ultimately is that we and our loved ones stay safe, and that we keep our businesses operational in the short-term to thrive in the long-term.

People are THE priority and I can’t wait to be back ‘in real life’.


Karen Stacey is CEO at Digital Cinema Media

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