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Ask Lawrence: How has the pandemic changed the creative studio?

21 Aug 14:00 By Lawrence Akers

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One of the biggest changes the creative industry has had to endure directly from the pandemic is the location of their creative studio.

 

Since the beginning of the creative studios, it has always been something that has been done ‘together’, collaboratively, in teams.  The whole structure has generally been led by a creative vision which then filters down to the various creatives involved and with it all onsite, the ability to walk around and to get an instant update on where work is at, bounce ideas, and ensure it is heading in the right direction.

 

Technology has made it easier for that ability to check in becoming virtual and yet there has still been a reluctance for many studios to go offsite.  The additional challenge has often been around the limitations of technology, such as the fact that a largely MAC based creative industry often struggles to connect with Windows based networks.  Additionally, the infrastructure isn’t always necessarily there; I have spoken to creatives who have finally been sent offsite but who are still experiencing difficulties because of the file sizes or number of assets that they’ve needed to download and finding that their internet is just not coping with that volume or quantity.

 

About two weeks prior to our initial national lockdown in March, I spoke with a well known retail studio and asked if they were prepared to go offsite.  The response I received was, “we just can’t do that.”  Now, I know that other retailers also had the same attitude about their onsite studio and yet in some cases, they’ve found a way to make going offsite work.  As much as some might believe that ‘we just can’t do that’, this is often an indication that they are still working from a short term strategy plan when it comes to this pandemic and the reality is that this ‘new normal’ might be with us for a little more longer term than what they anticipated.

 

The pandemic is forcing businesses to be agile and in many cases, it is showing the shortcomings of their studio set up.  If this continues like it is for much longer, and many suspect it will, they will need to come up with a new plan in order to continue being capable of producing work.

 

It is still anyone’s guess what the way forward is however recent statistics have indicated that, unless a vaccine is found, there is a large percentage of the population who are not keen to return to onsite work unless forced to.  There are understandable concerns around shared workspaces and the potential for businesses to cut corners on their COVID Safe Plans as well as anxieties around transport in and out if they don’t have a car or if they wish to not drive in each day.  

 

Additionally, on the other side of this pandemic, if a successful way to work remotely has been achieved, it can open up a whole world of possibilities for all.  Businesses will not have to necessarily rent out large spaces to operate and could save considerable operational costs.  Employers will have the ability to work from anywhere if they choose; a week in the country working?  Why not!  Additionally, it can also mean the creation of an ‘international night shift’ for some businesses tapping into a global market.  When the fear of working remotely is resolved, the opportunities that this presents can seem very appealing.

 

What are your thoughts on this?  Do you want to see everything return back to how it was and everyone on site?  Or are you keen to take the best of the ‘old normal’ and mash it up with the ‘new normal’ to create another way of engagement?  

 
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