Lead Forensics

Working at a media agency amid the pandemic

By Alexa Buckler, Associate Director at Guerillascope.

07 July 2021


Announcing Guerillascope’s third-place ranking in Campaign’s Best Places to Work to a friend recently, I was asked what working for a media agency actually involves, and how the pandemic’s changed things.

“Do you have sleeping pods like Google?”

“Is there a bouncy castle onsite?”

The answer to these questions is a no – though, our Suggestions Box may have a couple of new additions soon.

Turns out, trying to summarise what’s it like to work here is actually pretty hard. In fact, I’d say the thing I love most about my job is the fact that every day offers something new: be it faces, perspectives, experiences or challenges.

Rising to new challenges

The past year has, of course, well and truly shattered any illusions of ‘normality’.

With so much uncertainty in the air, we’ve had to be reactive and respond quickly to new developments as they happen. One potential problem we’ve been determined to avoid is isolation, a source of much difficulty for millions over the last twelve months. To combat this and help us stay connected, we have organised numerous virtual activities, including wine tasting, guided meditation, HIIT workouts, a comedy club and more quizzes than Chris Tarrant could handle.

Besides all the fun stuff, we’ve also developed new ways of working together. Team meetings on Zoom, virtual pitch brainstorms and cloud-based document-sharing have taken on much greater precedence, ensuring the efficiency with which we work has been maintained while introducing a fresh approach to collaborating on projects, both internally and with our partners.

Staying positive

Staying positive amidst all this upheaval has been a challenge for most people across the nation. To overcome this, Guerillascope has encouraged the team to take this opportunity to grow as individuals with the establishment of an inspiration fund, which grants every employee £200 to spend on anything from a cookery course, to learning a new language and drawing classes.

We’ve also introduced trained mental health first-aiders as support for anyone who may be struggling with anxiety or other mental health issues. We believe it’s vital that people know this support is available – our staff can additionally pursue help through our comprehensive health insurance.

Perhaps most important, however, has been the reopening of our offices for a couple of days a week, subject to the latest government guidance and regular testing. This has proved particularly beneficial for our newer members of the team (some of whom joined during the pandemic) in terms of their learning and development – though, I think it’s fair to say that the past year and a half has really reinforced the value of human contact for everyone at the company. No amount of Zoom drinks or virtual Christmas dinners can truly replicate the lift you get from seeing your friends in person.

Banding together for a greater good

We obviously cannot wait to hang out together again at the company’s country retreat in Oxford – and we’re definitely chomping at the bit to go on another team conference! Yet we also understand and respect the need to follow the government’s instructions: ultimately, the safety of our staff, partners and clients must take precedence.

Guerillascope is proud of the fact that we’ve successfully avoided furloughing any of our staff (a number one priority at the outset of the first lockdown), while we’ve been boosted hugely by the courage and resilience of our clients, who have continued to invest in their brands throughout the pandemic and now find themselves in a strong position. Gratitude, too, must be expressed in droves to our partners, who have been invaluable sources of support and inspiration.

Final thoughts

I feel fortunate to work for a company that, when all is said and done, puts the interests of the people who give it life before anything else.

Some things may never fully be the same again, and that’s ok – we’re determined to channel this experience into driving the business forward with new and progressive ways of approaching work.

But the things that really matter remain intact: the respect for each other, the commitment to our clients, and our love for an industry that has so much capacity for good.

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