With much of the world in coronavirus lockdown, now seems as good a time as any to look at some effective examples of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) experiences. With physical events (at least the kinds we’re used to) looking unlikely to return any time soon, more and more companies are turning to the virtual world to provide brand awareness, marketing and information to both consumers and clients.
VR has seen rapidly increasing adoption over the last couple of years. The number of installed VR headsets is estimated to grow to 37 million by 2020, up from 14 million at the end of 2018. When we look at the adoption of AR we can see the huge impact that high end smartphones have, with an estimated 1.7 billion mobile AR users in 2020. By 2023, the global virtual reality market is expected to top an enormous $34 billion.
The last couple of years have also seen important advances in VR headset technology, making high end immersive experiences that were previously only achievable with a powerful gaming PC and an expensive headset far more accessible. Of particular note is the Oculus Quest. Released in May 2019, it’s a standalone headset that doesn’t require a PC to function. It’s able to run intensive 3D games and experiences in a much more streamlined and user friendly manner than is possible with older headsets. One of the key steps forward that this headset has taken is losing the need for base stations (sensors that the headset needs set up in the room in order to know where itself, and the controllers are).
The Oculus Quest
Most people don’t want to install sensors in their rooms to use a headset so advances like these are essential for greater adoption of the technology. From B2B, to online music events and more, VR has secured its place as an important tool in communication and entertainment. I’ve selected a few of these experiences that show how varied and effective VR can be, across all platforms, from high end gaming PCs to simple AR apps on phones.
Lost Horizon Festival
Although VR music events have been around for the past couple of years, in Coronavirus lockdown they’ve really started to come into their own, with some big names getting involved to help push them more into the mainstream. Lost Horizon was a virtual 2 day live music festival created by the team behind the Shangri-La stage at Glastonbury and hosted on the events platform Sansar.
Lost Horizon Festival
With customisable avatars and voice chat, the festival was much more sociable than the usual VR experience. With DJs playing live at specific set times though it was also more ephemeral as it could only be enjoyed in real time. This made it much more similar to being at a real festival than watching back a recording of a Glastonbury set, and really gave you a feeling that you were experiencing something unique. It’s clear that a lot of care and attention had been put into creating an event with an authentic look comparable to Glastonbury's Shangri-La.
“Fully customisable avatars will transcend gender, colour and the limitations of the body...”
for some this meant they could finally be floating toast, or something.
To get the most out of the experience a powerful PC with a headset was essential, however you could also observe the stages through virtual cameras using any internet browser, or use the app and control your avatar with a mouse and keyboard. One big positive is that the event was free with an optional paid premium pass, unfortunately the app only runs on Windows, which certainly limits the number of potential attendees.
Having multiple stages and lots of disconnected conversations happening at once could lead to quite a confusing experience but the chaos made the festival unpredictable and surprising. It’s clear that the technology is still in its infancy, but Lost Horizon was an interesting experiment showing what future VR music events could be.
Half-Life: Alyx is a Sci-Fi/Horror game from Valve Software and is a showcase for their Index headset (though it will also work with others). The Index is the most advanced (and most expensive) headset currently available and features controllers that accurately track fingers. The interaction with the game world is advanced enough that one tech savvy teacher used the game to conduct a maths class, streaming his experience to students.
Charles Coomber teaching maths in VR
The immersive nature of VR makes for a very intense experience once you add in horror and action, fumbling to load shells into a shotgun whilst being chased by zombies is quite the nerve wracking experience.
Whilst a great showcase for the current cutting edge of VR, the price of the headset and need for a powerful gaming PC puts the experience out of reach for most people. However, the advances made by Half-Life: Alyx are sure to filter down to more accessible forms of VR over the coming years, so at least we have some fantastically realistic wine simulation to look forward to!
Virtual wine on Half-Life Alyx
Red Cross - The Right Choice
The Right Choice is an interactive 360 video experience for Google Daydream, it can also be viewed by holding your phone as a ‘magic window’. The flim is intended to give you an insight into the hardships faced by families in Syria, it’s short but effective, providing the viewer with one key choice to make.
360 video in general is much more accessible than VR, as well as being more cost effective to produce. The Right Choice is available as a free app that can be run on a phone, which gives it much further potential reach than a headset only experience. Whilst the interactivity is basic, it prevents the message getting bogged down in gimmicks, freeing up the viewers attention to focus on the action on screen.
The Syrian family in ‘The Right Choice’
Veryx Food Sorting
We usually think of 360 video and VR experiences as purely consumer focused entertainment products, but they can also be used as tools for education, training and marketing in the b2b space.
Key Technology is a food processing technology company. For their latest product, the VERYX food sorter, they produced an animated 360 video that lets the viewer see inside the machine whilst a voice over explains it’s functions and leads them through the experience. Whilst this is 360 video and it’s most basic, providing no interactivity, it means that the video is much more easily shareable across platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo where it is viewable both with and without a headset.
The VERYX food sorter
Gucci - AR Trainers
Whilst headset based VR is great at providing truly immersive experiences, it’s hard to beat the immediacy using your phone to access augmented reality experiences. The fashion industry has been an early adopter of the technology, where the main benefit has been in letting consumers try on clothing and accessories virtually.
One recent standout has been the AR implementation in the Gucci app, which allows you to try on different styles of trainers by looking at your own feet through your phone's camera. A key advantage with phone based AR is that the experiences are ready made to be shared across users' social networks, increasing engagement.
Virtual Gucci trainers
Although we’ve seen steady progress in the right direction, the cost and bulkiness of headsets are still major barriers to entry for most people looking to get into VR. Many brands utilisation of VR has been limited to set ups at events and conventions, where a headset can be provided and an expert can guide attendees through an experience. In order for a VR campaign to be truly effective you need a much larger install base, you need people to become familiar with the technology and purchase their own headsets.. Companies such as Facebook/Oculus are putting their considerable resources behind solving this problem by researching lightweight headsets in more familiar packages. They recently showed their proof of concept holographic VR glasses, which point to a much less cumbersome future VR experience.
Facebook's latest prototype
We’re still in the very early days of VR as medium, but given the level of support shown by both content creators and headset manufacturers in investing in the technology we can be optimistic about its future adoption.
If you're interested in VR or AR or just want to talk through some of video options on offer, pop in a few details here and one of our experienced producers will get straight back to you.
Whether or not a ‘special relationship’ exists at an international level, it has always been a pleasure as a Brit to work, socialise and, for some of us, live among our American cousins. There is a shared respect which underpins our relationships. As Brits, we admire the energy, positivity and ambition of our US friends. For Americans, there is the history, creativity and worldliness of those from Britain.
Whatever the challenges we face, at a personal level there is still so much to celebrate and be thankful for. As we mark the birth of the US this weekend – a birth achieved through our separation - we hope that companies that straddle our nations like Casual Films can continue to show what we’re capable of when we all work together. And long may that continue. Most of all though, we’d like to wish all Americans a cracking - and safe - weekend!
A couple of weeks ago, we worked with the GoDaddy team to put together this BLM roundtable, featuring a panelist of guests to talk about Black entrepreneurship, culture, and history.
The 45-minute conversation features four amazing panelists:
- Andrea Lewis -- Canadian actress, filmmaker, and founder of Jungle Wild Productions
- Xavier and Lynisha Henderson -- co-founders of SoulfulofNoise
- Joy Brunson, actress and founder of Tee2Tea and The Joy of Acting
- Ashten Fizer, GoDaddy Employer Brand Manager, and DJ
This video is an education on how to be better allies, how to be anti-racist, and insight into the distinct challenges that face Black entrepreneurs. The discussion covers the importance of black buying power to the importance of group economics within the black community. The roundtable also covers when to use the terms ‘POC’ vs ‘Black’, and the significance of the ‘American Dream’ and if that idea still is indeed a reality for black communities in this country.
The full conversation was originally broadcast on IGTV:
In the coming weeks, we must keep our foot on the gas. While our Instagram feeds are no longer 100% focused on the Black Lives Matter movement like they were two weeks ago, protests are still happening. Injustice is still happening. People are still dying. Being an ally means that we think about these topics even when it’s not trendy and cool. Being anti-racist means that we have tough conversations in the workplace. We push our friends and colleagues on their viewpoints and encourage them to learn and grow. Being anti-racist means that we speak to our parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles and ask them why they hold their perspectives & help them expand their worldview to be on the right side of history.
If and when life ever goes back to ‘normal’ we have to keep calling our representatives and senators and demanding that they represent our values. It means that we all vote in November and not let a plurality dictate the lives and fates of the rest of us.
Not all of these things are ‘social media friendly’ and that’s fine. Doing the work means that it’ll be a slow, arduous process. No one can undo 400+ years of institutionalised racism in a few weeks. There’s so many blocks to dismantle and a lot of us are just starting.
So keep going. Keep reading, keeping learning, keep calling, keep protesting. Keep improving. This is not a moment, it’s a movement. Being anti-racist is a habit we must develop for the rest of our lives.
Over the past few weeks, protests and grass-roots movements have been spurring on long overdue progress in communities, police departments, and state/local governments. People are re-educating themselves, learning how to be anti-racist. Growing and changing. Becoming better allies and advocates.
But we need to keep going. Over the summer, a few remaining states will hold their primaries. And in November, those of us in the US will have our biggest chance to make a difference. We are so lucky to live in countries where we have the right, the power to vote. We must use that power — in our local elections, primaries, and in the big presidential election. Each and every single election matters. We can appoint officials that share our values and move us forward. It’s our duty as citizens. Our voices together will make a difference.
If you’re not registered to vote yet, or want to request a mail-in ballot for the upcoming election(s), check out @whenweallvote for all the resources you need to get signed up.
With the current lockdown we’ve put our heads together with some of the best technical minds in the business to bring you the next level in virtual events. At their most basic, these may be live video broadcasts - trying to move away from the 'death by Zoom' we have all been experiencing. Beyond this there is a whole world of ways to engage, inform and delight your audience in the same way that a really good live event does. Here are some of the ways that we can help you to make your event as good as anything you did pre-pandemic.
The changing nature of events
Pre-C19 why did businesses put so much time and effort into running events? After all, they cost a lot of money, the team is out of the office for a few days and often you find yourself cheek by jowl with the competition vying for your customer’s attention. The effectiveness of events can be tricky to track too.
Strip an event back to the bare bones and it’s essentially a structured presentation of information
- with a good dash of networking thrown in.
They provide marketers with an opportunity to create a brand narrative through the stories they share. Exhibitors get that face-to-face contact to generate leads and gather precious feedback from a target audience. Speakers reinforce brand recognition and new products and services can be tried and tested. Anyone who has hosted an event in the last few years will tell you that the attendees are getting more and more picky. They tend to be super-targeted on the stands and speakers they want to see, and even while watching the presentation, everyone is on social media anyway. The event experience was in need of a bit of a rethink - Coronavirus or not.
It's going to be some time until we get back to events like this!
This seems to be quite a challenge for virtual events to live up to, but with a creative approach and some interactive solutions, a brand can produce an experience that delivers more value.
So, how do you turn your live event into an engaging online event?
First up, it’s important to look at the editorial. It’s useful to think of it as producing a live TV show rather than an event. Think about how the event will run and how smaller segments of content spring out from the main show (these would have been break-out rooms or Q&A sessions). Develop a content strategy that is appropriate for a virtual event rather than thinking about your typical daily running order. To keep people’s attention, your broadcast needs a story arc that holds the viewer, and each VT or segment should have a distinct narrative that is relevant within the context of the main show. Our team has the experience to guide you through this crucial part of the process.
Once you have the editorial locked down, you can think about how to get your content out to your audience:
If you want your event to stand out from the thousands of Zoom presentations, get a professional crew in to look after the production. By raising the production values, your end product will be a slick, high definition live studio show which will bolster brand integrity rather than damage it by using low resolution webcams. It can also be repurposed into an on-demand event, increasing return. We would recommend using a streaming company to run the broadcast to make sure you don’t suffer a drop out midway through, especially if you are expecting a high number of attendees. Alternatively, for smaller productions use a professional crew to look after the camera, audio and lighting and then plug into Microsoft Teams Live Events, Vimeo Studio 6 or similar streaming software to go live.
Live Video Broadcast Example
By using a multi-camera set up you’ll be able to demonstrate products in detail, cut between presenters and locations, and the live element will retain that all-important sense of occasion that you would have had with an event.
Rehearsals are crucial when shooting live. Block out the camera moves and rehearse the running order and allow plenty of time between segments. Ensure you have talent on screen who can hold your audience and think on their feet.
Want to talk to a specialist about putting on a live broadcast event? Click here to book a call back from a producer.
While VR has been knocking around for some time, it has remained on the fringes of corporate comms and rarely piques the interest of our existing clients who sometimes dismiss it as too expensive or gimmicky. The headset for one is a significant barrier to virtual reality. After all, who wants to wear a sweaty, heavy headset for a two-hour event?
360 has limitations when you consider the bandwidth needed to run it effectively, but what these mediums do offer is an immersive environment and an opportunity to create a virtual foyer to display your content.
360º Interactive Video Example
Shooting 360 is more cost-effective than you might think. We can shoot several locations within a day and the crew size is minimal. Once we have a 360 environment of an office space or an iconic location on film, we add an interactive layer with hotspots that link through to the different segments of content.
The struggle with 360 has always been creating a clear narrative. Once you’re in the space it becomes an open world where the user picks their journey or the content they want to consume. The most effective use of interactive 360 we have seen is in virtual tours where the narrative is less of an issue. As well as tours, 360 is a fitting replacement for an event with multiple speakers as it gives the virtual delegate the choice to select different sessions or content streams. To direct the attention of your audience when using 360 you can use visual cues and ambisonics, but bear in mind this works best using a headset.
Want to talk to a specialist about putting on a 360º interactive video event? Click here to book a call back from a producer.
Interactive film provides a high level of engagement, comprehensive video analytics, and the ability to choose a narrative. This makes it a good candidate for a walkthrough of an exhibition space using interactive hotspots that lead to supporting pieces of content, product demos, Q&A sessions, or even filmed keynote presentations.
Everyone has sat through a webinar while simultaneously working on a document, and let’s be frank, it’s a waste of time. A creative execution combined with an interactive platform keeps your audience engaged throughout and can provide a huge amount of information on how your virtual delegates are interacting with the content. It provides clear data and we would argue it is more accurate than counting the number of tickets sold at a conference, especially considering the number of delegates you see on Facebook while a speaker delivers the speech of their life.
Interactive Video Example
If you provide a sense of occasion and limit the accessibility to your virtual event you can create a world where the audience feels they are attending an exclusive ‘live’ experience. If you want to take this further you can even have a live virtual Q&A session or have your team online and ready to chat with the delegates.
The issue with the current situation doesn’t affect construction or hiring an event space, so to make the experience feel familiar, hire a space, build the exhibition stands you would have used at the cancelled event, and then film a walk-through covering a services pitch from your team or any products in detail. Using shoppable interactive, the viewer could even purchase in the moment or download a PDF for more information.
Want to talk to a specialist about putting on an interactive video event? Click here to book a call back from a producer.
A gaming platform or virtual event is as close as you can get to the full freedom of movement you would have at a real-world event and with major festivals (Glastonbury, The Happy Place, San Francisco Design Week) going virtual, they are becoming ever more mainstream.
The flexibility of these platforms is a huge draw - as well as having Q&As, polls, online networking, surveys, and even a games room. Once you have the event space set up, it can be reused for different events delivering a fantastic return. Like interactive, a virtual event will provide detailed analytics so you can review the data and update the experience to improve engagement.
The good news is that the cost to develop these immersive platforms has dropped significantly but the slight drawback is that you need a desktop app to run it. If you decide to use a desktop app, make sure it is easy for your delegates to download and install. While downloadable software enables greater scope for creative flexibility, it stands true that the fewer barriers you have in place, the higher the engagement.
Want to talk to a specialist about putting on a Virtual Reality event? Click here to book a call back from a producer.
Build it and they will come: Using Programmatic Targeting
Given the volume of webinars and virtual conferences online, your event must stand out from the crowd. Ads need to be attention-grabbing and seen by the right people at the right time. To do this we would recommend using programmatic advertising. This works by taking audience insight and using that data to target the appropriate demographic with creative, memorable content (don’t worry, we can help with that).
The attendance data for a traditional event or trade show is readily available, so by using programmatic to target potential delegates as well as a wider audience, you could yield higher engagement than a real-world event. Our digital partners use programmatic targeting and retargeting across all digital media to drive traffic to your site.
A good example of how effective programmatic can be, is a campaign we ran for Breast Cancer Now, which set out to achieve 600,000 video views but by using programmatic we surpassed that target by over 1000%.
This is an opportunity to put your brand at the forefront of event disruption and digital innovation. After all, these event alternatives will provide you more data, more leads, more brand recognition. Online you can already run speaker sessions, networking, product launches and Q&As, but by using the emotive power of film or the limitless possibilities with animation you can really engage your audience. Pull this all together in a 360 or virtual environment and you create a memorable experience that brings an online event to life.
We'd love to discuss your event with you. There are many ways to use video to make your next event the best ever. Give us some details here and we will give you a call back shortly.
For a time many of us believed social media would usher in an ‘Age of Transparency’. Now that citizens could report anything that happened in any part of the world, business and government would be held to account. Some people even suggested the death of the PR industry because – as the wisdom went – you can’t spin the truth. That seems to be an age ago now. Few who welcomed this new age foresaw just how subjective a concept that 'Truth' would be.
What has been undeniable over recent weeks is just how powerful an invention the cell phone camera has become. For the whole of time it has been easy for the majority of the population to dismiss, or overlook the reported mistreatment of minorities. Where the Age of Transparency has delivered in spades is in the reportage of the violent police response to protests in response to police violence. The shocking images, shared instantly are undeniable and cannot be ignored.
Whatever you settle on as the protest symbol of the 20th century, the phone camera has a rightful claim to be the symbol for the 21st. Effective video has always had the power to magnify the experience of the individual to reflect the story of the many. Video’s potency has never been greater. As deep fakes reduce the trustworthiness of the medium in the near future we will look back on this summer of protest as the high water mark for the power of the tool that we as filmmakers treasure so deeply.
In these Small Business Stories, we revisit some of GoDaddy’s everyday entrepreneurs to see how they’ve pivoted their businesses to meet the current global crisis. With millions around the world still under stay at home orders, businesses are struggling. But, these savvy entrepreneurs saw this as an opportunity to do something different. Some digitized their operations, offering online shopping, delivery, and curbside pick up for the first time. Others began hosting online events to keep their community engaged and provide a bit of a distraction from daily stress.
Others forged headfirst into the fight against COVID-19, shifting their manufacturing businesses to make PPE for our frontline workers. These stories showcase the agility of our small business community, demonstrating how they can adapt and overcome even the most difficult situations. Check out their stories below!
In the wake of the pandemic, Ahana Yoga founder Dawn Feinberg didn’t hesitate to find a way to remain profitable and avoid the drain — she adapted her brick-and-mortar studio located in the heart of Miami’s Design District to become a premier online yoga studio. Staying true to the Ahana mission of connecting mind, body and spirit within their sweaty yoga practice, they infused a new type of flow by streaming online yoga classes to hundreds of remote yogis around the globe. And the response has been overwhelming. Being the extrovert she is (and used to interacting with over 100 students daily), Dawn has found the silver lining in the struggles of COVID-19 through the priceless gift of quality time with her family. Like she ends her practice, she offers words of hope to entrepreneurs to stay strong and believe in themselves during this rollercoaster of a journey.
Antonelli’s Cheese Shop
John and Kendall Antonelli are more than just owners of the only cut-to-order cheese shop in Austin, Texas — they’re fine cheese experts who have been serving their beloved community for over 10 years. After COVID-19 cancelled the city’s annual SXSW festival, they put their heads together to make a plan for the extra cheesy goodness that had already been prepped. By offering online and over-the-phone orders for pickup, along with virtual pairing events for over 150 cheese-loving customers, the Antonellis have been able to keep their business afloat in these pandemic floods. This power couple encourages entrepreneurs to seek self-grace, stay positive and remember each day is a new day as they make tough business decisions.
The Snap Bar // Keep Your City Smiling
Once cancellations started pouring in due to COVID-19, Sam Eitzen shifted gears quickly and spent all night brainstorming how to pivot SnapBar, a photo booth rental business. Seeing how local business owners were being impacted by the pandemic, the SnapBar team launched Keep Your City Smiling, a care package delivery service supporting small businesses and giving customers a reason to smile during these uncertain times. The care packages are filled with hand-picked goods from local shops — everything from yummy treats to skin care products and trinkets to fit your lifestyle. The success of the care packages has been overwhelming and Sam stands strong to ensure his team stays included in every part of the pivotal success they have created together throughout this pandemic.
Since 2016, Carina Chaz has been creating multi-purpose fragrant concoctions through her sustainable brand, DedCool — a 100% unisex, nontoxic and vegan fragrance company in Los Angeles. But March 13th is a day she’ll never forget. On top of finding herself face-to-face with the retail apocalypse (also known as COVID-19), this freaky Friday was also the last day in the office with her team and she had just launched a new detergent product. Despite production coming to a stop and customers holding on to their pockets during the pandemic, Carina quickly shifted her battle plan to utilize her strong eCommerce presence as a tool to sell sanitary essentials that her quarantined customers needed now. With much excitement, her solutions for new products have been a hit. By staying true to her mission for sustainability and green beauty, DedCool has become more than a personal fragrance brand — they strive for the greater good by generously donating proceeds to support impactful organizations like the CDC and Meals on Wheels.
Fueled by healthcare worker’s urgent need for protective gear, Angela Johnson and Sherri Barry gear up to make a bold move: transforming their nonprofit Fashion and Business Resource Innovation Center (FABRIC) into a total PPE gown production center. The FABRIC team put their normal routine on hold to wholeheartedly dedicate their time and resources to research, development and production of CDC and FDA certified PPE gowns. Despite the low supply and high demand for the materials needed, Angela and Sherri overcome every challenge to do their part during this time of crisis. Thanks to the financial support of their community, they are able to expand their “war room” production and meet the demand of creating thousands of reusable medical gowns (25,000 per week!) to healthcare facilities across the nation. This humble and compassionate duo is both directly and indirectly impacting millions as they continue to do business with their heart and seek to accomplish the 1 Million Gown Challenge.
As Patti Curtis saw the COVID-19 storm rolling in, she knew she needed to start preparing her brick-and-mortar art gallery for a big adjustment — without knowing how big it would eventually become. Thankfully, she acted quickly enough to get photos of every art piece and adapt Fogue Studios & Gallery into an online store just before shelter-in-place orders took place. From closing the studio doors to receiving a grant to help support her struggling artists, Patti carries the torch to ensure her business and the artists stay safe during the pandemic. In order to keep the community engaged, Patti creates videos on social media to chat with art enthusiasts, showcase current exhibits and share fun things artists are doing while social distancing. Her advice for other entrepreneurs during these uncertain times is to jump on the train and start building a strong online presence in order to keep the dream alive.
Pre COVID-19, the GoodWood team made beautiful, handcrafted furnishings for commercial businesses. But the pandemic changed everything in a flash, causing GoodWood to completely pivot their everyday operations to build something else: face shields. From taking big financial risks to keeping everything locally-sourced and staying true to their sustainability mantra, GoodWood has successfully made over 30,000 FDA approved face shields for healthcare professionals — with a hefty goal of reaching 50,000 face shields per week (!) once they expand to a bigger manufacturing spot. Until this environmentally-conscious business can return to making nifty things with wood, they remain good stewards of their materials while supplying this high-demand product to those on the healthcare frontlines.
The world of production is opening back up. As you can see in these films there are a wide range of ways that you can still make really effective videos safely. If you have a project that you would like to discuss, drop us some details here and one of our experienced producers give you a call straight back.
One of the hardest things to talk about as a white person is racism and the ways in which we have benefitted from society's systemic bias against people of color. The past days have been challenging - forcing us all to confront truths that we have previously shied away from. It has been heartening to see the groundswell of support for reform sweeping our world.
We are learning more by the day. One key point is the idea that the system is so endemically biased that - as people who have been exceptionally privileged in life – if we are not taking specific action to counteract that bias, then we are guilty of racism through our inaction. This is an extremely challenging idea. We like to think of ourselves as decent, conscientious, equitable people, of course. In fact, perversely, the more decent you think you are the more challenging this principle becomes.
We have always been proud of the work we have done at Casual, particularly with our Academy. But we need to acknowledge that this is not enough; that there is far, far more that we can and must do. We have a number of ideas - from educating ourselves and targeted recruitment, to giving our custom to minority owned businesses - and we are working on the specifics. We will share our full plan next week. For now though, we are working to be better and are keen to hear your thoughts - if you want to get in touch.
Two months into lockdown, we’re all pretty good at this work from home thing. As states and countries begin to ease restrictions, some of us are going back to the office. Others will remain in a remote setup for a while longer.While we’re in these mixed working situations, it’s important to keep teams connected and communicating. The last thing you want is for people to feel lonely, or siloed due to the lack of interpersonal connection. Or, for productivity to suffer in the monotony of days that all look the same. So here are four easy, low-cost tips that are sure to keep the work fam going strong!
Keep it Creative
One day, we were all chatting about how every day feels the same and how hard it is to differentiate time passing. Cue: an opportunity for one filmmaking trick that we’ve always wanted to try, inspired by Donald Glover’s TV show, Atlanta. What better way to scratch that itch than to do something fun for ourselves? It was really fun to be our own end client for a change. And, to work as a team to create this piece together. Check out the video below!
Have a #teaminning
A couple of weeks ago, we all received an email asking for our home addresses. Cryptic! Most of us assumed it was for mundane HR info reasons, but instead it was for a secret plan of fun.
Our management team ordered pizza delivery for everyone across all 3 offices, perfectly timed for a Friday afternoon happy hour. We all ate pizza together on Google Meet & went off into the weekend in great spirits. Easy, low cost, in line with current restrictions, and supporting local businesses. Win-win-win!
Exec Producer, Lexi's pizza + an NYC view.
Co-founder Nick, DROPPING HIS PIZZA ON HIS KEYBOARD cause he wanted to show us how good it looked. 12/10 would do it again for the #memories [it was a really great pizza - Ed.]
Daily Team Check-ins
It’s pretty standard to have a stand-up or two or three with your team but we take it one step further and do two check-ins a day. A morning coffee stand-up, and an EOD goodbye.
We kick off the day at 9 a.m. all saying hello to each other with a cup of coffee. Sometimes we are discussing work priorities but other times we’re just enjoying each other’s company. These meetings can last 2 minutes or 30 minutes, depending on how the team feels every day.
And at 5 p.m. we all meet to sign off the day together, somewhat replicating the ‘bye, have a good evening!’ chats you’d have in the office in pre-COVID-19 times.
It’s a great way of keeping everyone connected, but also an easy opportunity to discuss stuff that you may not have otherwise gotten a chance to. Almost as good as an impromptu chat in the office kitchen.
Try Some Zoom Games
Every Wednesday at 5 p.m. our team attends a meeting called “Hump Day Zoomies.” Sounds strange, sure, but it’s jam-packed work-family fun: 30 minutes dedicated to some sort of game.
Zoom games can be anything! Here are a few of the ones we’ve done:
- Guess the Zoom Background: everyone dials into Zoom with their background changed to an image of some unidentified location. Points to whoever guesses it! Great way to see how much you know about each other & see who’s traveled the world a bunch.
- Where’s Waldo: we each photoshopped a filmmaking object into a photo of our choice. Whoever spotted the object got a point!
- Pictionary, corporate filmmaking style: everyone drew an interview background of one of the videos we’ve worked on in the last year. 1 point if you guess the video it’s from! (We watch and rewatch every one of our films hundreds of times to the point where we quote lines from them like they’re movie references.)
At the end of the month, we tally it all up and see who won the most points, and the winner will get some kind of mystery prize!