Ashland, Virginia, December 17, 2020

Making 2020 a Little Warmer

Ashland, Virginia, December 17, 2020 – Let’s face it, 2020 has been a lot. Most of us will look back at this year as a time filled with challenges, a yearning for new experiences, and of course, the need for human connection. Now that the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder, and the year is wrapping up, it is essential that we have that human connection to light the path into next year. Unfortunately, many of the challenges from 2020 are coming with us into the New Year, and concerns about gathering safely while maintaining the holiday spirit seem to be the latest hurdle.

One silver lining to these challenges is that everybody has been pushed to rethink living, learning, and working in this new landscape, and it’s given us incredible insights in how to do so creatively. From drive-thru graduations, to virtual weddings, to outdoor thanksgivings, we’ve all experienced new ways to keep old traditions alive. Some new traditions could even be created out of this year!

Taste and smell is entwined with memory and comfort, and being able to enjoy some of your favorite holiday treats is a great way to feel connected with others, even across distance. Lara Williams (Creative Account Manager) suggests “cooking a family member’s recipe and virtually tasting and discussing it”. You could also try hosting a live cooking session with friends, organizing a drop-off cookie swap with neighbors, or even throwing a virtual holiday happy hour with your coworkers in lieu of a Christmas party!

Consider adding a little oomph to the virtual events you attend. “Having your background be a different theme for each meeting keeps things lively”, said Kelsey Spriggs (Creative Designer). Decorating your space or adding a seasonal background can add some holiday cheer and make your video calls more festive and memorable. “I virtually attended my friend’s wedding.”, said David Reisinger (Creative Marketing Specialist). “I poured a glass of champagne and wore a suit, and it made everything a bit more special.” Simply decorating, dressing up, or changing your standard video call routine can make things feel more momentous.

Reinvent the Virtual Meeting

The numbers are in: Creativians have changed the way they communicate in 2020. 91% of Creativians have increased their use of virtual meetings, and 88% have opted to attend virtual meetings with team members in the same building to practice social distancing. While these changes help to keep everyone safe, there are considerable drawbacks as well.

Many industries are tactile in nature, and without the sense of physically being in a space, touching materials, and using your products, a virtual replacement might feel a little flimsy. But there are ways to increase tangibility in your virtual work life!

Considering how you can incorporate physical experiences into a video call might set your team up for greater success. When confronted with discussing physical items in a virtual space, the Creative design team had a solution. Amelia MacKnight (Creative Account Manager and Designer) suggested “sending fabric samples and plans to everyone in a finish meeting so we can sit on Zoom and all look at the same items together.” Seeing a 2D image of fabric samples on a screen can be underwhelming and lead to indecision. Being able to touch and feel the samples helped our clients make a decision they felt good about.

Sometimes there is simply no better way to show your appreciation to others than through a thoughtful note. Ryan Mayton (Creative Strategist) recommends “sending a physical, handwritten note. It’s always a great way to connect with someone who you cannot be present with in person.” Considering how you can incorporate physical experiences into a virtual space might set your team up for success.

What We Can Take Into Next Year

We’ve all had to test the boundaries of how we communicate, gather, and adapt to the changes this year has given us. But in these difficult months we have all broadened our communication tools, built our resilience in tumultuous times, and reaffirmed what matters most to us. This is the mindset we need to innovate and thrive in 2021.  Reflecting during this last chapter of 2020 is an opportunity to take stock of our strengths and take them with us into the coming year.