Reflections on 2020: what became possible
It goes without saying that 2020 has been a strange year. When all our global offices closed, we certainly didn’t anticipate being a fully remote workforce up until the end of the year.
And while we’ve learned a lot and had to adapt in many ways, we’ve come out the other side with some really positive stories and experiences to share. We’ve been reminded that our company culture is what keeps us going and makes us special. Our teams have grown, new business has been won and promotions have been awarded. And despite not being together, we’ve found ways to remain just as connected as a global team as before. It’s probably the thing we’re most proud of this year.
And with change comes opportunity! We asked some Aspectees what has been possible for them in 2020 that they didn’t think would be. Here’s what they said:
We’re all in this together
“I’ve heard the saying ‘we’re all in the same storm, not in the same boat’ a lot since the beginning of the pandemic, and it’s so true. I’ve found a certain level of camaraderie during this odd year. When chatting to team members and clients I’ve noticed more candid conversations happening, potentially due to this ‘all in it together feeling’, or the fact most of us are in our own homes so things feel a lot more personal. At Aspectus, we were never worried that we’d lose touch with each other during the shift to remote working, however, I wouldn’t have anticipated it would bring us this much closer to both colleagues and clients.”
– Sofie Skouras, Deputy Head of Tech
Creating a culture initiative
“Admittedly, when we went into lockdown, I imagined that we’d all be too heads down in client work to be thinking about company-wide culture initiatives. But I soon realised that having that company culture is what energises our people to do great work, even when we’re remote. That’s why some of my colleagues and I rolled out a monthly Q+A series where everyone in the firm has the chance to ask senior members of staff questions.
“Our kick-off Q+A took place last month where we spoke to Ali, our Global CEO; Alexa, our Managing Director of North America; and Laura, Head of the Energy practice, about building a personal brand. In December, we’re discussing delivering a standout client service with three more panellists. Initiatives like this have created an environment where we can all learn from each other, which is great to be a part of. It’s exciting to have been able to organise and run with the idea. At Aspectus, no matter what level you are at, if someone wants something, they have full permission to take it, run with it and deliver it.”
– Ellie Smith, Senior Account Manager
Starting my first job during a pandemic
“I started at Aspectus in September, it was my first job out of university, and I was naturally quite nervous – especially because the pandemic meant remote working. But not only have I thoroughly enjoyed the past few months; I’ve felt myself grow as a PR professional. I feel more confident and I’ve been able to use my initiative rather than always just ask people for answers, which I think I would have relied a lot more on if we were in the office. That said, while I’ve been given responsibility and ownership, I know that everyone is just at the end of a Teams call if I ever need help or advice. I’ve been supported to get stuck in right from the get-go and have been able to deliver work which my clients have been thrilled with. The opportunities I’ve been given in a virtual working world is immense – not all things in 2020 are bad!”
– Olivia Greaves, Account Executive
The creation of the Capital Markets team and getting promoted
“This year Aspectus launched its Capital Markets division, which is fantastic for the company, but particularly for the five of us on the team. We’re small and mighty and have even expanded in 2020 thanks to client wins.
“I was promoted to Account Manager in October, and it’s been an exciting challenge taking on new responsibilities in difficult circumstances. As an individual I feel supported and connected with everyone, which has ultimately allowed me to step into the role. We also had a new Account Executive, Amelia, join our team in October and I’m now her line manager. She’s a fantastic addition to the team and despite being remote, we’ve formed a great working relationship. Watching the Capital Markets team grow in its debut year has been a pleasure and we can’t wait for what’s next!
“Separately, another real positive was when Aspectus gave everyone specific time off for a haircut after lockdown. As you can see, it was definitely needed…”
– Ted Harvey, Account Manager, Capital Markets