Business continuity: working through COVID-19

Author - Alex Price

Posted By Alex Price Founder

Date posted 12th Mar 2020

Category News


First published: 12th March 2020
Last updated: 3rd November 2020

This post summarises a document sent to 93digital clients by our Founder Alex, explaining how 93digital will be continuing to work around the Coronavirus situation, and to provide the reassurance needed that our continuity planning means there will be limited impact to our business and client projects.

For all intensive purposes, it’s business as usual for us at 93digital and we’ve been very fortunate to see one of our busiest periods ever over the last few months.

Working from home

As of Monday 16th March, we moved our team to a work from home model ahead of Government guidance or enforced lockdown, as we felt it was the most appropriate and responsible thing to do. This will continue indefinitely but temporarily, and will be reviewed regularly based on how things progress.

Over the last few months we have seen no negative impact to our processes, efficiency or quality of work. Longer term, we plan to keep a highly flexible working model.

Fortunately, our entire agency has run in the cloud since we started, and all of our team already use all of the tools and platforms needed for us to continue operating as normal.

All of our day to day systems are cloud based and can be accessed securely remotely. If you’re interested in what we use, some of our tools for day to day operations can be found below:

Google Drive: documents and files
Google G Suite: email
Slack: internal communications
Google Hangouts / Zoom: client communications
Teamwork: project management
Teamwork Desk: support ticketing
Forecast: team resourcing/scheduling
Harvest: timesheets/resource tracking
InVision: design prototyping and sharing
1Password: secure password sharing
DocHub: documents and contracts
GatherContent: content planning

All team members are provided a company laptop when they join us, and so the team can continue to work as normal remotely with secure company equipment, configured inline with our Cyber Essentials certification. They have also been provided with extra guidance around how to get the most from working from home.

Our internal company knowledge base has also been regularly updated with guidance, processes and structure for working remotely.

Meetings with clients

We’re currently conducting all workshops and meetings through video calls using Google Hangouts, Zoom or your preferred system. No in person meetings will be taking place at this time. This will be reviewed as Government advice is clarified.

Given the nature of our work, our team roles, and the software/tools we use, we plan to work as normal and over the previous months have not seen any downsides or impact to our work. However, we feel remote video calls are the most appropriate and responsible format for working with clients currently, and we will of course update this regularly inline with Government guidelines. We have not seen moving meetings to calls as being of impact to projects or delivery.

Kicking off new projects

Over the last few years our team have successfully delivered numerous projects for clients based all over the world across a range of timezones, and with a number of clients we have never met in person. In recent months we’ve worked with client stakeholders across Sydney, Dublin, Tokyo, Nürnberg, New York, Los Angeles, Barcelona and Paris.

We’re therefore well versed in collaborating with clients remotely across all stages of complex digital projects. Our team has been further briefed recently on making this as seamless an experience as possible for our clients.

We’re able to kickoff new projects entirely as normal using completely remote/distributed structures and formats.

Work related travel

93digital team members will not be undertaking any work related foreign travel, and no future event or conference commitments are being made until further notice.

Project timelines

We use timesheets and tracking software to monitor work on projects, and to ensure we’re delivering against the timelines and budgets defined in a project.

Our project managers monitor these tools closely, to make sure that we’re still delivering work as efficiently as usual and to make sure our work is delivered on time.

We have completed multiple successful project launches since March, and have not experienced any delays to projects as a result of Covid.

Potential impact to client projects

Based on everything above, it should hopefully be clear that we are forecasting for limited impact to client projects and for our business to continue to operate as normal.

The only area that could impact client work is if either members of our team or client stakeholders become sick with Covid and require time off work. This could impact project timelines. If this occurs we will of course let clients know of any potential impact.

We would also ask that clients communicate the same to us in terms of any continuity issues that could impact projects from their end.

The state of the market

Throughout the lock down period we have been very fortunate to see one of our busiest periods ever.

Whilst working extensively with B2B technology companies, we also have clients in a diverse range of sectors such as charities & publishers, and the majority of our clients have fortunately not been acutely impacted by the short term impact of Coronavirus.

Generally, digital has become much more important for our clients. Our most experienced clients have recognised that their website has to work harder for them than it ever has done before.

As a trend, we’ve seen field marketing budget that would have been used for events and conferences, as well as any budget for out of home advertising, shifting heavily towards digital channels. SEO in particular has been a major investment channel for our clients over the last few months.

Our financial health

We’re lucky to be in a strong position financially as a business, and have spent the last few years building a business very capable of weathering a storm.

We have a strong balance sheet, strong cash position and zero debt, as well as experienced advisors both sitting on our Board and working in the business (such as our Financial Director) that have added exceptional value to us over the last few years, and I know will continue to do so. We ended 2019 and started 2020 working on some of our most exciting projects yet, so have a strong amount of active and confirmed revenue over the coming months. Following this, we have had one of our busiest periods in our history as our clients look to increase their investment in the digital experiences they offer their customers.

As a result we have also grown over the period, onboarding 5 new team members since lockdown began.

We have not had to take any negative measures to react to Covid. None of our team have been furloughed at any point, we have not asked our team to take pay cuts and we have not had to consider any redundancies.

Of course the longer term view could be more complicated for every business, regardless of their sector. Shocks to the system always lower confidence, which takes time to rebuild.

Only time will tell whether we can continue to outperform the general market conditions and continue to grow organically as we always have done since we were founded.

In the meantime, I can promise:

  • We’ll provide absolute transparency around our finances to clients
  • Any small businesses or freelancers that support our business will be paid on immediate terms
  • Our team will receive full sick pay, regardless of how much government support is provided

As an agency founder, my thoughts are with those agencies who were already going through difficult times before Coronavirus arrived, or specialise in working only with certain sectors such as hospitality or travel. There will be some very tough times ahead, and I’ll be doing my best to help any agency that I can.

If you have any questions about our operations at this time, please just let me know.

Alex Price
Founder & MD

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