In our latest blog series on ‘2021 and the future of work’ we spoke with several forward-thinking businesses and founders to gain insight into how their team has dealt with all of the abrupt changes that 2020 sent their way, along with foreseeable trends for the upcoming year.
Farhad has over 20 years of industry-related experience and his vision, technical know-how and drive have been instrumental in turning AccuraCast into the highly successful agency that it is today.
Over to him..
Please tell us a bit about yourself and the business you run.
I am the founder and MD of AccuraCast, a leading digital marketing agency. We specialise in helping businesses to grow internationally through SEO, social media marketing and intelligent online advertising in the travel, finance, sports and B2B sectors. Since the start of the pandemic in March, the whole team has been working remotely. I founded AccuraCast in 2004 and it is now the longest running independent search agency in the UK.
What do you foresee the trends of 2021 being in terms of remote culture and engagement?
In 2021, companies will still embrace flexible working. With people working from home through the pandemic, it has made companies realise that remote teams can work. At AccuraCast, we have always had an open policy about flexible working and working from home.
In terms of engagement, it is important that leaders regularly check in with their teams as remote working can be lonely. We have an informal rule that everyone should always turn on their webcam during internal team calls as well as external and client-facing calls. I think the trends for online cocktail masterclasses, cook along team building type events, team quizzes and virtual award ceremonies will continue into 2021.
There have been recent studies that allowing remote and flexible working can increase employee productivity, positivity and retention and we have definitely found that with our team.
How have you/your business adapted and will you continue this into 2021 and beyond?
We were well set up for virtual working after going through an office move over Christmas last year, so when the pandemic started and everyone was forced to work from home, it wasn’t a big leap for us. With remote working now becoming so prevalent, one thing we have embraced this year is widening the talent pool for roles we are recruiting for – we are now open to recruiting internationally. All the jobs listed on our site Digital Marketing, SEO and PPC Jobs in London, UK - AccuraCast no longer require candidates to be located in London.
One area we are looking to build on in 2021 is virtual networking. A lot of new business is won on face-to-face pitches and I don’t see this starting back up again any time soon. Despite the challenges, AccuraCast still had a successful 2020.
The other challenge we have faced and had to adapt to, is virtual brainstorming sessions – we are a very creative team and pre-Covid would hold sessions where we would bounce ideas off each other. These now have to be done virtually and I am proud of how my team has adapted and we are still coming up with amazing campaigns for our clients.
What top 3 businesses do you think have pivoted effectively during this time?
UFC - While other sports were trying to figure out how to keep running during the pandemic, UFC secured an island in Abu Dhabi on which they held fights, meaning they could keep bringing fans action and memorable moments in a COVID-safe way.
Amazon - they get a lot of criticism for their business practices, but you cannot argue with the way Amazon managed to scale mind-blowingly to meet demand, as well as offer new services such as the Prime Now food delivery – where customers can order food shopping to be delivered on the same day.
Small Businesses - that managed to go online in a matter of days, in spite of being the hardest hit and with the least resources at their disposal.