When Covid-19 hit our shores and we were told of a lockdown, no one anticipated how long it would last, nor the wrath of the pandemic.
Many of us excitedly packed up and looked forward to working from home for just a few weeks. We said our goodbyes to our colleagues with the eagerness of seeing each other soon, but this was not to be. A year and a half later and we are still under some form of lockdown, and still working from home. It has been a continuous roller-coaster, affecting each and every one of us. One can only hope for a better future, especially with the roll out of the vaccination plan under way.
The pandemic saw the rise of some marketing channels and the fall of others, which has resulted in job losses or salary cuts for many. We saw digital get elevated while OOH and print had budget cuts, with some media owners even closing their doors.
Prior to the pandemic some print publications were discontinued with industry related articles citing the end of era for the print industry. Covid-19 has exacerbated the situation, with many more titles closing down or moving to being available electronically only. With the rise of digital and being in hard lockdown this made more sense; one didn’t have to leave home to find a good read. Instead, consumers could sign up, pay their subscription fee and read on any internet accessible device.
As Covid-19 continues to be a part of our new norm, we are possibly going to see even more retrenchments in the future, and not just in the print industry. As new technologies start to automate and simplify our lives, we will see many more jobs/roles becoming redundant. This has made it more important that teams and roles are not ‘siloed’ like they have been previously. There is great benefit in developing staff who can wear multiple hats.
Some agencies had to close their OOH divisions due to budget cuts, but this does not mean that these agencies stopped offering OOH to their clients. It simply meant that the OOH function moved into the strategy and planning teams, alongside TV, radio, and everything else. A bit of a struggle in the beginning but eventually this became a norm and swiftly the job got done.
Multi-skilled employees give companies more options when restructuring as they’re experienced enough to cover many different areas. It also aids when one department needs resources. Instead of outsourcing, internal resources can step up and pick up the slack, contributing to winning results, without incurring any additional costs.
It is important that as employees we take advantage of opportunities given to us to study and lean on internal resources to gain the necessary exposure and experience where possible. It is also advisable for companies to support these individuals by giving them the necessary practical experience enabling them to gain the necessary confidence and experience to do the job on their own.
The world as we knew it has changed and even with the success of the vaccine, we will not go back to how it was. We need to step out of our comfort zones more often and constantly challenge ourselves. To see ourselves beyond our current roles, question how we can improve ourselves, and our skills on the work front.
Integration of roles can lead to a healthier, more collaborative business, and eliminate a culture of employees saying: “that’s not my job”. It is even more beneficial now, especially with people being sick, short staffed, or on leave. Being in an integrated environment may come across negatively in the beginning because it seems like a cost cutting exercise, but in the long run, this is beneficial for both company and employee.
Wearing multiple hats can offer teams a fresh perspective on various projects, as many hands can make light work, and two heads are better than one, and three heads are better than two. So, if people have the ambition and ability to take on multiple roles, it can help an organisation to be more balanced, more creative, more effective, and overall more rounded.
The reality is that clients are looking for better integrated solutions to their business problems and people able to work across multiple disciplines can deliver strategies and plans that are properly integrated, rather than just cobbling completely different presentation together on the same template.
This will require a shift in mindset from employees and while it might be hard for some people to adapt to, those that do it well will be well positioned to become the superstars of the future!
Rebecca Malibe is a media buyer at Meta Media JHB, working on the Nestle account.
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