On March 13th 2020, Bloom shifted to a remote-first agency in order to keep its employee and clients safe during the COVID-19. Although working from home was already part of our company’s culture, we had never work from home full-time for three months. Here’s what a few Bloomers had to say about their WFH experience during COVID-19 crisis.
Please Share a Positive Experience That Happened During The Last Three Months as Bloom Shifted to a Remote-First Agency.
ZOE KERRICK, ACCOUNT MANAGER: Obviously, the pandemic has affected us all in many ways, personal and professional. No one really saw it coming, so it’s been quite difficult. However, there were some really big wins for some of my clients that were deemed essential services and just being a part of their growth during this time and seeing them achieve such amazing results was really fantastic and I’m very proud to have been a part of that with them. And, it also helps to reinforce the relationship together after going through a period that was kind of unpredictable. It really helped with the relationship with my clients and I think that that’s definitely a positive thing that’s come out of this.
ROB ELBAZ, DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGIST: So, for me, something positive definitely was getting to spend more time with my daughter. She had her second birthday while we were in COVID isolation and it’s been three months where I get to see her a lot every day, spend time with her, really get to know her in a way that I haven’t had a chance to since I became a parent. So, that more than anything has been a positive experience from, you know, being stuck at home.
JAMIE BENCHIMOL, CLIENT EXPERIENCE DIRECTOR: I would definitely say it’s been really nice to see how a lot of the businesses that we work with have kind of pivoted into providing protective equipment for a lot of the nurses and people in medical which was really nice. We saw a lot of clients that actually had almost like a month of Black Friday which was great. So performance really spiked for certain industries and certain products. It was really nice to be able to actually do more video calls as opposed to just regular calls because we got to make a quicker connection with clients. I found it established a better relationship and it was just nice to see everybody comes together.
PASCAL CÔTÉ, SEO DIRECTOR: With initiatives like the PACME program, the training program, it basically gave a lot of opportunities for our team to work on something different than just a deliverable. Training clients, even if it’s on video conference, is pretty amazing for the team to be trained at. So definitely a great opportunity for both the team and the agency.
ALEXANDRA BUONANNO, SEO SPECIALIST: During the last three months as Bloom shifted to a remote-first agency, one of the most positive things that have happened is in the SEO department clients that we’ve been working very hard with pre-COVID had an exceptional performance during COVID. Some of them had some of their best performance since they launched their site which some launched a few years ago, some even a decade ago. It was so exciting to see all that hard work pay off and see our clients get more leads and more sales.
AUDREY CHAMBERLAND, ACCOUNT MANAGER: It was great to, instead of jumping on a phone call, just jumping straight onto Google Hangouts and putting a face to the name which was awesome and just generally getting to know the clients a little bit more because we’re all in this together, the entire world is living it, so there really was a lot to relate to and just generally working together to you know to make sure that their company prospers despite the times.
What Do You Miss The Most From The Office?
PASCAL CÔTÉ, SEO DIRECTOR: In terms of what I miss the most from the office I think it’s… my office and my desk. At home, I don’t have a dedicated workspace so I made a makeshift stand-up desk inmy living room and I’m someone that’s used to talking to a lot of people every single day, moving around the office, so now just roaming around my living room doesn’t cut it. So yeah, the people is what I miss most.
ALEXANDRA BUONANNO, SEO SPECIALIST: So, one thing that I missed from the office, or a few things, is that, first of all, I’m very happy that the Bloom spirit and the Bloom culture is still very alive while we’re working from home but I definitely miss the office environment, spending time with colleagues and enjoying our beautiful open office space that is right off the Lachine canal with the terrasse. So, definitely enjoying lunch hours and breaks outside, going for a walk in the beautiful neighborhood, those are all things that I look forward to getting to hopefully sooner than later.
ZOE KERRICK, ACCOUNT MANAGER: I miss my friends, I miss my colleagues, I missed the atmosphere, I miss having lunch and and just hanging out. The little things that we used to take for granted, but I really also just missed the culture. At Bloom, we’re really lucky we have fantastic culture and so that means always a lot of fun activities and obviously that portion is something that you can’t replicate at home or virtually. You can try but it’s just not quite the same. I definitely miss that a lot.
ROB ELBAZ, DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGIST: What I miss most from the office are my teammates and my co-workers at Bloom. It’s been a little bit easier because we’re always connecting whether it’s a quick Slack chat, a video call, a phone call, a hangout or a Teams meeting but it’s not quite the same as actually getting to see everyone and spend time with everyone. You kind of missed that a little chitchat in the kitchen by the coffee machine that you don’t quite get when you’re stuck working from home.
JAMIE BENCHIMOL, CLIENT EXPERIENCE DIRECTOR: What do I miss the most from the office? I would have to say I’m a people’s person so I definitely miss a lot of just the interactions with different colleagues you know having lunch together or just kind of like walking past a couple of desks and saying hi to people. I missed the canal because we have a great spot on the Lachine canal. I definitely miss foosball at lunch with the Foosballer at Bloom and my office too. I do miss my office. I like to work from home, I definitely do, it saves the commute, but having an office was really nice.
AUDREY CHAMBERLAND, ACCOUNT MANAGER: Generally the act of getting up and going to work you know whether that’s on my bike, whether that’s walking, whether that’s running I just missed going to work and then when you get to work just generally seeing the hustle and bustle, the noise, the people, the wonderful colleagues. My cats really cute but I miss people.
What do you think will stay as a key learning from the remote-first experience when life goes “back to normal”?
PASCAL CÔTÉ, SEO DIRECTOR: So a big learning for the agency I think is virtual meetings are a totally viable alternative to in-person meetings for a certain situation of course. But I think our clients and the whole team is much more used to virtual meetings since all of this came through. So definitely it will become and alternative we will suggest our clients to take if they are, let’s say, too far away or change the hour of the meeting for example.
JAMIE BENCHIMOL, CLIENT EXPERIENCE DIRECTOR: I would say that what would stay as a key learning is really the innovation that was brought from COVID and how there was a lot of different businesses that were no longer able to do the same things that they were doing in the past and advertised the wit they were doing in the past so it’s nice to see the teams come together and really be very creative in the ways that we would switch up our tactics to bring our client success so I think that creative mindset and innovation is definitely something that needs to move forward you know even past COVID but it was really nice to see.
AUDREY CHAMBERLAND, ACCOUNT MANAGER: In terms of key learnings post-COVID, I think it was incredible to see all these companies adapting really really fast to the situation. Times probably won’t be going back to the normal that we knew before so it’ll be interesting to see how companies continue to adapt to this changing world and just generally you know on a more personal note just taking our time a little bit more in the morning and enjoying our coffee a little bit longer, I’ll try to keep that going.
ZOE KERRICK, ACCOUNT MANAGER: We were really blessed already at Bloom to have a lot of flexibility when it came to work from home and just remote work in general so for that part it was a relatively smooth transition but I think that just that flexibility, in general, is gonna become more so the norm after this crisis and you know the ability to kind of work from home whenever, I think adds a lot of like relief to some people, at least for me, I can say I I don’t have to deal with the commute in the morning, I have so much more time to rest and do the things that I wouldn’t normally have the time to do at home so I think that that flexibility is really going to be something that carries on after this.
ALEXANDRA BUONANNO, SEO SPECIALIST: What I hope stays from our remote experience is that we take the extra time that we do have, which before we were definitely doing but now because we have more time at home is taking the time to do more lunch and learns, more knowledge sharing capsules internally. At Bloom, we are very team-oriented but this COVID time has just given us more space to do that and I really hope that sticks when we go back into the office.
Our digital marketing agency is still 100% remote until further notice and we continue to help businesses thrive online with paid search, social advertising, and search engine optimization.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marie-Joelle works at Bloom, a digital marketing agency, as the Marketing Manager. She's passionate about digital marketing tactics (from social media to web design) for B2B businesses looking to grow online.