THE PAST YEAR...
1st January, 2021
by Melanie Qutteineh
As we sit and reflect on the past year it is difficult to imagine us ever returning to what we accepted as normal. Some changes that COVID has imposed on society were not new to us. From our inception WeAre3Fold had embraced remote working. We believed that it was not necessary to invest in the expensive overhead of an office when there was enough supporting software to allow us to work effectively in our own home nations in England, Wales & Northern Ireland. This brought us the benefits that many have experienced over the past year, spending time with our families, allowing us more freedom to optimize our working/leisure time and avoiding a lengthy commute. However, we also enjoyed every opportunity we got to meet up face to face. In fact it made us cherish those moments even more. I still believe now, as I did then that whilst working remotely has so many benefits you still need that personal, human contact which we witnessed in hugs and smiles when we met each time.
We haven’t had the opportunity to meet up this year due to various restrictions in our different homelands – not always joining up at the same time. The events that we worked on together are still on hold and despite catching up regularly on Zoom, it hasn’t been the same. We miss seeing each other and we miss our work.
We have also had our own struggles at home with our lives and families at different stages. This has often been a great bonus when developing ideas as we all come at things with a different perspective and we enjoy working through this process when coming up with solutions. This year the challenges of home-schooling and children being in and out of school has been very disruptive for me. Matt has a young baby at home who has missed valuable time in these early years being kept at home and away from vulnerable relatives. Rhys has been challenged with continuously trying to keep himself occupied during endless lock downs, circuit breakers and fire breaks.
So what have we done with our time? We looked at lots of ideas on how to ‘pivot’ – one of the key words of this pandemic - and we considered other things that we might do. However, we love what we do and creating solutions for our clients that connects people face to face is what we do best. At WeAre3Fold we have always believed that the solution, the ‘why’ must come first and the product to support that must come second. We are not producers of products and we want to be able to choose the right solution for our client with the right product. This will change from client to client and over time - we do not need to step into an arena where people are already doing this well. Allow the experts to be the experts. This was our outlook form the beginning and has not changed.
But what of the Live Event? Are we content to wait for its return? Well, yes we are. There is hope in a vaccine but also hope in the fact that we, as a human race, exist to interact with each other and we must put all our energies into making this a reality for us again.
In relation to sport, there have been endless calls to bring the fans back. I would even be confident enough to say it has been universal. Many players in a variety of sports have commented that it is not the same playing to empty stadiums, quiet golf courses and silent grandstands. Players respond to the crowds. The connection is necessary. Sports needs its fans. Sport without fans isn’t the same. It isn’t even close. Yes, we were all relieved when sport returned to the television but even through our screens we missed the noise, the buzz, the anticipation, the communal emotions, it isn’t just what makes sports better. It’s what makes it a spectacle.
The value of the ordinary fan has never been greater. I can almost envision a highly paid sports star clapping the fans into the stadium with relief and gratitude. WELCOME BACK, they will cry. So whilst it may seem a long way in the future we are very much looking forward to these moments and working with the brands who will chose this vehicle to connect with the public again.
Yet, we have much appreciation to those who have enabled us to stay connected virtually. My personal favourite was seeing Paul Harvey, a composer and dementia sufferer share his music and then recording with the BBC Philharmonic orchestra. The technology that enables us to do this helped to raise £1 million for Dementia Charities and moved many of us to tears. We are grateful for these opportunities in restricted times but oh! When can we see it live?