Quickfire with Mark Littlewood

Managing Director and Owner of OneAgency Group

Mark Littlewood is Managing Director and Owner at OneAgency, an award winning creative, marketing and digital agency with offices in Norwich, Cambridge and London. We spent five minutes with Mark, and asked him some questions about managing his business through the pandemic.
Published in Norfolk Director Magazine, Summer 2021
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Questions for Mark about managing his business through the pandemic

How has OneAgency managed through the pandemic?

Like many, we’ve found daily operations more difficult to manage. Our strength is our people, and  how they connect and interact with one another is important; it’s what creates our best work and our overall client output. Taking this connection away forced the agency to take a fresh approach to how we operate. Like the rest of the world, we embraced distant working and while we already had many WFH tactics in place, we brought our operational reliance on comms platforms to the fore.

Have you changed your view on having a large office in Norwich city centre?

Absolutely not! In fact, the enforced absence has meant we’ve come to appreciate our head office much more. Like many, we’ve taken our ‘mothership’ for granted, a place we simply turn up to everyday to carry out our duties. Interestingly, its absence has meant staff have actually missed it and the benefits it offers. Feedback suggests that our team have realised that they have a lovely base in which to conduct their day-to-day operations from.

How have you managed to keep the quality of the client offering to a high standard?

Communication and tight management. Easier said than done of course, but our team are experienced so continuing what they know has been the easy bit. Delivering client communications without the physical interaction has been challenging and so we’ve had to adapt. Regular check ins with our clients have helped ensure our focus on frictionless delivery of the work. Our clients have been fantastic and very flexible so if something takes a little longer then that’s fine as long as everyone is open and honest. We owe them a big thank you!

What does 2021 look like for the business?

Something that we’re all asking as we edge out into the wider commercial landscape. We work to strict commercial plans and we’ve kept a careful eye on the numbers to ensure we’re on track. 2021 has started well and we sense there is good business to be done, organisations want to push on and to market themselves in this changing landscape. Our job is to help that happen and we believe in the bounce that will inevitably follow.

What is the hardest aspect of running a company from home?

Distance. While I’ve personally spent a lot of time in the office, we don’t have our full quota back – yet. The little things we take for granted can be so obvious when they’re not there, the chance catch up on the stairs, or a quick desk chat help to keep our day-to-day knowledge sharpened. A quiet office is never going to be as productive as a building full of energy. None of us have all the answers and collaboration is key to providing outstanding and effective solutions for our clients.

Has the organisation changed any of its operational tactics as a result of a year of WFH?

Yes, like many, we’ve had to. Most importantly, we’re actively embracing a hybrid work pattern. We will fit our company around our team, as long as it functions optimally for our client work and it works for everyone. Companies will have to learn to be adaptable and I’m confident in our ability to remain agile.

How do you switch off from the day to day?

Most owners don’t. However, I believe strongly in having an active interest in things that are different from the day job. Mine include property renovation, architecture, old Porsches, Vespas and vintage furniture hunting/collecting. Working hands on with a team of builders and renovators (in the garage or through a building renovation) helps take the mind off office life so for me, it works

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