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Graduates Making Their Mark in CCR Businesses: Front Door Communications

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Front Door Communications (FD Comms) is one of many small businesses in the CCR who are doing their best to maintain business as usual in these unprecedented times.

Founding partner Kath Chadwick explained how the Cardiff-based PR, social media and content marketing agency was ahead of the curve when the order to work from home came on March 23, having made the decision to close the office a week earlier.

“The biggest challenge for us was less about access to systems and the network capacity issues that larger businesses have had to contend with – we all have everything we need on our laptops and are pretty self-sufficient. For us it was more about ensuring that, with all the extra demands on our time at home with families and young children to attend to, we were able to provide that round the clock support to our clients,” Kath said.

FD Communications are a small close knit team well acquainted with each other’s personal circumstances, and able to pull together to create the much needed flexibility that those with young children in particular need.

Kath added:

“I am really proud of the way we have all supported each other in the new way of working, particularly the care and compassion we continuously show each other whilst simultaneously continuing to deliver the service our clients expect and deserve from us.

“I am also really proud to be part of a business network that cares about fellow businesses. I have been super impressed by the way some clients have insisted on paying fees on day of invoicing to help us with cash flow, and also with organisations like the IoD for the care and concern they have shown to us. It’s heartening to feel part of a close-knit business community that wants to support each other in any way we can throughout these difficult times.”

Former graphic design student Annie Harding recently joined Front Door under the Cardiff Capital Region Graduate Scheme. She said she was lucky to have settled into her job, which is mostly putting out content on social media, before the lockdown began.

“We were sent to work from home before all the regulations came about as a lot of our clients are remote anyway, and doing social media it doesn’t make a huge difference to me,” she said.

Annie has been busier since the virus began as clients want to put out more content. There's more news to monitor and things to be aware of when running social media for clients.

“Business has ramped up and we are working harder to provide clients with the support they need during this time. I’ve personally been putting out far more during this period, but we have to be careful with the output we now put out as it needs to convey the right message,” Annie added.

“We need to be tactful with every post. Everything seems to be connected, one way or another, to COVID-19 these days.”

Annie said she prefers working in the office than at home because it's easier to communicate with the rest of the team, but adds that Front Door has been very supportive.

“We have a lot more conference calls to stay connected with each other. We also use WhatsApp to stay in contact, and the team are great in making sure everyone is comfortable with their tasks and checking we have all the information and equipment we need to do our job effectively. They gave me a laptop stand and I basically now have my office at home, which is great,” she said.

Kath said:

“Annie has adapted brilliantly to the change in ways of working. Like most graduates her grasp of technology is fantastic so that presents no issue at all; but she has also used this opportunity to pick up the baton and run with it, showing us what she’s capable of doing with minimal supervision.

“Yes, for sure, discussing concepts and reviewing output takes slightly longer when it’s done via telephone and shared screens, but it has had no impact on our ability to continue to ensure we deliver first class content to our clients. Annie’s enthusiasm also keeps the rest of us going when we’re juggling the day to day strains of life, as well as working full time.”

If you are evaluating your capacity and need any further resource to manage at this time, the Cardiff Capital Region Graduate Scheme may be able to help. The Scheme can provide a free and streamlined recruitment service that can match your immediate resourcing needs to high-skilled graduate talent in the region.

If you are interested in finding out more please get in touch with either [email protected] or [email protected].