Episode #7 - Did we really have to think about closing Cookies because of a virus?

Behind the Screens #1: Reflections on how lockdown affected CookiesHQ

This week Nic sits down with CookiesHQ co-founder and MD Nathalie. Covid-19 has had a huge impact on businesses up and down the UK, and CookiesHQ is no different. They reflect the period of uncertainty triggered by lockdown, the impending sense of approaching a ‘doomsday situation’ and the management challenges that arise from having the whole team working remotely.

They speak about their differing personal experiences of lockdown: Nathalie is a self-confessed hermit while Nic craves the buzz of social interaction – each presenting their own challenges during these extraordinary times.

Nic and Nathalie are also married and have found themselves juggling running the business from home with taking care of and homeschooling three young children. They talk candidly about parental challenges and how they feel as though they’re actually seeing less of each other in lockdown.

This is the first in a series of Behind the Screens episodes in which Nic and Nathalie will reflect on everything going on at CookiesHQ and look ahead to what’s on the horizon.

Join the conversation on the CookiesHQ Twitter.

Head over to LinkedIn to find out more on Nic and Nat.

Read the transcript

Nic:
Hi, and welcome the Tough Cookies podcast. I’m Nic, and today with me is Nathalie. We are both cofounders of CookiesHQ. We’re also husband and wife, and we thought it will be interesting to document on a weekly series, or at least on a weekly basis, what it is to run an agency, build products for startups and scale-ups and all the ecosystem in the Bristol area. Nath, how are you?

Nathalie:
I’m okay. Thank you. Hello.

Nic:
Yeah? It’s really strange to speak to you in English. As you can tell by my accent, everybody, I’m French. Nath is also French, and we’re both speaking in English to ourselves in our living room.

Nathalie:
Which is very unusual.

Nic:
Which is very unusual and very strange. Usually, the kids speak to us in English but not the two of us, except in the office, we do speak in English, I guess.

Nathalie:
Yeah, but not at home. I think it’s the home environment that’s a bit strange to that. Okay, we will get
used to it.

Nic:
We will get used to it, but going back to Cookies, do you want to present about yourself and your role at Cookies, and maybe how we evolved over time inside the company?

Nathalie:
I’m currently MD at Cookies. It’s a role I’ve self-evolved into. If we go back to the origins of CookiesHQ I think to explain what we’ve been doing over the last nine years. I joined you. You were freelancing at the time and doing web developments for a lot of clients, and then you got a bit too many clients on
your hands, and you got me to handle with the client management and the project management and the actual development. So, you offered me to join you. I had a very long hard think about it, because I wasn’t sure and I was looking for a job at the time. And then, well, I would say yes. And then we got married a month later, and then we had a child but a year later, and we grew the agency together. So, I started as a sort of only marketing kind of person, project manager doing a bit of everything here and there. And then as we grew the team mostly, I think I became less hands-on on the projects and a bit more managing the staff, being project owner more than project manager. So, doing less of the day to day and more getting a strategic role with the company and the startups that we’re working with. I think that’s been the nutshell over the last nine years.

Nic:
Yeah. And for me as well, my role always integument, I’m now the CTO of the company but I’ve always been on the tech side obviously but my role has quite evolved over time. I’m less and less in the project themselves, and more involved in all the expense of lead gen, and all the stuff about the lovely things of writing documents and all these kind of things, which is interesting. It’s really strange when I code I do miss the lead gen part and the document writing part, but when I write the documents I miss the code part. So, it’s slightly interesting. It’s really weird, but now I’m very excited about this idea of these weekly series, and I know it’s something that we’ve been talking about for a long time and something that I think both of us were not that comfortable maybe doing like speaking and looking at each other in our living room together. It is a bit strange, but it’s also something I always wanted to do, this idea of documenting where we’re going. We’re now nine years olds as a company, and we’re going to over 10 years the next year. And there’s a part of this I’m sure, that documenting our journey, thinking back to what has happened in those nine years and what are the problems that we’re encountering on the day to day would be interesting to some people. So, I hope it will be, and you signed up to what? 12 episodes, that’s the minimum? That’s what you said?

Nathalie:
Yes, that’s what I said, 12 at least.

Nic:
It’s recording now so we can’t back out. When we thought about what could be the format of the podcast, I tend to approach anything in life in an un-structured way. So, it’s really like just wake up, do whatever you have to do, get out. You’re obviously way more structured so you say, “I’m okay but want some structure into it,” which I think what we said was we are going to do some sort of kind of like, “How was your week into retrospective?” Which will lead us over the time to one specific subject, which I think this time is going to be COVID and the whole situation of working from home with kids with your wife, which is going to lead to hopefully some interesting elements, and then kind of like, “What are your goals for next week?” And then wrap-up of the show. So, without further ado, how was your week?

Nathalie:
It was okay. Very, very busy this week. There’s a lot going on, I guess, client-wise with the company as well. Yeah, the whole situation with the lockdown isn’t ideal when you have three young children to look after. Yeah, it’s very, I don’t know … Time flies by and it feels like we haven’t really got time to do
anything very productive which is a bit annoying. I think the main difficulty for me is to finding the four hours in a day to actually do proper work as opposed to just looking at my phone and responding to emails, but we have the time to sit down and think about things. I’m doing the homeschooling in the morning with the children and then quick lunch, put the little one to bed for a nap, and then I go up to the office and work till 6:00 in the afternoon and then it’s almost tea time, bed time already. So, yeah, the days are quite long and very busy. When there’s too much, it also leads to some late nights. Not too often, because then I get cranky and I actually don’t work very well the following day. So, I try to limit those, but it does happen.

Nic:
One thing that you do, napping, so we’ve been in lockdown for what? About nine, 10 weeks? Something like that.

Nathalie:
10 weeks, I think.

Nic:
10 weeks. I think we closed completely the office like a week before the whole lockdown was announced. So, it was something along those lines. Anything before that, I think I was like the last man standing in the office. I can remember like two or three days where I went to the office but nobody was
there. I didn’t want to work from home somehow even as a company we always had for everybody the flexibility of working from home. That was something that was very important in the way we grew. Even when we were just together if you remember and it was just the two of us, we discovered that we could not work in the same room for a long time. At the time we only had one bedroom to work from. I was working from coffee shops and we were working at home. So, we grew this mentality of working remotely by default. But one of the interesting takeaway of the whole COVID situation, and it will be
interesting to hear if other founders couple we found the same thing, is like I don’t see you anymore. I see you en passant in the stairs. Like, “Hey, I’m going up.” And we chat for like five minutes. And then I see you again at like six o’clock in the evening, which I guess is what normal couples all used to have.
Like you say bye after breakfast and then you see each other at the end of the day, but we are used to working together in the same office, not next to each other, but at least in the same office. We used to interact quite a lot during the day. I’m used to seeing you, seeing if you’re happy, if you’re tensed, if
you’re bored, if you’re annoyed. Obviously, I was trying to fix whatever is wrong. But at least I can see you, and I’m a very visual and tactile person. So, I need to see people and then I need to be around people. That’s been really hard for me, this idea of like for nine weeks just living with someone in the
same house but not seeing that person as I used to. That was very difficult.

Nathalie:
It’s funny because I don’t really need people around me. I think we’re completely opposite on a lot of points and this one in particular where you need people around you and you need to talk to people, whereas I’m a bit of a hornet. I’m fine being at home with just you and the kids. Actually, I don’t really
miss social interaction that much. What I do need though is time to talk about work and the company that … Because usually we do that in the office or during working hours. We try to avoid that during family time, so morning and evenings. But we haven’t had a chance to do that because there is no
working hours anymore. Everything is mixed. So, work, family, it’s all there all the time. But I think I miss that time where we can just talk about work and forget about the kids and family for a bit. At the same time, I miss the time when we are at home just with the family as opposed to being working at the same time. So, I think mixing the two constantly has been the hardest for me.

Nic:
Before recording this show I was trying the whole setup with Timmy, our oldest. We were having a chitchat conversation with the mics just trying to see how the mics work. I was using the whole lockdown as an experience story to interview Timmy almost. I was asking how lockdown was for him, and if he liked homeschooling and all these kind of things. When I said, “What are your favourite thing that you do during your lockdown?” He answers. “And what is the thing that you don’t like and what are the things that daddy does that you don’t like?” Very quick he said, “I don’t like when daddy has some afternoons when he’s on the phone all the time and he’s supposed to be with us.” I’m like, “Yeah, I know.” There’s been one of those, a couple of those afternoon during those nine weeks where I was meant to be with them, but there were things to sort out, so I happened to be on the phone and then I had to be, at least it was sunny and they went to garden and all that, but I guess for them it’s also unusual for them and it was quite nice to be around us all the time. We’re not the sort of parents that never see their kids. We’re always at home and very respectful of time, and we see our kids, spend a lot of time with them on weekends and all that, but this whole idea of like daddy is there, we’re supposed to play, we’re supposed to do something or whatever. And then all of a sudden, daddy is just on the phone constantly, not playing, just working, just annoying.

Nathalie:
No, but it’s during what is supposed to be their school hours. So, I think that’s what’s weird for them as well is that they’re not at school. They’re at home, but yeah, we’re supposed to be working during these hours. We’ve had to cut down our working hours, which obviously had to happen. We’re not the only
ones that it happened for, but we need to keep in mind that we have the company to run and it can’t run by itself completely. So, there’s stuff to be done, and I like to think that we’re also teaching them that, “You know what? Things have to get done, work has to get done. You can still do both and you can try and be both. Some days you’ll miss a few things.” And we’ll just pull those to them for not being available enough. But other days, they’ll be happy to have us. I’d like to think they will take away something from that as well, but I’ve tried to explain that we’re supposed to be working when they’re at school, and they’re not at school. So, I think that’s where the problem is.

Nic:
We were supposed, obviously like everybody else, to talk about the whole COVID thing and the whole lockdown and the impact on the company and all that. In the past nine weeks I’ve spoken to quite a lot of either directly on the phone or via emails or social medias, talking to quite a few agency owners, both from the Bristol-Bath region and around. There is a very mixed situation which both is depending on like what was your marketing efforts beforehand? What are the clients that you have? Are you very technical? Are you more marketing-led kind of thing? But it’s a very mixed bag kind of situation. I thought it will be interesting for us to reflect on, I don’t know, when the whole thing started nine, 10 weeks ago, I remember you were sitting down. Well, as you, doing the spreadsheets and not sitting down, but you did spreadsheets of like “Okay, what is it going to look like if?” And there were like three
scenarios of everything is as normal, everything is okay-ish and we’re going to make it, or what is doomsday scenario? For about a week, it almost felt like we could’ve been in doomsday scenario. Everything was pausing, everything was cancelling. Nothing was getting done, no decisions were being made. Thankfully, I think we had some marketing activities. We had a lot of things going on past the COVID which helped us a lot to rebound on that. And then all of a sudden we’ve seen leads still coming, and we’ve seen new work being signed on by an existing client still being there. But there was certainly a moment of like a week or two where there was a huge amount of stress on both parts here where, “Okay, what are we going to do with this thing? Are we going to have to just close the company because of virus kind of thing?” It was just the most ridiculous situation, but still thinking about those kind of things was extremely stressful. I don’t know how you felt it. We discussed about the consequences but we never discussed about how we felt about it.

Nathalie:
I think I was really angry because it wasn’t anything that we’d done wrong. I get the fact that you have to close your company if you’ve done something wrong. If you’ve made a mistake. Even if you didn’t realise it at the time, but then you reflect on it, and actually you see it was your own doing and it is what it is. It’s fine. It’s just life and you get on with something else. The fact that it was completely not controlled by us and not controllable, and I like to control things.

Nic:
A lot.

Nathalie:
A lot. I think that just made me really angry that it felt a bit unfair. So, before the lockdown happened, we had work but as usual we usually have work booked what? Two, three months in advance, sometimes a little bit more, but it’s a healthy situation. We had a healthy cashflow. There was nothing wrong. We just had a really strong year. So, everything was really good and going according to plan, and I like things going quite according to plan. The lockdown happened, and literally in what? In two days we had contracts cancelled. We had leads just not going anywhere. Everything that was planned just fell through. If I remember, well, we had work for April, which was still going ahead, and then from May we had a few couple of bits in May. And then nothing, absolutely nothing, for June, July, August. Everything had stopped when we had at least half of these months already booked. It got really scary at that point because obviously we have 10 members of staff to pay at the end of the month. Even if you have a healthy cashflow and money to pay them for a few months, at some point you just can’t carry on like that. So, for me it was, at what point do we say, “You know what? We need to furlough people.” At what point do we say, “It’s just not sustainable enough and we need to completely stop it?” I think it was real. It got really scary as you said, for a couple of weeks. And then we managed to sign a big contract which we were hoping to get and then we got it. And then we got more work from a couple of other clients who were not impacted that much by COVID, or actually were impacted positively. So, all of that then got us going again, and it started looking a bit more positive. And then, I guess, now we’re fine, and we also have this advantage of having a lot of work coming from recurring clients. So, we’re in contact with them constantly and we knew where they are. We knew how to talk to them. We know them. So, it’s different from having to go out and get new leads in a time like this when you can’t actually go and meet people. Because I think that also makes a big difference for us is we are used to going out and meeting people face-to-face. I think doing that online has been a bit difficult, and still a bit different somehow.

Nic:
Having done any webinars or one of those online networking experience thing, I have a thing, if I’m not coding or working I can’t be focused on a computer. And if I’m watching one of those webinars or one of these things online, I just can’t focus. I just can’t be there. Networking online, networking through a chat
system is like …

Nathalie:
It’s really hard. It’s just not the same thing.

Nic:
To be honest, if we talk about what was the pre-COVID marketing activities we were doing and where would people first to interact with us. They would either interact with us because they’ve read something about us on our blog or somebody else’s blog and kind of thing, they’ve read about our technical abilities, or we’ve produced for them an event that was useful to them and therefore they came to us. So, our idea was always to like … We were meeting people but even in person we never did one of those networking events or whatsoever. It’s like we’re in the forefront trying to produce value for them, and then sometime in return good. We had some people coming back to us and say, “Hey, can we work together?” Which is great. I guess now my mind is more into what we learn post-COVID kind of scenario looks like. Are we going to go back into running those events or is it something that we have to think
about? Because on one hand, I can’t attend those webinars, but if at the same time I need to plan about doing webinar I’m probably not the right person because I can’t. I can’t stand attending them basically. Yeah, there’s a lot of questions around how are we going to evolve as a company post-COVID scenario that we’re trying to reflect today with people in the team and how do we bring that forward? I think we’ve seen a lot of activities. I’ve personally seen a lot of people responding very quickly jumping onto producing awesome videos or some contents online or some written content, audio content, which is great. We took the opposite of like, “Hang on. This is not our space here. This is not something that we used to do. How about we pause and we take a bit of time to plan it correctly and use that almost as an excuse of doing a bit more strategy work?” At least that’s who I’m working with, the people in the team I mean.

Nathalie:
Yeah, I don’t think we post everything. We carried on with quite a lot of stuff that we were already doing, reports and the normal marketing activities. We just haven’t jumped into something new just for the sake of it, because I think we needed to think about whatever or not it was worth it, worth the
effort. In a situation like this, we needed really all hands on deck to either get the work done and get everything else done. So, we carried on almost as normal. Obviously, we reviewed some of the plan, the events and everything. We had to think we haven’t done online events but we’ve attended a few… I think I’m like you. I’m already not great at attending events in person. Online is even worse, I think. It’s just really hard. If it’s just for the sake of logging into webinar and actually not doing much with it, then I don’t really see the point. Again, it’s this unknown of how long is it going to last? We didn’t know if it was going to be a few weeks, a few months. Now we need to see if the events in-person are going to come back or not. Yeah, if we knew for sure that we wouldn’t be able to do any physical events for a year or two, maybe we would put something in place a bit more rapidly, but as it stands, I’m still hoping that by the end of the year we’ll be going back to physical events where we’ll be able to meet people in person even if we don’t shake their hands.

Nic:
I don’t know, to me it’s more like actually there’s a good point here in the sense of it’s like pushing out of the comfort zone. It’s like even if the physical event comes back, I would like to see us doing some sort of online activities that we are not doing today. That’s what we’re thinking at the moment with the marketing team. It’s like, “What are we going to do?” But what I don’t want to do is just jump too fast into the bandwagon and just produce things for the sake of producing things. And so, in everything that we do we’ve always tried to produce this value for the people, and I’d really want to keep that rather than just jump in quickly and do, I don’t know, just to be in for the sake of it kind of thing. I think one company in Bristol, they were doing a lot of videos before, like byte sized videos for social media especially LinkedIn. It’s Noisy Little Monkey. I don’t know if you followed them, but they really ramped up their game, and I’m just in love with what they produce. Their work is
amazing, and their byte sized videos are amazing. It’s nothing like … That’s the problem I have is like I like everything to be perfect, and I like everything to be edited and matched and cut correctly, whatever. For them, there is kind role experience that actually makes it even better. They don’t do big stuff. Well, they do kind of like the Friday stuff or whatever, but they do a lot of small content. It’s like one, two minutes byte sized kind of content. It’s really cool. I think they really ramp up on that one.

Nathalie:
They’ve got really good branding. I’ve been their fan for years now, but it’s funny because I remember them quite a few years ago when they were just starting on the event scene in Bristol. It was really small events. I guess what they’re producing now is also the results of years of experience in running events and talking to people. It’s just not coming out of the blue. It’s literally that they’re able to produce that now because they’ve been doing it for years in other formats. Yeah, it’s not just out there right now. I think they’ve just adapted the format and the way they’re doing it the same way they evolved their events from a small one to day conferences with hundreds of people. But yeah, they’re really good and their branding is excellent.

Nic:
One other thing that I do struggle with into producing more value and more content is obviously time. We’ve moved from … I was working five days a week, a classic 9:00 to 5:00 kind of thing, but still five days, full days a week, and then the odds evening thinking, whatever. We don’t tend to work much the
normal scenario. We don’t tend to work much in the evenings or weekends, if not weekend at all. But since COVID started, I haven’t realised how much the half days were going to impact my ability to produce anything. I wake up in the morning into your home office at 8:00, and then I start to do a couple
of things, and then the team arrives and you go a couple of catch-ups. And then before you know it’s like half 12:00, and I have to go down and look after the kids. It’s frustrating, this idea of I’m doing things but I’m not doing anything valuable. And at the same time I’m really terrible. Anything after four o’clock in the afternoon, I can’t work after four o’clock. My brain is fried up and I can’t do anything regardless if I’m working or not in the afternoon, I can’t do anything in the evenings. I can’t. It’s not for me. I’m an early owl. I will wake up at early in the morning. I will do stuff early, but not in the evening. But trying to produce anything of value in term of content in these half days, I haven’t managed to crack on, I don’t know. Hopefully, from next week it’s going to be a
bit easier. We’re going to try to introduce those working hours in the afternoon with the kids, which hopefully will help me producing a little bit more. But how have you felt? Because you had a different schedule than me before that. So, how have you felt about that?

Nathalie:
I don’t think my working hours have dropped that much, because I was only already working part time before and short days because I was mainly working not every day, and doing the school hours. I was, I think, only working 15 or 20 hours every week.

Nic:
Every day.

Nathalie:
It was long days. No, every week. So, if I actually count the hours I don’t think it’s changed that much. What has changed though is the break time. I’m a typical introvert and I need downtime. I need time by myself, which I don’t really get much at the moment, not during a typical day. Because I’ll help the kids in the morning, go straight to work where I’ll have to obviously talk to the staff and talk to the team, talk to the clients, and then do some work. And then in the evening I’ll come down, and obviously everyone’s there and it’s family time again. I have no break and no downtime where I can just be on my own to just relax and actually let go of everything. So, I think that’s where at the end of the week I’m drained. I think it’s just not only being tired. It’s just physically and mentally drained because I’m missing the car journey on the way to school and the office, or I’m missing the walk on a Sunday or I’m missing all of these little things, a lot of 10, 15 minutes here and there and to just wind down. And then for some reason it feels like there’s more work to be done now than there was before. It could be just because of the current projects that we have going on or it could be just that we have had to adapt quite a few things and we have a couple of team members who’re not working their normal hours
either, because they have young children and they need to look after them. So, they’ve had to reduce their hours. We’re trying to be flexible, but it obviously has an impact on us because whatever they’re not doing I’d like to know we’re the ones that should be doing it, because the clients can’t be impacted by it.
So yeah, there’s quite a few things to juggle, and it’s also this mental juggle of work, kids, staff, looking after everyone constantly which is a bit draining. Yeah, it’s not so much the amount of hours. It’s the inbetween the working hours. I used to have my Tuesday morning, which was a bit of a new thing for me when our littlest one started nursery, or like I’m keeping half a day just for myself just to go to the gym, do whatever I want to do. It’s a morning to myself, which felt like gold after nine years of running an agency and raising kids at the same time. I just had that, and it got crashed completely. So, I don’t have
my Tuesday morning anymore. I don’t have the time which was really my time, my me-time.

Nic:
What was I going to say? I think I do miss the commutes. I do miss this … Especially, as we’d changed office about two weeks before the lockdown obviously.

Nathalie:
That was a wise decision.

Nick:
Because we’re always really good on timings, and because we haven’t finished moving the furniture from the old office, we’re still paying the rent over that. But since the new office I was like, “Okay, I’m going to commute cycling.” There’s a nice route from where we live to Bristol Centre. We’re now in the centre of Bristol on Park Street.mI was really looking forward that kind of like it’s about half an hour, 40 minutes cycling Mondays. I wasbreally looking for that kind of like even if I’m an extrovert and I need to be around people, I do need that kind of time for myself to think. That’s usually why I use my early mornings for, but in been the work time and family time, yeah, that moment is important. I think that’s what a lot of people do miss. We’ve seen quite a few people in the team that have struggled as well with the whole like you have to work from home all day long. Obviously, with the kids around or with the family around or with their other half around kind of thing

Nathalie:
Or even if they’re on their own because it means that a lot of them don’t stop working or don’t actually realise that it’s 6:00 or 7:00 or 8:00 and they need to clock off, and which means by the end of the week they’ve worked way too many hours and they haven’t taken any breaks because there was no one
around them to do so, and they got stuck in and never stopped. I think for them as well it’s been a bit of an issue.

Nic:
I think since week three of the lockdown I was logging in in Slack around anything after 6:00, anytime when the kids were not around, I would log in and just remind people the day is off now. Please just log off and go home, kind of thing, which obviously you are home but kind of like disconnect and do other
things. Some people did find it hard to just … But at the same time you don’t know … We don’t clock hours. We don’t watch every single people’s move or whatever, and sometime maybe people were just wanting to adapt and be like, “You know what? I’m going to play for an hour on the PlayStation today,
and then I’m going to do an extra hour tonight,” which is absolutely fine. You have to adapt and you have to let people adapt themselves into a working situation, which is not normal. Whether people wanted to be in the new normal or not, I’m not sure. I know there’s been a lot of conversations from a lot of companies about moving everything, all their operations remote and all
that. Interestingly, and you know that, I always had in the back of my mind this idea of like can Cookies be a full remote operation? Over time, we had a few people that were full-time remote, whether they were in the UK or outside of the UK. We had those people full-time remote. It is always in the back of my mind this idea of, “Can we turn Cookies into a full-time operation? Can we not have an office and actually just be able to hire the best people we can afford regardless where they are?” Which is what we were trying to do when we were doing the whole remote stuff. It just turned out that somebody said, “Hey, I really like what you’re doing. I want to work with you. He looks like a good person. Let’s work together.”

Nathalie:
I think the thing is I don’t think it’s a solution either, because either way you’re forcing either people to come to the office either or you’re forcing them to not come into an office and to work from home or from a coffee shop. For me, it’s just not the answer, but some people like to work from home. Some
people like to work from coffee shops. Some people really need to come to an office and actually interact with their teammates if not every day at least a few times a week, and I’m one of those, where I don’t think I’ll be seated to working remotely constantly, but at the same time what I need is the flexibility.
I don’t think forcing staff to either work from home or work in an office is the answer. I think for me the key is the flexibility and to actually offer them to do whatever they want to do and whatever they choose to do. It’s the best solution because you just let them choose. I think it’s important to have an
office, to have team meetings, to see each other, to be able to talk to each other. To have a chat by the coffee machine, to be able to go and get lunch together if you want to, to have the little chats here and there. Even us as directors, because it means you have these little chats that are not as formal as let’s have a Google Hangout, one today that feels very formal and very sort of, “Okay, what’s going to happen to me?” But you can just chat over a coffee, and it’s part of the office life and it’s part of the company life, which is very important for me. But at the same time I don’t want to force them to do that every day. They need to stay at home for whatever reason. I’m more than fine with that. So, for me, the key is the flexibility, not wherever you’re working from.

Nic:
I think that’s why I didn’t realise what we had and what we were offering. Thinking again about my idea of let’s transform Cookies into this full remote operation, I thought actually having experienced the whole lockdown I know that it’s not normal in the sense that we were forced to all be remote but at the
same time I do appreciate this idea of flexibility that we had.

Nathalie:
Now let’s be honest. We wouldn’t be able to both work from home constantly.

Nic:
No.

Nathalie:
Because one of us would have to get out in the morning wherever they go. We wouldn’t be able to work in this from the same … And we’ve never been able to do so. So, even for us it just wouldn’t work. That’s why we need an office.

Nic:
Yeah, but it was still in back of my mind just in case.

Nathalie:
I know.

Nic:
So, as we said at the beginning, it’s going to be kind of like a weekly show. I somehow very enjoyed that chat. What is going to be your week looking like?

Nathalie:
Very busy again. A lot of client work. We’ve got a couple of big projects and one that’s coming to the end. And then as today is the last day of May which means that it’s numbers time next week looking at reports, figures and what’s going on for the next few months and how May’s been and where we are in terms of cashflow, profit, all of that kind of stuff, which I really, really enjoy. I just need time to sit down and do it, because this is not something I can do in-between the other things. I need two, three hours to sit down, look at everything, put my reports together, and then come up with a plan for the next few months or the whole year, which I was supposed to do a couple of months ago but then it’s off completely left because there was no point really. Now I need to go back to actually doing a plan for the whole financial year rather than the next four weeks, which feels good. But yeah, it’s work. So, yeah, that’s what my week is going to be focused on. What about you?

Nic:
When we sit down next week, it’s either you’re going to be happy or not basically.

Nathalie:
Yeah. That’s really where I ask a few key people in the team about invoicing and projects and timings and ask for explanations if things haven’t gone right to plan. So, that’s what’s coming for you.

Nic:
On my side next week, it’s going to be a busy one week. During lockdown we had two discovery sessions, fully remote. The discovery sessions are like pre-projects basically. So, it’s when we explore startup ideas and we deconstruct the idea and then we build together a technical delivery plan. We have two of those to write. One is in progress and needs to be finished. The other one needs to start next week, and you need quite a lot of work. I’m going to be helping quite a few people from the team as well with the whole tech on the project. I’m going to working with our new head of marketing. So, on-boarding Emily – she’s called Emily – onto what is Cookies, what do we stand for and what do we do? And trying to create this strategy with her. That’s my plan for next week, quite a lot to do. I’m quite excited about the fact that I’m going to have two extra hours in the afternoon. I think that’s the highlight of my week, I think.

Nathalie:
So then I think something we haven’t cited is the reason why we have a couple of more hours in the day is that because our littlest is going back to nursery from tomorrow, and she’s obviously the tricky one because she’s only 18 months old, so she needs looking after constantly. The older two can sort of look after themselves for a couple of hours. So, that’s where it’s coming from.

Nic:
Cool. That’s going to be interesting.

Nathalie:
I’m looking forward to it after 10 weeks of having her constantly with me, especially as she’s just found out where I was hiding in the afternoons.

Nic:
I promise myself that to finish the show I’m going to ask people to write us on iTunes and Spotify and all that. So, I’m sorry I’m going to have to do it. I hope it was enjoyable and I hope we’re going to follow on those 12 weeks episodes each week. I’m looking forward to speak to you again next week if not before.

Nathalie:
Yeah, me too. See you next week.

Nic:
See you next week.

Let's work together

It all starts with a chat

We have over 9 years supporting passions and developing amazing products. We run events, record podcasts, maintain open-source code and resources for everyone to enjoy.