Ellen Hedley, director of Vida Creative
Chloe Shakesby

Bdaily Festive Focus 2020: Vida Creative's Ellen Hedley on how being apart has brought her company closer together

For today’s Festive Focus, Bdaily spoke to Ellen Hedley, director of Vida Creative, about consciously concentrating on the positives, promoting togetherness and focusing on the future.

How has 2020 changed the way that you live, work, and think?

“Personally, I’ve become much more aware of the things I need to be happy in life. Making sure I eat healthy food, getting out for exercise… and other things I enjoy doing like going to the pub on a Friday night! I’ve realised how much I took for granted so it’s made me a more grateful person.

“Workwise, it’s made me realise just how amazing our team is! We’ve obviously been working remotely for the majority of this year and I think we’ve all missed the atmosphere in the office when we’re all together, working creatively.

“I’ve also definitely started trying to consciously think more positively about things. I know it’s not always possible, but if you come at a situation from a positive perspective it always feels more manageable than focusing on the negatives.”

What has been your single biggest challenge and how have you overcome it?

“Running a business through one of the biggest pandemics experienced in modern day.

“Honestly, I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the challenges that has thrown at us.

“I’m so lucky that I have my partner Henry alongside me running Vida Creative, because doing that alone would have been even worse.

“When the first lockdown hit, we saw quite a few projects cancelled or postponed. A lot of our clients are in tech and we have some in healthcare too, so we were lucky in that we kept most of our clients.

“Keeping the team motivated when we all had to start working from home was pretty tough as well.

“Now we’ve got through most of the year it’s definitely feeling easier. But we’re a creative business at the end of the day and what we do is all about bouncing ideas around and off one another. Video calls may have saved us, but it’s no replacement for a good ideas session the office!”

What has been the biggest unexpected positive to come out of this year?

“In terms of the business, we’ve done lots of internal work with the team on what our values are, and the types of clients and partners we want to be working with.

“We all found it really useful to take stock and ask ourselves why we’re doing what we do.

“And I’m not sure that we would have devoted so much time to this if the pace of things hadn’t slowed down a little.

“I think the other unexpected positive is that the conversation around mental health has been highlighted even more this year.

“I’ve always been an advocate of talking out about mental wellbeing, but it’s been good to have those conversations with our team and with our clients.

“In a way, I think it’s brought us closer to the people we’re working with because you can’t help but acknowledge what else is going on in the world by talking about it.”

What does your ideal Christmas look like?

“It sounds boring but I love having Christmas at home. I went to Spain for Christmas once and I actually really missed the cold, dark nights of England.

“At least when it’s chilly outside you have a reason to stay in all day eating and drinking to your heart’s content!

“So that’s basically my ideal Christmas… staying at home with my family, having a big Christmas dinner and falling asleep in front of the telly after!

“If I could pick my whole family up and take them to a lodge in The Alps where I could also go skiing on Christmas Day, that would be the ultimate festive dream!”

How do you think people and businesses can support each other during 2020’s festive season?

“One thing that I’ll be doing more than I maybe normally do is donating to charity, but I know that not everyone’s in the position to do this.

“Promoting togetherness over competition (although that sounds really cliché!) is also a big one.

“Looking for opportunities to big up your business competition or support someone who you can see is in need of help costs nothing.

“You have no idea what challenges this year has thrown at the people you’re talking to – whether that’s at work or in any other context. So ‘just be kind’ is what I’m getting at here I think!”

What does 2021 look like for you and your business?

“I’m actually really excited for 2021! For me, I’m just proud that our team have pulled through this year and I’m looking forward to taking that resilience forward and pushing our business on.

“As I mentioned, we’ve used the events of this year to re-evaluate what we stand for, what we’re aiming for and where we want to go with Vida Creative. So it’s all about consolidating that and focusing on doing what we do really well.

“Oh, and we’re also looking forward to welcoming another new team member in the new year which we can’t wait for!”

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