The shift to digital has allowed MUTABOR to retain employees and gain customers.
PAGE 04/21: …»Strategy, branding, architecture, live experience, digital — these are the pillars of the Mutabor agency in Hamburg. Consequently, it experienced the pandemic in all its facets. Trade fairs in China were cancelled as early as November 2019, and many orders there were lost in 2020 too. Many customers were initially expressed caution in the other disciplines, but later put it aside in the third and fourth quarters and even caused a growth in this business. As a result, the Mutabor digital team grew from 20 to 30 people, almost entirely from within the company itself.
»Rather than hiring new people, we retrained employees and offered them now perspectives in the digital team«, reports Burkhard Müller, Chief Digital Officer at Mutabor. Thanks to a keen willingness to learn and high motivation, this worked well. »We are now more interdisciplinary than ever, and the outcomes of our work surprise us in a positive way.«
All teams now handle digital projects and use the advantages of digital workflows:
The interface designing tool Figma is now used in branding with pair designing, in which two or more designers collaborate on the same module in real time, and the architects are developing virtual spaces, including all interactions. »Within a couple of months, they have mastered all of the skills necessary for this — it’s incredible what is possible under pressure!« Even so, it was a difficult time. »We restructured whatever we could. Of course, it was challenging for many colleagues to change. We had short-term work — which is fortunately coming to an end in the last remaining departments«, says Müller.
After one year of Corona, digital workflows are now long-established routine not only for employees, but also for customers. Collaboration tools such as Figma or Miro, but also project management software like Jira are part of everyday life and make processes much more transparent than before Corona for everyone involved. Burkhard Müller is concerned about something else: »The quality of our work has not suffered from the situation, but the emotional connection probably has. The social environment that characterizes agency life is missing.« As a lot of the elements connecting someone to the team are eliminated by working in a home office, he is worried about losing employees.
Last June, Burkhard Müller wished for a better culture of failure — and in fact he does observe a greater mutual empathy. »We deal with mistakes more calmly. This should not be confused with carelessness, but we have simply come to the realization that things can go really badly at times, but we will still work it out.« And Müller can take one more positive thing from the crisis: »The agency has become significantly more sustainable. Not just because of less travel and less waste, but also because we are much more mindful in our behavior.«