The WFH Diaries - Anita Zanesco at Havas Creative Group

By AdNews | 1 July 2020

AdNews brings the stories of those working from home (WFH) in the advertising and media industry during the coronavirus crisis.

Anita Zanesco is head of new business at Havas Creative Group.

How are you dealing with the silence?
Silence. What silence? It was like living in a backpacker hostel at times and the kitchen never closed! We also had every second house in our street in renovation mode and an influx of yapping puppies, purchased in a frenzy to keep households happy. However…as with many households across this lucky country, there has been a slow return to quieter times now the two small people are back at school and my husband and I can rattle about in our own little allocated spaces. I’m okay with it most days but get quite excited when there’s an opportunity for human interaction. I definitely operate better in a more stimulating environment when there’s lots going on, but I also think it’s shown most of us there are times when the silence and calm of home is better for immersing yourself in bigger projects that benefit from no interruptions and dedicated thought.

What’s the upside?
Absolutely getting familiar with technology that can help us be more flexible and work in different ways - Zoom, Teams, Skype, FaceTime or whatever other means colleagues and clients have chosen to use. Whilst none of these were completely foreign to me, it’s opened up a whole new world so that when you do need to work from home for any reason, it’s completely achievable and effective. For working parents, it’s also given us months of true flexibility where we can structure our days around kids and family commitments, even if that means having to work later into the evening or earlier in the morning. Oh and my husband has taken up making gin. Winner.

The downside?
The fact I started a role with “new business” in the title four weeks before Covid-19 hit is slightly hysterical in itself but certainly the lack of personal interaction and collaboration with other people who think differently, challenge my opinions and offer perspective, would be the biggest downside for me. Our agency village is full of such a diverse range of creative, clever, crazy people and working in their presence is not only stimulating but helps all of us do our jobs better and to a higher standard. Whilst doing it remotely and virtually has still been possible, it’s definitely not the same for me. On a very personal note, I’ve also missed getting to know the crew at Havas Village properly. I feel I’ve only just scratched the surface and have been blown away by the depth and breadth of talent that I’m surrounded by so can’t wait to see it in action when we return to the office.

How are you using the commuting time saved?
I’ve learned a language, taken up yoga and done a coding course. No I haven’t. I’ve used mornings to exercise later (rather than my 5.20am gym alarm) and don’t get home until about 7.15am which would not be possible if I was commuting. In the evenings, it’s just been great being home with my husband to help the kids with homework and have dinner together as a family which we never do when we are in the office. There’s definitely a greater sense of calm in the house.

I am looking forward to being back in the office because…
I’ll get to meet and work even more closely with a whole bunch of fabulously talented people face-to-face, most of whom I’ve only connected with over Zoom or Teams. I’ll get to re-establish those boundaries between work and home again which I’ve struggled with at times. And I’ll be back in an environment to collaborate and co-create with the amazingly talented Havas Villagers and their wonderful specialisms. Bring it on!

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