AdNews brings the stories of those working from home (WFH) in the advertising and media industry during the coronavirus crisis.
Emil Mathias is partnerships account director at MediaMath ANZ:
How are you dealing with the silence?
Certainly, a two-part answer for this. When homeschooling there was certainly zero silence to be worried about. Dealing with the constant questions, refusals to do anything and Google Classroom breaking, were much more of a concern. I really do not know how teachers get through 5 days a week all year. Huge pay rises should be handed out to them all in the next budget!
When I have had my turn in the home office, I have made heavy use of the Google Home, which has become an absolute godsend for us all during lockdown. Discovering new music on Spotify and reliable classic rock on Triple M, has kept me going. Meanwhile, the kids have spent many hours asking it to tell them jokes, random Pokémon facts and play all sorts of terribly catchy songs.
What’s the upside?
Despite the huge challenge of trying to balance 2 working parents and home-schooling 2 boys, I still have to say the extended time with the family has been great. We have renovated the garage into an extra playroom and home gym, set up a home cinema and got really into Lego challenges, thanks to lockdown coinciding with Lego Masters on TV.
MediaMath has been incredibly supportive of managing all global offices working from home. Arranging weekly all-hands meetings and commercial “workout sessions” to keep everyone motivated and across evolving opportunities to solve challenges for our clients.
Oh, and having the dog hang out next to me as I strive to keep clients informed of all the latest solutions to reach their customers. He will be distraught when all this is over, but we have loved hanging out with him more.
As a parent, it was really hard to maintain focus on work while worrying if the kids are actually learning anything.
I have also really missed face to face meetings and industry events. While I have attended several well put together virtual events, nothing beats the opportunity to uncover new opportunities and keep in touch with industry partners, that real-world events provide.
How are you using the commuting time saved?
We work with a lot of teams based in the US. So, during the time usually spent commuting in the morning, I have found more time to jump on calls with our product teams in New York. MediaMath has also arranged a lot of knowledge sharing sessions with our data and tech partners across the globe, so I have been levelling up my understanding of some of the exciting new solutions we can offer our clients.
Have also got very good at judging Minecraft building competitions and playing Exploding Kittens, an insanely fun card game, that has helped reduce screen dependence in our house.
Tips for making WFH work?
If you are balancing WFH with a family or partner at home, talk to each other about schedules and try to respect the importance of each of your work commitments.
Set up a rota of who gets to use of private space, if you have one, and who takes the dual role of worker & teaching assistant for the kids.
If you have one, get out and walk the dog to break up the day. Kept me from going insane and provided a great distraction from all the zoom calls.
I am looking forward to being back in the office because …
Those little chats that end up in major new ideas and problem solving just cannot be replicated over slack and zoom. Neither can office drinks, games and finding out what mood you are in via the MediaMath emotion spinner. While video call quizzes and the odd shared pickleback have been great for connecting, nothing beats spending proper time in person with colleagues, clients and industry partners.
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