AdNews brings the stories of those working from home (WFH) in the advertising and media industry during the coronavirus crisis.
Roxanne Millar is general manager at Bastion Effect and Bastion China.
How are you dealing with the silence?
The silence is deafening! My first ‘real’ job was as a journalist so I came up in a newsroom sitting in front of the squawking police scanner and spending my days running all over the countryside with a photographer in pursuit of a story, so being chained to a desk has never been natural for me. Being at home is tough! I’ve tried some music in the background but my partner requires quiet when he’s editing (he has a videography business). When it started to feel like the back fence was getting closer to the house, I started going back into the office a few days a week. There are a couple of people in there and just being at a proper desk a few days a week with real-life human colleagues who don’t want to sit on your keyboard or squeak their toy all day makes all the difference!
What’s the upside?
Seeing just how well everyone in our team have come together to support each other and our clients makes me so proud. Our teams are definitely closer in many ways, but it’s also worth noting how this period has deepened our connection with our clients and agency friends. We have always looked at clients as partners and it feels truer than ever. I love how the agencies we regularly collaborate with have been so supportive – everyone is looking out for each other. When the times get tough people’s true colours shine through, and for us that has been nothing but positive.
This moment has also presented an opportunity to completely reinvent the way we work – nothing is off the table and we are looking at a range of ways to deliver greater flexibility and retain the good stuff that comes with remote working. It has been a lot of fun discussing that with our teams and understanding what their personal priorities are outside of the office.
Also can’t lie…on the personal front I am loving ugg boots instead of heels and that my dog knows who I am these days
Not being able to meet in person some of the new clients we have picked up over this period has been a truly strange experience. I’ve also personally wrestled with being stuck at a desk most of the time – every so often I have seriously unproductive days where I feel like I just shuffle things from A to B then back to A. In a world where I have always been so laser focused, I sometimes feel so distracted and rudderless. I pride myself on being hugely productive so I beat myself up about that, which probably doesn’t help!
I also think in some ways working remotely slows down the resolution of some simple problems. When I could usually catch someone in the office between meetings for a quick chat, some days we now play endless hours of phone tag. I like to move quickly, patience is not a strong suit.
How are you using the commuting time saved?
I am loving being able to get out on much longer runs where I can immerse myself in the outdoors and get home in time for dinner. Finishing work a couple of hours early a couple of days a week is something I definitely want to retain once we’re allowed back in the office. Running makes me a better human and my relationship is better when I’m not zombie crashing into the couch after a long day.
I’d like to say my dog is getting more walks but he’s bone lazy and COVID-19 hasn’t changed that.
I am looking forward to being back in the office because…
Spoiler alert, I have been going back a couple of days here and there. The change of scenery is awesome, as is listening to music in the car (I missed driving my car), grabbing lunch at a local café and seeing familiar faces still employed. Seeing the few people who are also popping into the office is brilliant – they’re like long lost friends when they show up – and the ad hoc convos make you so productive, creative, excited by life…you get a lot more out of the day. Definitely looking forward to seeing more people when it’s safe and cool to do so!
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