The WFH Diaries - Rochelle Ritchie at Hotwire Australia

By AdNews | 3 July 2020

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

Rochelle Ritchie is content director at Hotwire Australia.

How are you dealing with the silence?
So much of what we do at Hotwire involves collaboration on creative projects, engaging the team or sharing project updates with clients. When there is downtime, or I’m focusing on content development, I’ve made a point to fill my day with music.

I’m a big believer that music sets the mood for an environment – so I’m using my time at home to work through my favourite mixes and playlists. At the moment, I’m liking this one and this one, in particular. Setting ambiance and a mood for your work environment is important, so I’m also trying to keep a clean desk.

Out of hours, I’m filling the silence with podcasts. We have a great podcast slack channel that I go to for inspiration. On heavy rotation is The Daily, HBR IdeaCast, On Being, Pod Save America and The Tim Ferriss Show. I recently listened to a great episode by Tim Ferriss on the benefits of listening to music while working, and using music as a mental separation for the day. I find that listening to certain music during work hours and other music outside of that helps me maintain a more honest separation between my study and lounge room.

What’s the upside? 
While this isn’t effective for everyone, I’m enjoying giving my activewear a workout. Hotwire has always had a Thoughtful Working policy, which allows the team to deliver from anywhere. In a lot of ways, the team hasn’t been overly impacted by the change of scenery. I love the flexibility of a work from anywhere approach and the team has been encouraged by the trust and level of output since we moved to working from home three months ago.

I would say the lack of commute time (which I now use to exercise) and no longer having ongoing requests from being office DJ would have to be up there as positives.

The downside?
After starting at Hotwire earlier this year, I was only in the office for two weeks before we moved home. Luckily my induction was so thorough, and it didn’t feel unusual to jump on Zoom or Slack and call anyone in the team (both in Australia and internationally).

What I miss the most are the in-person brainstorms – exploring ideas in-person (versus online) and being able to value-add to creative projects that other team members are working on. I enjoy being across everything that’s happening in the wider team (spanning strategy, communications and creative services) which now involves scanning slack channels, instead of walking over to a friend.

How are you using the commuting time saved?
Since working from home, I’ve placed a greater focus on exercise. Everyone in the team is encouraged to work during the hours that best suit them – ensuring that they’re online when they’re most productive. For me, this means starting every day with a long walk down to my favourite coffee shop. The walk itself takes me out of the house for an hour and a half and clears my mind before I settle in for the day.

The second half of this time is spent with a lunchtime pilates class. I’ve found that moving throughout the day is the best way to shift thinking and encourage a different perspective.

I am looking forward to being back in the office because…
I miss in-person collaboration! Luckily, Hotwire has focused on maintaining the office morale even though we’re spread across Sydney. This has meant doing virtual sessions on passion projects, maintaining a weekly huddle with the wider team and regular Thirsty Thursday catch ups.

I’m looking forward to the ease of in-person conversations. Something you don’t miss until it’s gone.

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