Brownstein Group implemented a work from home policy two weeks ago, and a recent survey of the agency shows how the team has been adapting to their new home offices and work routines. The results: more coffee, more exercise, more time with family and pets — things which don’t sound all that awful considering the circumstances.
However, we have also found some clever ways team members are adapting to their new routines to keep delivering strong work for our clients and partners. Here are a few tips from your colleagues at Brownstein Group on how to stay healthy, focused, and creative working from home.
Compartmentalize and structure (in a way that works for you)
Of all the patterns that came up in the recent survey of the agency, one stood out the most: the need to compartmentalize, to create space and time for work and leisure. How this plays out in each case varies from person to person.
Brett Samuels, Senior Account Planner, suggests keeping as close as possible to one’s pre-social distancing routine. “I get up at my regular time, shower, get dressed, and then ‘commute’ up to my makeshift home office in the loft,” he says. “My husband has an office on a lower level, so we can work and have calls without disturbing one another, then eat lunch together at noon and return to our separate spaces later.”
“I’ve designated my dining room table as my work and critical thinking zone,” says Ben Kripke, Senior Brand Strategist. “I am not using it for anything else, therefore compartmentalizing by ensuring this is exclusively a work zone.”
Aimee Cicero, PR Events Manager, has a different, and clever, approach to compartmentalizing: “I try and switch working locations twice a day so it gives me two segments,” she says. “From early morning through lunch I’m at the dining room table, and then in the afternoon, when the sunlight is coming through my front window, I switch to the couch so the sun is shining on me.”
Find Opportunities to be Healthier
Another important aspect of keeping the energy and momentum of the agency has been promoting fitness and health. Nick Bailey, Account Planner, is an experienced personal trainer and cycling instructor, and is currently leading Zoom home workouts for the agency. So far, the exhausting exercises have proven an effective way to jumpstart any day.
Other people at the agency are taking the opportunity of working from home to focus on their health, and nearly everyone reported taking daily walks outside for mental breaks and to take a breath of fresh air. Marc Brownstein, President and CEO, says he takes many of his calls now while taking long walks around the neighborhood or while riding his stationary bike. “I keep it interesting by not staying still!” He says.
“I have been walking and running a lot in the morning, lunchtime, and even after work,” says Stephanie Zuzeck, Sr. Accountant. “I might be very fit by the end of quarantine!”
Tom Cristino, Sr. Account Executive, wanted to ensure nobody forgets an essential part of the day. “Two words: eat breakfast!” he said. “Now that I’m working from home, no more ‘on the run’ type breakfasts. I’ve been cooking nutritious meals each morning: eggs, bacon, protein smoothies, hash browns, vitamins, a glass of orange juice. I even whipped up a recipe I learned on my honeymoon (gallo pinto) which is a rice and beans dish – pura vida!”
Uncover moments of humanity
Despite the need for social distancing, many people at Brownstein Group have found that staying at home offers different kinds of social experiences that are worth examining. If anything, the experience has uncovered ways of understanding each other better.
At home, many of us are peering into the professional lives of our loved ones, while in our countless video conferences, we often get glimpses of the private worlds of our coworkers.
Terry Dukes, VP and Director of Client Services, enjoys a glass of wine with her husband after the end of the work day, and takes walks with her daughter in the mornings. Last week, her grandsons made a stop by her porch to wave and say hello.
Others also reported finding encouragement and inspiration from spending more time with their kids and pets at home — Matt Rondos, Designer, refers to his cat as his new “creative director.” To keep up our regular office socializing, the agency has also taken the opportunity to use video conferencing to host trivia nights and happy hours.
Nonetheless, working during this transitional period has proven to be a massive undertaking, and the opportunity to be able to continue working while supporting social distancing efforts is not lost on the team. “First and foremost, I’m grateful to have the ability to work from home and stay healthy” says Laura Emanuel, VP and Director of Public Relations. “Not everyone has that luxury. So while working from home is a little weird to get used to, I start each day with a moment of gratitude.”
Gary Greenberg, VP and Executive Creative Director, also noted that he is out of bagels. If anyone can find a way to send some his way, please do.