They may not have chosen to work from home, but PROs are finding there are many upsides. Here they share how they are making the most of this time of confinement.
Have a laugh
Jennifer Wright, head of group marketing at agency BlueSky PR: “The BlueSky PR team are fully embracing working from home and have been sharing some of our photos both on social media and with each other each day in order to stay connected and have some fun during this challenging time. We’ve been enjoying the company of pets, who want to try their hand at PR, and taking advantage of the sunshine views across our gardens. We’ve been having not only productive, but morale-boosting, daily video calls with each other and shared some light-hearted mug humour.”
Use social media to connect
Rida Oyebade, consultant at digital influence and PR agency JIN: “As digital marketers, we believe that social networks and technology are essential links to cherish during this period. Thanks to the internet, we have been able to maintain connections with our colleagues. We have a digital calls, lunch, drinks on House Party (the app) and even e-yoga classes every Monday.
“In the UK, we are a team of five and one of our team members is working remotely from their family home in Lisbon (hence the colourful view). Not only do we get to enjoy great views, but we’re also able to stay close to our loved ones whilst remaining united with our team online.”
Vikki Mickel, CFO, London at PR firm Ketchum: “Being at home is giving me the time to get outside on my bike before breakfast and the crowds of (one hopes) social distancing families in Bushy Park.”
Walk away from the desk
Hollie Abbott, senior account executive at agency Firefly Communications: “For me, working from home has made me appreciate lunchtime walks the most. In the office in London, I would always choose to sit in the communal areas listening to podcasts or reading a book, but since I’ve been working from home, I’ve made the effort to take a stroll in the nearby park on my own every lunchtime. Not only has it improved my step count whilst working from home, it’s also been good for me mentally, helping me to feel refreshed and focused in the afternoon. When you work in London, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and we forget that simple things, like walking at lunchtime, are so important for our health and wellbeing. It’s definitely something that I’ll continue to do, even once I’m back in London.”
Boost your dopamine levels
Anna Lapacz, account co-ordinator at PR agency Red Lorry Yellow Lorry: “It’s only been a week of working remotely, but I can already see that it has greatly influenced my mental health. With commuting out of my morning routine, I can sleep a little bit longer, have a decent breakfast and a nice walk to a nearby forest – as opposed to squeezing on the 07:24 train to London. Then, with my dopamine levels at an all-time high, I feel more creative and focused – which is highly desired from PR professionals in times of uncertainty. I even take some calls in the garden, where the only disruptions are frogs in a pond and a bit of sunshine on my face!”
Enjoy more family time
Sally Maier-Yip, managing director of China/Asia luxury PR and comms agency 11K Consulting: “As a mother of two young boys, working from home has been a positive experience for me AND my boys, though admittedly with challenges too. Here is a photo of me and my four-year-old son learning Chinese and drawing based on a Chinese book together during my lunch break today. I always wanted to teach my son Chinese and now I can take advantage of my breaks to do this with him. It has been going well! In our Chinese culture, we believe each crisis lays an opportunity, and this is one of the many new opportunities for me by working from home. Others include teaching my sons how to bake and how to show compassion for others by practising social distancing.”
Alison Dyson, head of strategic communications at financial services agency Marketing Alpha Partners: “My happy pic is my daughter and son doing the free live streamed, Joe Wicks, 30 min PE lesson this morning. As the first day of the children being off school, it’s fair to say we were all feeling a little trepidation. 30 sweaty minutes later (me, the kids weren’t even a little bit shiny) our moods were boosted and we were all happy to start the day.”
Take joy in small things
Kat Jackson, associate director at agency Franklin Rae PR: “Here’s our team working from home views. Lunch is beating the paste floppy pre-packed sarnies some of us used to have, and there are doggie assistants as well as the odd Toy Story extra...”
Make a gratitude list
Jessica Pardoe, PR executive at agency The Source PR: “Though it’s not the ideal situation, we’re well suited to home working at The Source. I miss the office, but to keep myself grounded during these crazy times, I’m trying to list five positive things every day to be grateful for, all five of mine today relate to the upsides of working at home: 1. This morning I took a walk to feed the ducks; 2. No crazy commute; 3. Sun is shining through my window on to my desk; 4. My skin is thriving from not wearing make-up; 5. Google Hangouts is keeping us well connected and conversed. These are scary times, but there are definite benefits to working at home that we should all hold on to.”
Improve your diet
Rebecca Peel, PR and content strategist at agency Hallam: ““The biggest benefit to working from home is getting to cook my lunch every day and have things like shakshuka that I’d never normally have – it’s probably made my diet (and my purse) a bit healthier as I’m not constantly buying meal deals.
“It’s also great to work with my boyfriend as we work in different rooms so we don’t disturb each other, but can check in on each other so we don’t go crazy from the silence.
“Another thing myself and my colleague have done is put a diary invite every day at lunch to remind us to get up and stretch, I’m hoping by the end of this self isolation I’ll finally be able to touch my toes!”
Spend quality time with pets
Eva Cheng, digital PR executive at marketing agency AGY47: “One reason working from home works for me is I get to have the company of my dog, Pan Pan. He encourages me to take my lunch break and to get out the house when it's time to take him out on a walk. This really helps me clear my head and take a timeout from my screen."
Rachel Knight, account director at PR agency Maxim: “Personally, I’m incredibly lucky to have a kitchen table that overlooks the garden and the sunshine is really helping at the moment. I also get to spend a lot more time with Alice – who is usually our office dog – although she can’t quite understand why I’m not giving her as much attention as she thinks she deserves. Getting out for a lunchtime walk with her is also a bonus.”
Chris Lee, found of agency Eight Moon Media: “My cat (Luna – pictured) is quite used to me working from home, as I do it two to three days a week typically, anyway. But she likes to sleep on my leg when I do!
We have been keeping entertained outside of work time – a tweet of me and her playing ‘cat cricket’ went viral last weekend – nearly two million views now!”
I’ve invented a game of “cat cricket”.— Chris Lee 👨🏻💻🇪🇺 (@CMRLee) March 14, 2020
🏏My cat has to defend the box from my ping pong ball.
🏏If the ball hits the cardboard, that’s a point to me. 🤷🏻♂️
🏏If she bats it away that’s a point to her. 😺
First to ten wins. 🙌🏼
Just look at that leg glance... 🏏 #Caturday pic.twitter.com/FBAUGYbND2
Gareth Butters, senior producer at creative content agency TVC: “Why working from home works for me.... Honestly? It's because I roll out of bed at 9.20am, make a cuppa and am sat looking at emails and work by 9.30am It's heaven for someone who is not a morning person (some say lazy?!). I'm really enjoying that I can do little household chores throughout the day that are usually waiting for me at the end of the day, but most of all I like that I get to spend all day with my cat as my co-worker – although he's fuming that I'm home on his time.”
Josephine Ornago, consultant at agency OutspokenPR: “I wanted to share a couple of pics of quarantine in Lombardy where even going out for a walk is now banned. Kids are being home schooled via internet lessons and afternoons are out in the garden with man’s best friend (aka Bubu).”
It can get lonely being at home without the office banter, which is why it is vital to connect to others in any way you can. And if you do have others in your home, animal or human, make the most of this extra time you have with them. Stay safe!
To read more about working at home, here an agency leader describes how to run a successful virtual agency.
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