In this collection we spoke to Agency Group Head, Steven Bedwell (SB), Head of Brand Marketing, Lucy McKillop (LM), and Client Partner, Colin Horan (CH).
What’s your WFH setup?
SB: Depending on nap time and feeding times for the girls (Maeve and Effie - our 7 month old twins), I’m either in the kitchen or holed up in the box bedroom in purgatory. So, whilst my back is in dire need of a proper work chair, moving between the two works quite nicely in breaking the day up. It also helps avoiding any more rollockings for being too loud on video calls and waking the girls up! The longer this goes on, the more I’ll have to invest in a desk over a garden shed - #dadlifeproblems.
LM: I work from my dining table in the kitchen. My husband Ed usually sits to the left of me, headphones on, listening to music and working away. Also usually sat or lying on the table is our anxious and over-indulged cat, Leelee, who generally spends his time sleeping, trying to attack, or attempting to sit on our keyboards. If I have a call / video chat, then I go through to the lounge. It’s quite peaceful in there, so sometimes I find myself staying in that room a bit longer.
CH: I live with my wife Elle and our fluffy ginger cat Rudie who has been truly embracing having his servants at home all day. We’re lucky enough to have a few different options of where we can set up and work. Our dining room is the central co-working hub where we tend to start the day, but as we both work in the same industry we tend to split off when we need more privacy. The kitchen has been the go-to for a quick video call, but the loft room has fast become a personal favourite for me when I need a bit more focus.
What are you enjoying the most about WFH?
SB: The main thing I think we should all enjoy and celebrate is how well the #PeopleBehindThePosters have come together and embraced this unprecedented change to working life. We often talk about the Clear Channel culture, and to see it shine through in times of adversity just goes to show strong it is. Otherwise, seeing my girls more (all three of them) has been incredible.
LM: At the beginning of 2020 I set the intention of giving more energy to my home life. So much time and energy goes into being at work, being away, or out with pals, that it felt like it was time to divert some towards my house and home. Little did I know exactly how much I’d be able to give it! I’m enjoying being able to do more to the house – I’ve taken to gardening daily, which is really satisfying. I know nothing about it so I’m essentially just chopping everything down and I’m going to start again.
CH: I miss being around other people in the office, but the introvert in me actually quite enjoys the relaxed environment of working from home. It gives me space to think and I’ve been able to finish off a few projects that had been lingering. Getting to choose the music is a huge bonus too. As well as a bit of 6 Music (which would usually get turned off in the office), I’ve been blasting through some classic albums that I’ve not listened to in full for years. I highly recommend Roni Size - New Forms from 1997 if you get the chance.
What are some of the challenges you’ve been facing?
Sb: Aside from the odd teething problem – both kids and tech, my main challenge is I miss seeing everyone. Anyone who works or visits our 2nd floor in Golden Square will know we aren't a bunch to whom ‘social distancing’ will ever come to naturally! Away from work, I am quite literally beside myself that there's no sport to look forward to both midweek and at the weekend. That said, being a Middlesbrough FC fan, it’s a slight reprieve from what's fast become a terrible season. I now also have no excuse not to go for ‘that’ run. Every cloud.
LM: As someone who has mental health issues, I’m not afraid to say that this period has been a bit of a minefield. It’s so easy to feel pressured to do loads of exercise or achieve EVERYTHING in one day. But if you have a duvet day and are wildly distracted by your phone, or you let your child watch “too much telly” (not enough intricate art projects / home-schooling) you can feel like you’re failing somehow. The challenge for me has been reminding myself that peaks and troughs happen in “normal life”, so they’re bound to happen in “corona life” too. Some days we’re going to feel inspired, full of energy and get loads done, some days we’re going to feel distracted and a bit meh – both are fine, neither are permanent.
CH: The back pain from not having a proper office chair is really kicking in now. The lack of variety is tough too. I’m fortunate that my job usually means I’m often out and about in different places, but now being pretty much desk based, I’m really starting to feel the fatigue of being sat in front of a screen all day.
What have you been doing with all that extra time not commuting?
SB: Time back to spend with the girls has been amazing. Distracting, but amazing. Paternity leave flew by, and having double trouble is tough going, so to be able to help my other half with feeds (as well as the odd nappy), has been great. Not least with easing the guilt that any Dads reading this no doubt feel/ felt spending so much time away from the little ones. Kids aside, it’s important to get a bit of time to yourself - particularly outdoors. I enjoy a bit of DIY (how times have changed), so I’m loving the chance to get the decking area finished in the garden ready for the summer.
LM: In our home (and I’m sure lots of homes) we rely heavily on routine to keep us feeling normal (feel like I’ve used that word too much, but you know what I mean). So I’ve been getting up at the usual time of around 7/7.30am, but instead of packing my son Sam off to breakfast club and racing to work, it’s a slower pace. He and I are having breakfast together, and a little chat about whatever he’s been thinking about, which usually involves niche Star Wars planets and characters, or 70s rock songs.
If he’s at his Dad’s I’m gifting myself a bit more time in bed, before I get up and get set for the working day.
CH: My commute is normally only around 20 minutes, so it’s not made a huge amount of difference, but the little bit of extra time means we enjoy a nice breakfast and coffee together each morning before we start work. In the evenings I like to do something to break up the working day, so I tend to use this time to do my daily exercise. Like a lot of people, I’ve taken up running.
Do you have any tips or advice you’d like to share?
SB: For me, planning my diary day to day helps ensure I’m taking breaks. Fresh air is key, as is keeping the banter going with friends and family. Keep talking. Keep talking. Keep talking! Speaking of which, I was introduced to the ‘Houseparty’ video calling app this week. Check it out if you’re like me and anything but down with the kids. You’ll otherwise have heard of it. It’s lots of fun and certainly keeps spirits high in the Bedwell household.
1. The first week was very much a mixed bag of emotions, I’m not going to lie. In week two I introduced the “commute walk”, which was a massive game changer. You leave the house and go for a walk around the block for at least 20-30 mins (ideally an hour) and treat it like your commute. Put your headphones in, listen to a podcast, or music, or whatever you’d usually do on the way to work.
2. The lockdown corona crisis memes are, in my opinion, genuinely one of the best things about this whole situation. Especially the WhatsApp voice notes about NASA and aliens, and Wembley Stadium being turned into a giant oven to make a huge lasagne. If you know, you know. A healthy dose of ridiculousness is medicine for the soul.
3. Hats make video chats way more fun.
CH: There’s a lot of talk about how people will use this time to do something incredible like writing a book or learn a language, which is of course great. But it’s important to highlight that it’s also OK to do the complete opposite. We all have super busy lives, and it’s rare to have been given an opportunity to take some time out and not feel guilty about not filling every moment with something productive. One of my goals this year was to do less, and to learn to be comfortable with doing nothing. I find it tough, but now is the time to take a moment to appreciate the simpler things in life.