The following is the fifth volume of our series, Work vs. the World. For a few more weeks, I will continue to interview individual team members about their work and how work and life are being affected by current events. As local governments continue to phase out stay-at-home orders, I aim to explore what it is like to be a part of the advertising industry in 2020 -- life at home, life at work, and life when “at work” means at “home.”
This is Rockit Science Agency’s second week back in the office post-stay-at-home orders. I recently sat down with Amy Crawford, Account Director, to hear about her experience working in advertising, in and out of the office. Amy is responsible for overseeing all of our accounts and managing both internal and client budgets.
Before stay-at-home orders were enacted, Amy optimized each day at work with routines of client-centered prioritization and efficiency. She says, “I started my day with coffee, of course, then reviewed new emails and made a list of tasks for my day. Once I had a general outline of what my day would look like, I read advertising publications and articles on our clients’ industries. Looking ahead, I reviewed upcoming deadlines on current projects and met with team members assigned to those tasks. Throughout the day, I prepared for and participated in client meetings (held in-person). Before leaving the office, I organized and prioritized items to go over the next day.” Since our clients are so wonderfully diverse, she has made a habit of keeping up with many different industry-specific news outlets. For advertising and general business news, she reads the Daily Report by the Business Report, Ad Age, and Adweek.
Self-isolating did change what a typical day would look like for Amy. “Well,” she begins, “to state the obvious, I saw far fewer people.” Whereas a typical day at the office would be filled with in-person meetings, while working from home, Amy and her team met together - as well as with clients - via phone and video conferences. During “quarantine,” she missed being surrounded by the company’s culture and various social interactions among our team. To continue fostering our team’s connectedness from home, we held a few “gatherings” via the House Party app, but video conferencing is not a substantial substitute for face-to-face interaction. Amy says that she is glad to be able to see everyone in the office and that she looks forward to the day when she is also able to see our clients in-person again.
From home, she continued to begin her day with a cup of coffee, but in more comfortable clothes and with extra time for breakfast with her daughter Caroline, who is home from college. Amy emphasizes that despite the inconveniences and limitations of quarantine, she was glad to spend more time appreciating her home. Amy and her husband planted a garden, tried new recipes with her family, and completed minor projects around the house. Amy found that while she enjoys the fast-paced work life, she also loved the slower pace of home life. However, perhaps most importantly, she learned the value of growing vegetables in soil rather than in a heartless hydroponic garden (that one’s for you, Kyle).
According to Amy, her day actually became more consistent as she stayed in one place. “This also afforded me the opportunity to organize in a different way,” she explains, because during quarantine, “I was able to focus more closely on things that don’t typically get as much attention. As much as I am glad to be back with my team in our office, I’m thankful for the opportunity to refine my time-management abilities.” Without a designated desk area at home, Amy had nearly infinite flexibility to sit wherever and however she liked. She found herself more focused and more productive when standing at her kitchen island. Amy has maintained this “quarantine-induced habit” during our transition back to the office with a standing desk at her workspace.
As a leader -- physically in the office or while working from her kitchen island -- Amy’s first priority is ensuring that our team has everything we need. As someone who considers herself (and is considered by others) Type-A, Amy struggled slightly to fight the urge to micromanage during our unexpected leave from the office. However, she says that, “with the people at Rockit, micromanagement is completely unnecessary. They performed as efficiently as always, and I’m confident that if we return to working from home, they will continue to exceed my expectations. I’m so grateful to work with such an awesome team!”
Amidst the uncertain nature of the virus, Amy says that she is cautiously optimistic about our ability to remain physically at work now that we’ve come back. Quarantine has given her a greater appreciation for our time in the office where we are able to collaborate on projects together in person. “Regardless of what we might prefer,” Amy guarantees me, “the agency will always act in the best interest of our clients and our team.” Fortunately, now more than ever, our office is well-positioned to resume work from home operations should that be necessary to protect our health and protect the health of our community.