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Stretchy Pants, Showers and Other Observations About Working from Home

Working from home indefinitely – that sounds fun: Work in my stretchy pants every day, pass over the daily shower and consistently eat snacks. That sounds like heaven! At least it did until March 19, exactly three days after we were ordered to work from home thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. I can see where there may be some industries that this is an easy transition – an advertising agency is probably not on that list.

In our fast-paced world of advertising, we are constantly collaborating and passing creative from person to person to get it from concept to end product. Virtually everyone touches it in some way, shape or form. How are we going to do that from the “comforts” of our own homes? Well, we were given that challenge and we figured it out!

Within hours of deciding to move things from desk to kitchen or coffee table, we had Microsoft Teams on everyone’s computer. We tested it and we were in – this will be easy, we thought. Then we have to have a creative meeting and only four people are showing on the video conference at once and if you don’t talk we will never see you – well, that’s another thing that isn’t going to work in a collaborative culture.

We love the way Teams works for everything else, but we cannot work like that in large meetings. How will we train everyone on a new platform after we finally got this one working? Back to the drawing board and in comes Zoom – this will allow us to see all of us at once. That integration worked well and has us able to work collaboratively with more than 4 people. We can also see and hear everyone’s dogs and small children climbing all over them during meetings. OK, we got this!

This is fun and I am so comfortable in my stretchy pants and easing into not leaving the house to go to work, but wait – how do we get work approved to move to the next phase of the creative process? Some people are sending it in email, some are messaging it through Teams, some are creating meetings. We needed to figure out how to translate our polished processes from the office to this remote environment and do it all while still pumping out the high level of creative and account management our clients are used to.

Finally, the processes have been amended to accommodate the remoteness of us all and we are clipping along, busy as ever and with happy clients. Luckily, we had Asana, our job management software, already in place to manage our projects or I don’t know how we could have done this!

I do look forward to the day that I see my colleagues without their glasses on, combed hair and pants that have buttons on. I really think we are going to be a better agency after all of this!