How We Work During COVID 19: Socially Distant, Professionally Close

 By Gaby Doman

One of the coolest things about working for a digital agency is that we were able to move our work set-up quickly and fairly painlessly from our office to our homes. If we have our laptops and Wi-Fi, we are lucky enough that we can still do our jobs effectively. Our company sent out large monitors to any staff who needed them, saving eyesight and sanity. Yes, I miss the office espresso machine, but in theory, it’s non-essential for my job. 

Nicole created a cosy workspace at home with her monitor from the office

Let’s Zoom, Slack and Hangout

Teamwork really does make the dream work at FunkyCorp, so meetings are a big part of the typical day. To keep things running smoothly, we still have regular meetings, but, as with everything in these topsy turvy days, how we communicate has changed. 

To replace our espresso-fueled informal morning catch-ups in the office, we now have a 10 am video call on Google Hangouts. Morning video calls are an incredible motivator to get showered, and dressed in something presentable (at least on the top half). However, having embraced the lie-ins these calls have afforded us, I’m not sure how I will transition back to the early morning commute. 

These calls have meant we virtually invite our colleagues into our homes every morning. We’ve commented on the growing number of empty bottles Michael has on his kitchen sink, the artful towel Ben places on his hair every morning, the cat tail we see wafting past Matt’s face, and Erin’s colorful array of laundry. It’s at once intimate and impersonal. I miss the face-to-face. I also miss not having to worry about how tidy my apartment looks from various angles.

Finding a flexible work space

My boyfriend also works from home, so I hot desk between my sofa and a makeshift pillow-desk so that he has space to video call, too. It’s hard to look professional when you’re sitting cross-legged on your duvet. Some team members have kids who occasionally wander into shot, providing a welcome dose of levity; for them, it’s not about hot-desking so much as finding a quiet corner for a few minutes.

Every team member has nightly ‘goodbye’ Slack calls with their manager, too. During these calls, we can discuss the day’s work and anything we need to vent about. Working from home can stir up feelings, so it’s great to have a mental health check-in.

Getting funky with the whole team

To keep up with the team at large, we have an “all hands” Zoom meeting (we like to make full use of all the apps) every week. Pre-COVID-19, these would be monthly sessions with us all squeezed into the boardroom, but they’ve become a weekly staple to help replace some of the social interactions we miss now we’re not all in the same room. It’s fun to show up a few minutes early for some chat about how big Masato’s hair has gotten, hear Jeremy’s wisecracks and see what virtual Zoom backgrounds Kirsty and Teru have opted for. The calls are a balance of business and ridiculousness in the form of various quizzes (personal favorite: guess the colleague based on photos of items from their apartment). It helps us to feel less like we’re working in a vacuum and also works to foster that FunkyCorp camaraderie. Occasional Friday night virtual Trash Bar sessions also help with that…

Who’s zooming who?


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