One of our goals for The Message over the next few (very unusual) weeks is to try to turn social distancing into a shared experience across the entire industry. To that end, we created the Quarantine Diaries.
We’ve been sending out questionnaires asking people to tell us everything from their best working from home habit (and their worst) as well as their go-to selections for books, music and TV.
We’ll be updating the list as long as the situation lasts, and we’ve also incorporated a Spotify playlist that we’re adding to with each submission (see below). Anyone interested in sharing their own diaries with us, contact either David Brown or Chris Powell.
Shane Rodak, DentsuBos (top photo)
Have you developed any good habits about working from home? I’ve been on time for work almost every single day.
Any bad habits? There have been a few days where I put on socks but not pants. Not sure what the thinking is behind it exactly. But hey, you know what they say: Dress for the job you want.
Favourite quarantine meal? Eggs.
Piece of advertising that can always make you laugh… Any ad in the last two weeks with a “social distancing” version of a famous logo. Truly clever and original every time!
Thing you miss most about the office… Free coffee.
What books are you reading? Loving it? Hating it? I’m reading Seven Habits of Highly Effective People five pages at a time before accidentally falling asleep, waking up, and re-watching old episodes of 30 Rock. Highly recommend.
Any TV, Netflix or streaming recommendations? Old episodes of 30 Rock.
What song best represents your current state of mind? Or what is on your quarantine playlist? “Torn,” Natalie Imbruglia.
Advice you’d give yourself six months from now… All of the toilet paper in the world can’t buy you happiness.
Any technology challenges/triumphs? I had a small fire in my oven that singed the front of my hair off. Not really quarantine-related, but now I have nowhere to get it fixed for the next few months.
Nadia Beale, MSL
Have you developed any good habits about working from home? Starting my day earlier, but inserting a daily healthy habit off the top. I have been supporting independent health and wellness instructors and doing their Insta live classes in the mornings.
Any bad habits? Too much sitting with bad posture. With no access to Osteo or RMT, I’m starting to feel the effects of sitting cross-legged all day!
Favourite quarantine meal? Does Hello Fresh Count?
Piece of advertising that can always make you laugh… Okay, it’s not an ad. But what gets me every time is that video of the guy being interviewed by BBC news and his daughter barges in ready to play, followed by his baby who wheels himself into the office. The wife’s reaction is priceless! And honestly, this is real for many people working from home right now on video conference.
Thing you miss most about the office… our team live and in person! But we started a tradition of an all-staff connect twice a week, with a different theme. This week, we are doing a House party Mad Hatter theme. We spend time sharing our highlights of the week, what’s inspiring us and just keeping tabs on each other. Some of our teams are doing morning yoga together as well.
What books are you reading? Loving it? Hating it? Re-reading Radical Candor by Kim Scott. Bedtime reading is The Woo Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family. One minute you are laughing and the next you feel a gut punch for this family.
Any TV, Netflix or streaming recommendations? Netflix: Giri Haji, from the BBC, a Yakuza thriller and love story rolled into one. And reruns of Insecure to put a smile on my face.
What song best represents your current state of mind? Or what is on your quarantine playlist? Our MSL WFH Spotify Playlist—it’s got everything from the Bee Gees to Childish Gambino. And Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast “Revisionist History.” Brilliant!
Advice you’d give yourself six months from now… You know those times you didn’t want to go out and instead stay at home? Don’t choose the stay home option ever again! You never know when you won’t be able to see your family, friends or co-workers.
Any technology challenges/triumphs? I would say more triumphs. It’s so great to see how connected we are. In some cases, ironically, we are even more connected now. Because of social distancing, I’m seeing so much more kindness in people reaching out more often and checking in on each other. I’m also looking forward to seeing how our social distance has helped us be more creative and innovative… whether to keep each other motivated or to problem solve.
Victor Davoine, Wunderman Thompson
Have you developed any good habits about working from home? Taking real breaks (aka no phone) to spend time with my kid. As much as it’s difficult to adjust your day to work with a kid at home, it’s also an amazing thing to be able to spend more time with him. I’ve also enjoyed doing more cooking, slow style—taking the time after work to cook new meals from scratch.
Any bad habits? The fridge is way too close and way too full…
Any TV, Netflix or streaming recommendations? Abstract: The Art of Design, Explained and Chef’s Table.
What song best represents your current state of mind? Or what is on your quarantine playlist? “I’ve Got to Get Away,” by John Holt.
Advice you’d give yourself six months from now… Be patient. Find your rhythm. Understand that finding a balance between work life and personal life will be key to go through this crisis. And acknowledge that not everyone is living this situation the same way—be empathetic.
Any technology challenges/triumphs? Thank you, Internet.
Laura Mahon, Naked Creative Consultancy
Have you developed any good habits about working from home? Yes, thankfully! I’ve had two knee surgeries and still have pain issues. I do F45 and go to physio to help with it, but I’m awful at actually doing the knee exercises I’m meant to be doing at home. So much so that I lie to my physio about how I’m getting on with them on a bi-weekly basis. Embarrassing, I know. Well, turns out working from home is amazing for it—I use them as an excuse to take breaks.
Any bad habits? Checking the news too frequently, although I’ve managed to keep it in check the last couple of days. Beyond that, probably just the unbridled attachment I now have to excessively comfortable clothes—I haven’t worn anything with a button or zip in weeks!
Favourite quarantine meal? I have been cooking and baking like crazy so it’s hard to choose. But if I had to pick, I made a fantastic butter shrimp and garlic naan all from scratch at the weekend. I was pretty impressed with myself.
Piece of advertising that can always make you laugh… I mean, it’s not advertising but I watched that “Hi Stranger” video from a couple of years back again last night (below) and it was still hilarious. Always enjoy Newscastle Brown Ale stuff too.
What books are you reading? Just finished The Testaments by Margaret Atwood and currently on The Story of Before by Susan Stairs. I’m going to dip back into some Haruki Murakami when I’m finished the current book.
Any TV, Netflix or streaming recommendations? Tiger King on Netflix is a standout. It’s such a wild story. Late to the game on it, but Mr. Robot is amazing. If you’ve never seen them, check out Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime, Australian prison drama Wentworth on Netflix, and an Irish crime drama called Taken Down, which I think is also available on Starz. Oh and I suppose we need humour too? In that case Big Mouth, Derry Girls and Sex Education on Netflix and all-time classic, The Simpsons on Disney+ (S06 EP15 for all the lols).
What song best represents your current state of mind? Or what is on your quarantine playlist? I cannot recommend ’70s disco or afro funk like Fela Kuti or ESA enough for these trying times.
Scott Knox, ICA
Have you developed any good habits about working from home? Taking breaks from my desk, which is a 19th century ship’s desk not really built for sitting at for hours on end since it’s a bit low. So, I’m sitting down for shorter periods than in the office.
Any bad habits? Eating. My husband is a baker (Mr.Mom’s Kitchen) and makes the most amazing breads and cakes, that normally I avoid and the kids get to first. I’ve put on eight pounds! The remedy is obvious—don’t weigh myself.
Favourite quarantine meal? The weekend breakfast: sausage, eggs, mushrooms, bacon, baked beans and freshly baked bread, with a cup of tea. Very British.
Piece of advertising that can always make you laugh… Irn Bru’s parody of The Snowman.
Thing you miss most about the office… I could say my team, but I’d have to add my view—the 30th floor of 2300 Yonge St, looking towards the CN Tower and the lake. Lovely.
What books are you reading? Loving it? Hating it? I’m not. To be honest I don’t enjoy reading books. Having done a history degree, reading so much took the fun out of it. I’m an audiobook fan, love autobiographies, especially those read by the author.
Any TV, Netflix or streaming recommendations? Obviously Apple’s The Morning Show. Amazing. Unbelievable on Netflix, Westworld on Crave. To go back in time, though, you can’t beat Greys Anatomy and a good giggle with The Simpsons via Disney+.
What song best represents your current state of mind? Or what is on your quarantine playlist? I am finding ’80s 12″ singles really uplifting, Human League, Duran, Culture Club, Madonna, Michael Jackson. Love it!
Advice you’d give yourself six months from now… Community is everything and don’t forget it.
Any technology challenges/triumphs? Getting 118 agencies to talk to each other on Zoom, creatives one day, media the next, production, planners—everyone needs to talk and share.
Darren Marranca, Fuse
Have you developed any good habits about working from home? I actually go out for walks WAY more now. I’d say about 95% more than I used to. I try to get out twice a day. It’s funny, we moved to our neighbourhood last September but never really walked through it. I suppose it’s good practice, seeing as we’ll be getting a dog next week (his name is Harry).
Any bad habits? All. The. Snacking. I’ve never snacked more in my life.
Favourite quarantine meal? We’ve actually managed to still stay pretty true to our usual meals. We like to buy things fresh every week, but I suppose we’ve stocked up a bit more since *whispers*…The Great Panic. We’re making homemade chicken soup tonight. Pretty stoked for that.
Piece of advertising that can always make you laugh… There’s this amazingly epic Super Bowl commercial starring Will Ferrell for Old Milwaukee. I won’t give away the commercial, but it’s just so dumb and perfect, I howl every time I watch it.
Thing you miss most about the office… Talking with people face to face for sure. And office dogs.
What books are you reading? Loving it? Hating it? I literally just finished World War Z by Max Brooks. And no, reading it was not a coincidence.
Any TV, Netflix or streaming recommendations? I saw the other day that Adult Swim was streaming Metalocalypse… then went to watch it and sadly, it “wasn’t available in my region.” Other than that, we just watched Dante’s Peak, and Twister is next on the list. (’90s disaster movies FTW.)
What song best represents your current state of mind? Or what is on your quarantine playlist? I’ve been jamming to some new records I bought B.C. (Before Covid) like Nimrod by Green Day and Take Off Your Pants and Jacket by Blink 182. Maybe there’s a nostalgia trend subconsciously going on in my brain right now that comforts me in these weird, uncertain times.
Advice you’d give yourself six months from now… Always have extra toilet paper on hand. Always.
Any technology challenges/triumphs? I’ve officially mastered Zoom. So much so, that I’ll be hosting my bday party next weekend on it with all my peeps.
Natacha Araujo, Fuse
Have you developed any good habits about working from home? I think I’ve developed more ideas of good habits vs. actually implementing them. But I’m getting better at implementing them (i.e. going for runs, stretching, at-home workouts, stepping away from the computer/TV from time to time). I have taken this free time to really step up my skin-care routine though.
Favourite quarantine meal? Breakfast food! All the goodness that usually comes with a breakfast meal (bacon, eggs, home fries) but for lunch/dinner instead. Its quarantine—there are no rules. Also, wine. That’s considered a snack, right?
Thing you miss most about the office… Definitely the socializing. I find myself missing the social aspect that comes with going into the office every day and joking around with my colleagues. Video calls are great, but not the same.
Any TV, Netflix or streaming recommendations? I signed up for Crave and found it has such a good selection that Netflix does not provide. I started Game of Thrones (long overdue) and have also been binge watching Californication and Sex and the City, both of which I highly recommend.
Advice you’d give yourself six months from now… Do not take invitations to social events for granted. Next time friends invite you out for a drink, ACCEPT IT. It really takes isolation to make you think about all the times you could have socialized, and you chose to go home instead.