We’re now into the third week of working from home for most of the industry. By now you may have read some of our Quarantine Diaries, which, simply put, are an attempt to turn social distancing into a shared experience.
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’ve been publishing new volumes every few days, and we’ve incorporated a Spotify playlist that we’re adding to with each submission (see below).
Remember, you don’t have to be invited to share your diaries: we want to hear from all of you. Anyone interested in sharing their own diaries with us, contact either David Brown or Chris Powell.
Paul Burns, Twitter (top photo)
Have you developed any good habits about working from home? WFH Cribs. Kind of like the MTV show Cribs, but your colleagues give you a tour of their place: their WFH set up, what’s in their fridge, etc. It always, always delivers.
Any bad habits? Please lock my fridge.
Favourite quarantine meal? Do fig newtons count?
Piece of advertising that can always make you laugh… My go-to is No Name’s Twitter account (@nonamebrands)…one of the best!
Thing you miss most about the office… The Tweeps! #LoveWhereYouWork.
What books are you reading? Loving it? Hating it? Everybody, Always by Bob Goff. Such a life changer.
Any TV, Netflix or streaming recommendations? Two words: Tiger King.
What song best represents your current state of mind? Or what is on your quarantine playlist? “Use This Gospel,” Kanye West.
Advice you’d give yourself six months from now… 100% Kindness, 0% Drama.
Any technology challenges/triumphs? Twitter to see what’s happening in the world. Slack to collaborate with the Tweeps. Hangouts/Zoom for meetings—video turned on people, c’mon. Let’s see those smiling faces!
Ryan McNeill, Grey
Have you developed any good habits about working from home? I’m quicker to answer emails, does that count?
Any bad habits? I’ve found it a bit of a curve to focus when it comes to ideating. There is a lot to distract you. Family, TV, walking aimlessly around the house avoiding the only thing you need to be doing. You can’t even get out and go to a café or bar. It’s had its challenges, but you learn to get into a new groove quite quickly.
Favourite quarantine meal? Grilled cheese with pickles for lunch. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Also, I’m getting in touch with my inner millennial and enjoying avocado toast for breakfast.
Piece of advertising that can always make you laugh… Not advertising, but there have been some really funny memes about working from home and isolation. This one is probably my favourite so far. I’ve watched it so many times and it makes me howl every time. Every time.
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This is one of the funniest things I've ever seen….and also stay-at-home mom lyfe in general. . . . . #jonathanfrakes #commanderriker #numberone #beyondbelieffactorfiction #coronavirus #covid2019 #humor #humour #workingfromhome #stayathomemom #stayathomemomlife #stayathomedad #parenting #parenthood #momlife #dadlife #homeoffice #quarantine #quarantinewithkids #kids #startrekthenextgeneration
Thing you miss most about the office… Getting out of the house. I’m never going to be grumpy about having to go into work again!
What books are you reading? Loving it? Hating it? Dracula, I picked it up a while ago and never read it. Now I’ve got more time to kill…
Any TV, Netflix or streaming recommendations? The Outsider is a great show. It’s like X-Files meets True Detective. Re-watching all 30 seasons of the Simpsons. I will admit, I had stopped watching after season 12 when I was younger, so at least 18 seasons are new to me.
I’ve also been watching a lot of pandemic movies lately: Contagion, Outbreak, 28 Days Later. Apparently, it’s not enough for me to be living through a global pandemic, I have to watch one unfold on TV as well.
What song best represents your current state of mind? Or what is on your quarantine playlist? The other night, my wife and I decided to play board games and have a few drinks. I ask Alexa to just play oldies; it was great. There’s something so calming and relaxing listening to oldies. It really helps when all you feel like doing is pulling out what little hair you have left because you’re cooped up in a house for over a week.
Advice you’d give yourself six months from now… Keep washing your hands.
Maxinne Abuyuan, Wunderman Thompson Canada
Have you developed any good habits about working from home?
One of the things I am grateful for during this time of self-isolation is that I have been more consistent with some healthy habits. I start my day with a morning “commute,” which consists of walking 30-60 minutes around empty streets in my neighbourhood. Then, throughout the day, when I have a 10-minute window, I might walk up a few flights of stairs in my condo stairwell. And I usually end my day with another “commute” to mark the end of the workday.
Any bad habits? Every day is leggings day. I have never been so grateful for all my black leggings. No matter what top I’m wearing for video calls, I’m definitely wearing leggings.
Favourite quarantine meal? Leftover salad: whatever we had last night, but on lettuce and cucumber.
Thing you miss most about the office… I miss the social aspect of the office, and the spur-of-the-moment discussions and debates that happen multiple times a day. From personal life stories to opinions on current events, the brilliant and funny people constantly keep things interesting. But we’re getting by on Teams and funny gifs.
What books are you reading? Loving it? Hating it? I am currently reading Feminasty by Erin Gibson and loving it. The dark humour used to communicate the garbage hand that women get dealt on a daily basis makes me want to laugh and cry.
Advice you’d give yourself six months from now… You’ve always been able to adapt to changing circumstances, find opportunities to thrive, and be empathetic to others. Now is the time to use your skills, support your team, and ask for help when you need it.
Any technology challenges/triumphs? We found a way to use Teams to play Jackbox.tv for a social bonding event. Social distancing doesn’t mean we stop being social with our teams.
Rod Reano, Bolt Content
Have you developed any good habits about working from home? Taking time to hang out with the team “after work” or during lunch as we would if we were still working in the office. It helps make things feel normal.
Any bad habits? I used to have a long commute to our office, so I was more strict about when I would sleep/wake up. Now I find that it’s hard to maintain that.
Favourite quarantine meal? Subway or pizza. Either are the ultimate comfort food.
Piece of advertising that can always make you laugh… The “Barely high is still too high to drive ads” from the Ontario government. The giggling man with spaghetti always gets me.
Thing you miss most about the office… Being around the dogs, going for coffee runs with the BOLT team and drinks at the office.
Any TV, Netflix or streaming recommendations? Succession, Dave, Train to Busan (it’s a little apocalyptic which might be too much at this time in our lives), and stand-up specials like Tom Segura, Chris D’Elia.
What song best represents your current state of mind? Or what is on your quarantine playlist? “Blue World” by Mac Miller.
Advice you’d give yourself six months from now… Eat less chips and make more time for bike rides and runs.
Any technology challenges/triumphs? I’m unfortunately quite a “boomer” when it comes to figuring out Google Hangouts. It’s a work in progress.
Whitney Milne, Virtue Worldwide
Have you developed any good habits while working from home? Managing time efficiently. As team resourcing has become increasingly more challenging to manage, I find meetings and video chat have become more efficient—people are pointed and communicate better during the allocated time because they have to!
We often fall into the trap of not making the most of our time together and this has been a good wake-up call. Also by reverting back to a minimal daily beauty routine, my skin, hair and nails have never been so healthy (with the exception of my shellac nails I had to remove myself last week… eek!).
Any bad habits? I have fallen victim to business on the top and sweatpants on the bottom—the fashion gods are not looking favourably on me.
It could also be that I’m eight-months pregnant and my regular jeans just don’t fit anymore, but I’m blaming COVID-19.
Favourite quarantine meal? Scrambled eggs. Monday to Friday, I never have time in the morning to make a hot breakfast but I’ve been getting used to a traditional eggs and toast routine with my husband every morning.
Thing you miss most about the office… My team and our clients! In order to infuse a jolt of human connection into the beginning of each day, our team has a standing video call where we bring our coffees and talk about what’s on the agenda but also what everyone is watching, reading, seeing in industry news. It’s my favourite part of my day. We also have weekly North American and global all-hands meetings and brainstorms for Virtue Worldwide.
We had 97 participants last week. It’s amazing to see our borderless agency come together for each other and our brand partners during this unprecedented time.
What song best represents your current state of mind? Fleetwood Mac radio is a favourite in our house but “Go Your Own Way” has a new meaning. Also “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer is solid gold right now.
Advice you’d give yourself six months from now? When things are back in full swing, remember to cherish the face-to-face time together—whether that’s with your family, friends, co-workers or clients. Oh, and properly invest in an office chair and desk at home.
Any technology challenges/triumphs? Our North American Virtue Slack channel has been going off since we started quarantine… if I ever need a pick-me-up, or want to see someone’s pet, I know where to go. I also have a new found love for Google Hangouts, Zoom, and House Party.
Lately, I’ve been really impressed by the fitness community adapting to digital at-home exercise. The best thing I saw recently was Ride Cycle Club, a spin studio here in Toronto, delivering their bike and shoes to people at home for a month to use alongside their livestreams and curated playlists. Genius!
Peter Shier, Naked
Have you developed any good habits about working from home? Have been getting up unusually early to write and meditate. The clarity of thought at that hour is cathartic. And limiting myself to news from The Globe & Mail at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. only.
Any bad habits? Distractions at home. I build model cars as a hobby/for therapy. I now have to put them out of sight during the day or I just get lost with them. About to start a 1977 Pinto kit. Used to own one so this will be fun.
Favourite quarantine meal? Staying out of grocery stores, so it’s staples from the freezer or pantry. Last night we made a duck confit ragu with penne that was so good. Might make it into the next Naked in the Kitchen cookbook.
Piece of advertising that can always make you laugh…In 2003 when I was president of FCB and we did a campaign for Ontario Tourism to try to get people to come to Toronto after SARS called Time For a Little T.O. We used Leslie Nielsen. We didn’t want the ads to be too flip but he was so bloody funny. And we sold over 450,000 tour packages, so we can rebound from this kind of event.
Thing you miss most about the office…Naked people. That’s my team at Naked, not what you were probably thinking. We have such a tight, smart, irreverent and funny group, it’s disheartening when we’re not together. I miss them.
What books are you reading? Loving it? Hating it? Just started to read Michael Pollan’s book How to Change Your Mind about the new science of psychedelics being used to treat depression, addiction etc. Very intriguing.
Any TV, Netflix or streaming recommendations? I miss hockey. Playing and watching.
What song best represents your current state of mind? Or what is on your quarantine playlist? Just listened to Dylan’s new 17-minute song. That man can write. Otherwise, tapping into the Spotify playlists from your other submissions. Advertising/marketing people have great taste in music. Most of the time.
Advice you’d give yourself six months from now… In 2011, I had cancer. Actually two kinds of cancer at the same time. After I finished up with my chemo and radiation, a friend said, “Well, it must be nice not to have to think about that any more.” Yeah, except every day.
So I just live my life as freely and purposefully as I can now. It will be the same with this pandemic. People will get throat tickles or a cough and think, “Uh-oh, Corona.” It’s probably not, but welcome to what life is like after cancer. Don’t live your life waiting. If you’re not happy with your station in life, make a change. If you want better then do better. Action not words.
Any technology challenges/triumphs? After I mastered changing my Zoom background I think I’m pretty much an IT professional now. I’ll have to add that to my resume.
Rachel McCready, Klick Health
Thing you miss most about the office… So many things! My chair. My door. My people. Having my desk a discouraging distance from snacks. The silver lining of physical distancing is realizing how lucky I am to have an office that I really love to go to.
What books are you reading? Loving it? Hating it? I just finally finished Less by Andrew Sean Greer. I set it aside several times before I caught its flow, but I kept coming back, because I figured the Pulitzer committee couldn’t be wrong. In the end, it was worth the effort.
Any TV, Netflix or streaming recommendations? Gotta stream Klick’s daily education sessions for my seven and nine-year-olds. Because we’re all grounded, Klick’s Travel team has taken on the task of keeping our kids educated and occupied. It’s as adorable as it sounds.
What song best represents your current state of mind? Or what
is on your quarantine playlist? “Let it Go” from Frozen. Karaoke version, on repeat.
Advice you’d give yourself six months from now… I don’t know what I will advise my future self (I hope she’s smarter than I am!), but I would tell my three-weeks-ago self to get an extra-short haircut.
Any technology challenges/triumphs? Eight hours a day of being “on TV” (aka Zoom) challenges my inner Narcissus.