The Quarantine Diaries 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 an incredibly eclectic Spotify playlist that we’re updating with each submission (see below).
Christine McClean, Nestlé Canada (one of her co-workers from home, above)
Have you developed any good habits about working from home? Eating dinner as a family—imagine! Typically, one of us is getting home from work late or we are racing in opposite directions to satisfy endless after-school activities.
Any bad habits? Eating, snacking, eating, snacking, eating snacking. Repeat. And who knew kids ate SO much? It’s constant!
Favourite Quarantine Meal? Whatever creates the least amount of clean-up and “negotiation” to finish.
Piece of advertising that can always make you laugh… I just saw the current Hotels.com creative with Captain Obvious self-isolating. Like it. Super simple. On message. On brand. The long-term game in mind.
Thing you miss most about the office… Aside from the people, I actually miss my 15-minute commute, which allows me to mentally prepare for the day ahead. Today, I was changing a diaper as my first conference call started.
What song best represents your current state of mind? Or what is on your quarantine playlist? I have a one-year old, a seven-year old and a nine-year old. Our home music oscillates between The Wiggles and Taylor Swift. Help.
Advice you’d give yourself six months from now… Appreciate the little things, wash your hands often, don’t sweat the small stuff… and make it home for dinner. It is important!
Ron Tite, Church+State
Have you developed any good habits about working from home? With a two-year-old and a one-month old (!) clogging up the WFH cubicle, I have mastered working in 45-second bursts. I relaxed my definition of “appropriate work attire,” and the presence of newborn spit-up on my shoulder has exponentially increased my authenticity.
Any bad habits? Is 37 meals a day defined as a “bad habit,” or just the new normal?
Favourite quarantine meal? Stoned Wheat Thins. By the crate.
Thing you miss most about the office… I get misty-eyed thinking about dropping by someone’s desk to simply exist less than two-metres away from their Personal Space Epicentre (PSE). I miss hearing the unique cadence of Robin “Walks with Purpose” Whalen’s footsteps across the Dufferin Liberty Centre’s (former) factory floor. Also, latte’s from Louie.
Piece of advertising that still makes you laugh. “Mike Mike Mike Mike Mike… what day is it, Mike?” Geico’s Hump Day is an easy go-to. E-trade’s “Monkey” still makes me smile with jealousy.
Any TV, Netflix or streaming recommendations? After the essentials (Tiger King, Ozark, Unorthodox, Homeland), do yourself a favour and head on over to YouTube and re-watch entire episodes of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
What song best represents your current state of mind? Or what is on your quarantine playlist?
Brandi Carlile’s cover of John Prine’s “Hello in There” is a gut-wrenching indication how alone some seniors must feel in all of this. Adam Levine’s solo(ish) version of “Memories” on Howard Stern is an unexpected (and depressing) treat. And Old MacDonald’s “E-I-E-I-O” is perfect for an impromptu toddler dance party. Spoiler alert: The Rooster is the most difficult to repeat.
Advice you’d give yourself six months from now… “You’re still not on mute.”
Any technology challenges/triumphs? In a house midway through a now-halted renovation, I was able to establish a home studio for virtual keynotes and Zoom-based Happy Hours.
Tom Skarratt, Horizon Media
Have you developed any good habits about working from home? Every day I take a lunch break and use the time to catch up on world news.
Any bad habits? I get up an hour later now vs. when I had to commute to the office.
Favourite quarantine meal? Bruschetta style pizza (its all about the tomatoes!)
Piece of advertising that can always make you laugh… Barq’s Has Bite.
Thing you miss most about the office… The unexpected little comedic moments.
Any TV, Netflix or streaming recommendations? Ozark season 3.
What song best represents your current state of mind? Or what is on your quarantine playlist? “935 Patterson” by The Go Team (from 1989). “Virginia Reel Around the Fountain” by The Halo Benders (from 1998)
Advice you’d give to yourself six months from now… Have a robust slush fund established for fun e-commerce purchases if working from home becomes a reality again. Nothing like being able to make a couple online purchases as self-reward during the tougher days at the home office.
Any technology challenges/triumphs? The double mute (click to unmute plus *6) on virtual calls has caught me a couple times.
Jon Dick, Juniper Park\TBWA
Have you developed any good habits about working from home? I’m working hard, but I always seem to be home for dinner.
Any bad habits? Unfortunately, I can’t stop eating my quarantine back-up food.
Favourite quarantine meal? Smoothie.
Piece of advertising that can always make you laugh… That Weekday Eggs spot for Egg Farmers of Canada. The one with the girlfriend and mom who look alike. I always chuckle when I see it.
Thing you miss most about the office… My standing desk.
What books are you reading? Loving it? Hating it? I know I’m late to the game, but I’m reading Educated by Tara Westover. It’s a wild story.
Any TV, Netflix or streaming recommendations? Tiger King. You won’t regret it, and then you will.
What song best represents your current state of mind? Or what is on your quarantine playlist? “Fruit Salad” by The Wiggles.
Advice you’d give yourself six months from now… You used to find social interactions exhausting. And you still do. So feel free to decline those invitations, Mr. Dick.
Any technology challenges/triumphs? I’ve finished Netflix.
Dan Strasser, OneMethod
Have you developed any good habits about working from home? With the loss of hallways chats and meetings that organically happen, the amount of calendar invites has exploded. So out of necessity we are having quicker meetings/calls/chats and are making decisions with a new urgency.
Any bad habits? Staring at myself during video chats and judging every hair, wrinkle and freckle with an art director’s lens. Also, my ears are not properly aligned.
Favourite Quarantine Meal? My kids get snack time at around 3 p.m. (when school used to end). So they tip-toe, into my “office” and bring me little bowls of nuts. When we get back to our agency offices, I’d like to somehow make this a thing.
Piece of advertising that can always make you laugh… The work done on Little Caesars Pizza by Barton F. Graf – may they rest in peace.
Thing you miss most about the office… Luigi’s, our office bar, EOD Friday, when everyone gets together and lets go of the week. We do it over Zoom now—debauchery still very much present.
What song best represents your current state of mind? Or what is on your quarantine playlist? The theme song for Animaniacs. Watch it. I think you’ll agree.
Any advice for yourself six months from now? Next time shave your head.