I normally work from Cape Royale in Sentosa, Singapore, on the 14th floor. At home, I am the guest of honour at my dining table. I don’t get the pleasure of walking from meeting to meeting at home, which helps to reset on a usual day.
Instead I walk from my dining table, to my bed, to my sofa, to my balcony while taking calls on Teams. It’s hard, quite frankly. By the end of the day I want to go running outside just to feel human again. WFH is much more isolated. I do have to admit I way prefer working in the office! There we have an addictive energy when agency people get together, which is incredibly motivating.
7 am: Usually work starts early after a walk 20 minutes down to the cove to get a proper cup of coffee at Joe and the Juice and 20 minutes back. Though it takes some time, on the way we wave to friends on their balconies setting up for the day.
8 am: Calls begin, where every 30 to 60 minutes we switch meetings from Teams, to Whatsapp. We are pro video-on at DAN. It definitely helps to see the person you are talking to. We are lucky that we’ve not had any ‘awkward’ mistaken video-on situations… yet.
10.30 am: Snack time, we brew a moka pot with black coffee and usually team it with something sweet. My waistline has definitely expanded with being in such close proximity of the kitchen.
12.30 pm: My husband and I reconnect and have a quick lunch. We take it in turns to whip something up and by 1 pm we are both back on the calls.
2 pm: Quick successive one-to-one catchups with team members to make sure they are doing ok, answering any questions and signing things off. Usually people would come and grab me at my desk but now we have to be militant about scheduling calls.
4 pm: Europe is up so we usually connect over global pitch work that needs to happen. Everyone being in the same boat, working remotely, definitely brings the world closer together.
6 pm: I try to move onto the balcony for the rest of my meetings. It’s cooler there, and watching the sun set during a call is a privilege. Usually we’d be brainstorming in a meeting room.
8 pm: The days ends (usually) with a large glass of wine helping me transition into relax mode.
The media and business team has been able to transition to WFH fairly easily, except instead of travelling to client meetings and running from room to room in the office, we have our earphones in talking to a computer. We are definitely being more efficient.
When a meeting cancels, people can’t see me sitting at my desk, so it means I get interrupted less, which means I can blast emails or the odd deck out. But with our creative work, it is a little more challenging. So much of the magic that happens in that department is when people get into a room together to brainstorm on a whiteboard. Meeting in coffee shops for these meetings was OK. But as we move into full isolation we are making the most of Teams whiteboards, Google Docs, and the share drive.
The other challenge for WFH is I have a very distracting husband, who loves to have meetings at full boombox voice and randomly sings and plays a ukelele between meetings. Wouldn’t change these moments for the world (wink).
We constantly have each other in fits of giggles while offering each other cups of tea to get through the day. Interestingly getting a fresh perspective from each other has been helpful; how to manage this crisis and leaning in to support our respective teams.
As part of our WFH, We had our first companywide pub quiz last Friday. We had the theme of ‘Hats’, as well as accents, costume changes and props. We covered ‘quizapedia’ (history, food), ‘Never Gonna Quiz You Up’ (guess the song), ‘Quizpicable me’ (guess the celebrity), and ‘You’re a Quizzard, Harry!’ (bonus point riddles and tiebreakers).
Seeing 70 faces giggling, dancing with hats and shouting out answers—not to mention the winner twerking to win—made it all worth it. One person was wearing a plant pot on their head for a hat, another a shopping bag casually looped around her ears. My boss: a torpedo unicorn horn poking out of his baseball cap. These people are the best!
Klara Krok is head of business and media with Creative Group at Denstu Aegis Network Singapore.