We’re about two months into the mass remote work grand experiment. Due to social distancing and the need to “flatten the curve”, many of us find ourselves spending more time indoors and physically engaging with fewer people than we ever have.
While there is hope on the horizon, at this juncture, it remains our duty as Americans to work from home if we’re able, but this responsibility presents new challenges to those of us who have relied upon in-person collaboration for much of our careers.
When all of us at Sloane moved out of our shared space and into our home offices, we were faced with newfound hurdles, but also opportunities as we worked diligently to serve our clients, even as we adapted to remote work. Our teammates, from associates to CEOs, found new ways to connect with each other, our clients and the world, while doing our parts separately, yet together.
Two months later, the world is a very different place. We’re still apart, but we continue to be #SloaneTogether.
We asked a few people at Sloane what their transition to working from home was like and how they adapted to their new way of working.
“I’ve been challenged by the lack of facetime with my teams and having to rely on digital tools alone to stay connected with my colleagues – from a work and a social standpoint.” – Eddy Ruddy
Eddy Ruddy, an account supervisor in title and master of dad-jokes in practice, has had to find new ways to connect with colleagues. While Sloane has long used services like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to stay connected, they have never been the primary means of meeting internally. Now, however, they have become integral platforms helping us stay abreast of account work, as well as keep in touch with each other and our clients.
Eddy finds himself connecting with his colleagues in new ways, “relying more on chat, introducing video calls (and video happy hours) and connecting with each other (and clients) as people, not simply as colleagues,” he said.
“The little ‘interruptions’ on calls—the dog barking, a child chatting in the background or the buzzer sounding when delivery arrives—are less interruptive but shine a light on how we are all people with lives outside of work, facing the same challenge of living and working at home.”
“Though I adore the Carpenters in every way, the fact that I have to sing along passionately to every one of their songs means I can’t get a lot of work done with them playing all the time.”
– Quincy Mix
Resident Carpenters-enthusiast and associate, Quincy Mix, has been exploring Spotify’s curated playlists to make up for the lack of Sloane office background noises and conversations.
Looking for something less attention-grabbing than his beloved Carpenters, Quincy has taken to rotating Spotify playlists like Morning Acoustic, Cozy Acoustic Morning, and a John Mayer/Jack Johnson/and Friends playlist.
“You could say I’ve gone folksy/soft guitarry for this remote work phase, though I occasionally add some crooners into the queue for a little nostalgia,” said Quincy.
Eddy’s set-up features island backgrounds in his East Village apartment.
In addition to working from home, Quincy has taken to working from floor.
Amanda prefers to work from her dining room table (when she can snag it).
“Exercise is key. Especially getting outside (with acceptable physical distancing, of course) if you can. Fresh air and sunlight can do wonders to clear your head.”
– John Hartz
John Hartz, senior managing director and work-from-home veteran, has remote work down to a tee after almost 15 years of working out of his home office in the Boston area. He says the key resides in maintaining balance and a routine.
“I try to stick with a schedule – relatively normal work hours, if I can and we’re not dealing with a crisis or pressing deadlines,” said John. “It’s hard not to sneak back downstairs to wrap things up sometimes – my home office is in the basement – but I try not to do that if I can avoid it.”
As for the benefits of remote work, John thinks “you can be a whole lot more productive, especially for tasks like writing and creative thinking. It’s so much easier to focus when you can largely shut out distractions and concentrate on the task at hand.”
Like John, Nick Glasnovich, who is head of creative and digital at Sloane, hasn’t found the transition to be overly disruptive thanks to his past remote-work experiences.
“The biggest challenge is the same one I’ve always had working from home: resisting the urge to work from the couch or to have the TV on all day,” said Nick. “I’m most productive when I’m working at my desk and treat my home office at least a little like my real office.
Whether I’m done for the day at 6 pm or 10 pm, I do the work at my desk. Apart from the occasional situation needing my attention that may crop up later in the evenings or on weekends, when I put my computer to sleep, it stays that way until the next morning. The danger of working from home is never leaving the office.”
“Self-improvement is an ongoing endeavor, even during a global pandemic.”
– Ariel Kouvaras
Some benefits to working from home include “being able to cook, clean and exercise every day,” said Ariel. “I feel like I am can manage everything – life, health and work – better than ever before.”
In the evenings after a full day’s work, Ariel has been indulging in Netflix original series, Tiger King – it seems to be a natural fit. “When I was a kid in the late ‘80s, I asked my mom if I could change my name to Kool Kat Kelly.”
If there’s anything Sloaners have in common at the moment, it’s an appreciation for the lack of commute across Manhattan. “I never have to pass off-brand Elmos on the way into the office in morning,” said senior associate Amanda Coyle of her typical trek from her bed to wherever in her home she’ll be working from that day.
“I also love my house’s version of ‘hotdesking’ which is when me and all the other WFH members of the household jockey for the best working spots for the day. I got demoted from dining room to basement last week.”
From the San Francisco Bay to New York City, Boston to North Carolina, the Sloane team is working harder than ever to stay connected to our clients and each other. While many of us may be alone, we are alone together.