Thanks to the pandemic, the world of work is changing – and it looks very different depending on where you’re based. In The Drum’s new series, Today’s Office, we ask adland to share what these new normal routines look like. This week, Omelet’s chief exec Thas Naseemuddeen tells us about her office visitors and what it’s like to finally have a routine.
I’ve been working from my little house in Los Angeles since March 13 and it’s crazy to even think how many days that is. I was on a work trip when we went into lockdown, so it has been even longer since I was in the office.
But I’m extremely fortunate in that I now have a view of my backyard from my desk, there’s lots of light and windows, and I get squirrels and the random possum dropping by my door to visit. And I have a really fun studio print of Fozzie Bear hung right beside me, so he’s become my unofficial work buddy.
I’ve been really diligent about sheltering-in-place, but it does get quite tiring when every day has the same context. Especially as I’d been so used to spending quite a bit of time on the road in my normal working life. I’d become wired to the constantly changing scenery.
The thing I miss most about not being in the office is our people! Seeing folks in the halls. Short conversations that turn into long ones. Laughing about things. Just normal banter that can sometimes manifest into great ideas or even work.
Like most of us now, my days consist of a lot of video calls (all-day, every day!). And even casual chats, just to find out what’s going on with people, need to be scheduled and planned in now. Without that sense of serendipity, it can all feel a bit too formal.
But there’s truly no rush to go back to normal for us as the work itself has been ’working’ just fine so far. And as much as we’re all missing the interactions, there are far more important things these days.
I’ll admit I was impressed by just how quickly our team was to adapt. Our team started working from home on March 12 and when I started doing the same a day later, they had already set up a WFH Slack channel to attempt to emulate the kinds of everyday conversations we had in our kitchen. I loved that this came from our people, rather than from an organizational mandate. I’m constantly inspired by our team’s ingenuity and sense of family and how everyone is supporting each other through this time, even though we’re all apart. It has been wonderful to see and I feel us being stronger connected at the end of it all.
In my ’home’ life (ha!), I’m reading a lot more, I’m trying to get outside more (not always successful, but I’m fortunate to have a backyard at least) and my Netflix queue has proven pretty robust. And I may have become slightly addicted to playing Animal Crossing with my niece.
I also have no excuse not to get to the gym now that it is 15 steps away in my living room. It’s a somewhat hilarious way to live, but I work out almost every morning and I’m grateful for that time. I’ve been doing a lot of Barry’s At Home, often with my accountability buddy, Omelet’s chief strategy officer/fitness motivation officer Pete Talaba.
It is strange just how wed to a routine I’ve become, considering how, when I was traveling so much before, no two days were the same. Now every day is effectively the same. I never knew my life would be like this!
Thas Naseemuddeen is the chief executive officer at the LA-based independent creative agency Omelet.