Good afternoon, everyone. I am reporting live from the confines of my one-bedroom home in Indianapolis to share some key information:
Well, not really. However, with the COVID-19 conditions, lockdowns, and my crippling fear of ever hurting anyone, ever, I have been working from home for the past…just checking the calendar…THREE MONTHS?!?
I truly thought it had been two months. Oh no. Oh no, oh no, oh no.
Okay, I just needed to breathe for a minute. Anyhow, let’s get back to business. Working from home as a content marketing writer has been a mixed bag of experience. On one hand, this is an industry where remote work has long-since been a staple, so marketing during COVID has not been such a stretch. Often on Thursdays or Fridays, most of the gang here at Metonymy will opt to work from home as opposed to coming in to our Fountain Square-based office. We all love to see each other, share our work for peer review, and help others when the inevitable bout of writer’s block shows up. However, when you’re working up against a deadline, sometimes it’s just easier to wake up in your own home, grab your laptop, and stay comfortable in bed or a home office to knock out some great content. So, it’s safe to say that heading into the pandemic, we at least were ready to transition to a remote work scenario.
That being said, collaborating to run an entire marketing business from our homes, with zero physical contact with one another presents some definite obstacles. We are not freelancers, floating on the wind, sending copy blindly to an email address of someone we’ve never met. We are a team of creative writers and that means we work best when that work happens as a team. Having to change over to constant Zoom meetings, Slack messages, or phone calls can create communication breakdowns or even make writing copy feel like a lonely experience. Sure, we may be wolves, but we’re not lone. We’re a pack.
Ah, crap. Even my analogies and metaphors are starting to get stale. Let me jump into a couple more grounded and specific areas that have been affected or influenced by our work-from-home status.
What Working From Home Looks Like: A Daily Schedule
When we’re operating out of the office, we tend to all arrive collectively around 8:30 or 9 a.m. I live the closest to the Virginia Street office, just a stone’s throw away in Bates Hendricks. Amber and Ryan both reside in Broad Ripple, and Chivonne is even further north in Fishers. So, one of the first positive differences is the fact that we can jump into work without having to fight traffic or worry about leaving on time. It’s also become easier to get a headstart on the day; I personally have been waking up earlier, usually around 6:30 or 7, and will often begin writing by 7:30 or 8. Not only does this help me get a jump on my to-do list, but it also means I’m more prepared for our morning stand-up.
Stand-up meetings are a daily chance to check in on each other’s progress. It’s less about some sort of authoritative status report, and more of an opportunity for us to let each other know how we’re doing, how we’re feeling, and what areas might need a little help. For instance, I may be having difficulty finishing a blog or whitepaper. I can speak to Amber about positioning, or Ryan about content, or Chivonne about the best marketing practices. If your company isn’t already doing a daily stand-up, I can’t recommend it enough.
But our greatest focus is on the client and great B2B storytelling. In order to ensure that we’re always hitting the mark on our work, we have structured the remainders of our days around client meetings, internal discussions, and, of course, the writing process. We use Google Drive, Zoom, and Slack like everyone else to track project work. But we’ve also begun using time-tracking tools. Again, this is not any kind of authoritative way of punching in and out for management. Rather, it helps us to visualize the amount of time we spend working on a given project, as well as areas where we might be able to shoulder some of the load.
Lastly, while I’ve tried to lighten the mood with some levity and jokes about my lack of sanity, I wanted to take a moment here to express my deepest sympathies to everyone, everywhere.
To those that are unable to quarantine and have to keep working. To people who are pinching pennies and counting days in order to pay rent or keep the lights on. To the people staffing our hospitals and health facilities, giving up their personal safety to help others survive. To those who are out in our cities during this pandemic making their voices, and the voices of those who can’t speak, heard. If you all can continue to press on, then I certainly can continue to write the best damn content I can think of from my house. After all, we’re not alone if we’re in this together.