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September 16, 2020



Facing the Unknown

Working remotely, new coworkers, and lessons we’ve learned

When home becomes your office, and your office is now where you live, some striking changes are bound to happen. At Proverb, we’ve found ourselves hustling alongside some very interesting new co-workers. A vivacious toddler may make us want to pull our hair out, or a chatty roommate may leave us reaching for some noise-canceling headphones, but for better or worse, shaking up our work environment has influenced our outlook and taught us some very meaningful lessons.

Who are your “new coworkers?”

Kat (Marketing Manager): My dog Bingley acted as our team’s part-time “coworker” and came to the office sometimes on Fridays. He specializes in giving cuddles. But now he works with me full-time!

Shoki (Senior Copywriter): At the beginning of quarantine, my fiancée and I adopted a dog! Her name is Willow and she’s terrified of window blinds, but will casually scare off dogs 10 times her size.

Alisa (Senior Art Director): My new co-workers are my husband Scott and my lovely 5-year old daughter Mira.

Hannah (Senior Designer): My roommate! And my plants.

If you could describe your experience working from home in three words what would they be?

Chris (Managing Partner): Surprisingly sweet. Impromptu. Long.

Shoki: Fulfilling. Challenging. Bizarre.

Alisa: Multi-sensory efficiency.

What have you learned from working remotely?

Chris: That change is the only thing permanent.

Cara (New Business Assistant): My 7-year old cousin has taught me the importance of patience and to always flex your creative muscle. Sometimes you really do need a child’s energy to problem-solve.

Hannah: My roommate is a farmer, and we’ve been working on our community garden down the road. It’s been a great reminder to get outside and off my computer.

Justin (Senior Account Manager): My girlfriend and I spend a lot of time together these days. One thing this situation has taught me is that I want her in my life long term — so she’s my at-home co-worker for now, but hopefully, she’ll be my partner for life.

Accomplishing something off-screen gives me the clarity to write content that feels human.

Does taking breaks help your creative process in any way?

Kat: Yes! My dog and I go on walks three times a day! I find that I come back feeling more positive and ready to tackle the next thing on my list.

Cara: Definitely! I’ve found that coloring really helps me switch off from screens and find some calmness in my day.

Hannah: Totally — I’ve been teaching myself guitar. When I get stumped on a design task, it’s helpful to have something that stimulates a totally different part of my brain, as a reset.

Lauren (Copywriter): Yes, absolutely yes. Staring at a blank word document can be daunting; I find that accomplishing something off-screen gives me the clarity to write content that feels human.

What has this experience taught you about yourself, your job, or industry?

Kat: I’ve learned that I’m adaptive, but I’m truly a social creature. I love my job because I get to talk with people most of the day! I can adapt to working remotely, but I do need human connection. Regarding our industry — I think we are going to see a huge shift in multifamily buildings serving secondary markets and the suburb. I think more Millenials and GenZers will move farther out of the city because you can now work remotely for the majority of the time.

Justin: I’ve found that I can be extremely efficient and that my apprehensions about working remotely have been relieved. I do miss seeing my team face to face, but I don’t miss morning commutes. This experience has taught me that I can adapt well to extreme circumstances.

Chris: A reminder to live each day as if it could be your last. And to have gratitude.

Stay calm. Don’t get wound up about things if you can help it.

What is the most challenging part about working from home for you?

Cara: Trying to juggle all aspects of my life. My time used to be far more sectioned off, but now it has all accumulated together.

Justin: The change in my routine has been difficult. Driving to work, interacting with the team face to face, going out for lunch…that’s all gone right now. I’ve had to learn how I can bring in as much joy, and continue to adapt to my environment. The first few weeks were especially hard, but I’m feeling much better today than I was back in March.

Do you have any tips for those struggling to work alongside “new co-workers?”

Chris: Be present when you can, and don’t apologize when you can’t. Know you are doing your best.

Justin: You need to learn how you work best, and turn that into a reality. Set boundaries if you live with others, and don’t be afraid to communicate.

Alisa: Stay calm. Don’t get wound up about things if you can help it.

How do you draw inspiration? Have you found any silver linings?

Chris: Headstands, quiet time, breath, reflection, walks, chimes — martinis!

Shoki: I get outside whenever I can — whether it’s walking my dog, on a nearby hike, or on my canoe somewhere.

Cara: My main form of inspiration has been giving myself time to do something I truly love — whether it’s reading, or adding to my insane Pinterest board. Mainly trying to see the beauty that is still and always will be around us.

Lauren: Going outside and experiencing how magical nature can be really helps me see the bigger picture in work and in life.

Hannah: I’ve been creating more illustrations and graphic nonfiction, and that always feels rooted in the hilarity and idiosyncrasy of daily life. Strange times are rife with observational humor.

Sometimes it’s the new and daunting experiences that can be the most enlightening. At Proverb, we’ve learned that change is the only constant, and that patience and adaptability go a long way. We’ve realized that taking breaks away from the screen rejuvenates us and enhances our creative process. And we are reminded that adventure fuels the mind and unusual circumstances can brew up the greatest inspiration. Change is definitely challenging, but it also cultivates progress and growth. As we continue our remote work journey, and as we navigate returning to the office, we’ll take these lessons with us as a reminder to remain thoughtful, fearless, and bold in the face of the unknown.

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