Reflecting on one year of working from home

Reflecting on one year of working from home
By: Susi Lynam, VP, HR & Operations

Like many of our friends and clients, the Kiosk team has been working from home for the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been a year filled with challenges and triumphs, requiring new levels of coordination and cooperation. As we continue to move through March 2021, Kiosk, like many companies around the world, reflects on this year of immense changes and new normals.

Kiosk’s transition from office to WFH

With a Work From Home Fridays policy in place long before the pandemic, we were all pretty familiar with the joys and obstacles associated with WFH. And a few of our employees were already fully remote, with tips and tricks ready to share.

Armed with anecdotes about the importance of stretch breaks and the dangers of fridge breaks, we were well set up for a sudden transition to all-hands off-board remote work. For example, we already had the highest quality security practices and measures in place to protect our agency workflows and client data. By the time state and local governments implemented shelter-in-place orders, and WFH became the new normal, Kiosk was well prepared.

Like many creative agencies, we’ve always been intentional about maintaining an engaging in-person work environment. We have a company culture where digital tools work hand-in-hand with in-person brainstorms and creative collaborations. Where post-it notes decorate the walls (and sometimes windows) and white boards are filled with workflow and ad campaign ideas. So while we were logistically capable of making the transition, we also felt the loss of in-person support and collaboration.

Healthy working

In the Kiosk office, we’ve fostered an environment that encourages healthy work habits, from paying attention to work-station ergonomics to taking short breaks throughout the work day. We know that can be harder to ensure at home, so we let a significant amount of office infrastructure WFH too, delivering sit-stand desks, chairs, ergonomic mouse pads, and anything else our employees need to make working from home more comfortable and productive.

The response from our employees has been really reassuring, and we love hearing about their WFH experiences. As Creative Director Mark Day shared, “Working from home is challenging when your kids are suddenly being home schooled too. With that said, a few daily interruptions from small people wondering if you’re ‘in a meeting now’ and, if not, ‘can we have some snacks’ is one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about lockdown.”

How we stay connected

As a creative company, we like to have fun. WFH hasn’t changed that — we just had to change how we have fun. We still have quarterly get togethers, but now they happen virtually. We’ve become experts at digital trivia, bingo, scavenger hunts, and contests. To help us all relax, Senior SEM Manager Briana Stone has become our weekly “desk yoga” instructor. We still take the opportunity to recognize birthdays, and yes, we still have dress-up days for charity — only now they take place virtually!

Although we miss seeing Kioskers and our clients in person, we’re thankful for Google Meet and Zoom for allowing us to stay connected and work together just as effectively, if not more so.

Celebrating our clients

Our clients have done amazing things this year, in spite of and often because of the pandemic. Whether launching a new digital presence or crafting a new ad campaign to better reflect customers’ needs, our clients worked harder than ever. Helping them pivot their businesses, offerings, and campaigns has been incredibly rewarding and has helped us grow, learn, and become stronger as well. We’re grateful and thankful to work with them everyday.

While we miss visiting our clients in their natural habitats, hosting them at our offices, and supporting their events, the shift from the physical world to the digital space inspired us to replace our usual holiday gifts and client appreciation packages with donations to Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) and Homeward Bound of Marin on our clients’ behalf. The response was another positive point in a challenging year.

Considering the future

Living through a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic is a deeply personal experience. When we’re able to return to our office environment, we’ll encourage employees to join us in a way that’s comfortable for them. And we’ll incorporate all that we’ve learned into how we move forward.

Collectively, we’re grateful that we can work so effectively and collaboratively even while apart. Despite the challenges that come with it, being able to work from home is an immense privilege and one we don’t take for granted. As we all continue to do what we can to keep ourselves and each other safe, one thing’s for sure — there’s a lot to look forward to.