#WFH Diaries: Laura Stude of surefoot

Even as parts of the world begin to open up amid the pandemic, most folks are still working from home. We're checking in with creative people to see how they're faring. Here's an update from Laura Stude, co-founder of indie agency surefoot.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

Co-founder of surefoot.me, improver of conversion rates and grass-growing enthusiast.

Where are you living right now, and who's with you?

I live in Austin, Texas, with my partner and our fur kids: 2 derpy goldendoodles and a cat. Sorry, THE cat. He is standing over me and was displeased with my original answer.

What's your work situation like at the moment, and how is it evolving?

I used to roll out of bed and work at the desk in my bedroom, but the length of my commute recently increased. These days, I walk out the back door through the yard and park my tookus in a standalone office affectionately known as my "she shed." I've worked remotely for four-plus years, but we have a two-bedroom house and the aforementioned zoo of animals. My plan was to buy a larger house. The she shed was our compromise. To top it off, it was completed only a few months before Covid hit. Guess those psychic classes I've been taking really paid off (kidding).

Describe your socializing strategy.

Our neighbor organizes a weekly neighborhood Zoom happy hour, so it's been fun to get to know some of the neighbors and see them out and about. We've also taken a few Zoom cooking classes with friends/family and local chefs to support their businesses. We recently started doing half-day Fridays at work and I've been taking advantage of the extra time by visiting state parks I haven't been to. I also spend a lot of time navigating the aisles of Home Depot with the other masked lemmings, which is almost enough to make me never want to socialize again. People definitely see masks as a replacement for social distancing.

How are you dealing with childcare, if applicable?

Thankfully, that isn't one of our realities right now. We have a lot of friends with kids and we're constantly in awe of their patience and general lack of alcoholism. 

What are you reading?

I mostly read email newsletters like Morning Brew and Stacked Marketer, and have an ever-growing stack of magazines (Forbes, Inc, Bicycling, the local business journal) that are calling my name. I've slowwwwly been reading Yuval Noah Harari's 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, but as someone who isn't a fan of robots, it's not exactly uplifting material suited for these times.

What are you watching?

We recently binged all seasons of Ozark, which was a bit painful as a born-and-bred Missourian. The Amy Schumer Learns to Cook show is light and entertaining. We recently bought a projector on Amazon and are planning to host a "masked movie night" in the backyard for friends and neighbors. BYO popcorn, and if you have to pee, hold it.

What are you listening to?

My dogs barking incessantly when the UPS or Amazon delivery people come to our door or ghosts fly by.

How are you staying fit?

I am one of probably 13 subscribers to Les Mills On Demand and went HAM buying all the equipment and outfitting the garage with a big screen and Apple TV. I'm 95 percent confident the neighbors across the street record me doing my morning workouts and post them on Reddit, but it will be totally worth it when this is all over and I'm mad quarantoned.

Have you taken up a hobby?

Landscaping! Pre-quarantine, rusty cars on cinder blocks wouldn't have been out of place in our yard. Now, people walk by and shout things like "Keep up the good work!" and "Love seeing the transition!" Someone even left a note on our door recently asking if we would give them some of our sod. These are desperate times, indeed.

An awkward moment since all this started.

I slipped on my Crocs (how every good awkward moment begins) bringing the trash cans in from the curb. The lids were open and somehow, I stepped on one. This caused the entire can to tilt to the perfect angle for me to FALL HEAD-FIRST INTO THE CAN. A kind passerby rolled down his window and asked if I was OK. At that point I should have just stayed inside and closed the lid on myself. I was equal parts mortified and hysterically laughing at what a sight it must've been. Hope the neighbors caught that on video, too.

An aha! moment since all this started.

Founding a remote company from the get-go was a great idea. We already had remote-friendly systems, processes and culture in place, so we have been able to weather this thing without skipping a beat. I see a lot of companies and employees struggling to adjust, and it definitely impacts their employees' output/happiness, the service provided to their clients, etc.

What's your theory on how this is going to play out?

I'm kind of an old soul, so I'm hopeful it will encourage us to get our heads out of our cell phones and refocus on all the great things in front of us—quality time with loved ones, exercise, putting our hands in the dirt, etc.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and the founding editor of Muse by Clio.

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