#WFH Diaries: Madison Wharton, COO of BUCK

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world, we're checking in with creative people to see how they're doing. In this installment, we hear from Madison Wharton, chief operating officer at BUCK.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

I'm a COO, wife, mother, principal of our newly created in-house private school, very bad nail technician and OCD house cleaner.

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

I'm in a three-story house in Brooklyn. My husband Jason Marks is the CCO of Laundry Service. His home office has taken over the first floor. The Wharton Marks Academy of Early Learning, where my first-grade daughter and second-grade son are going to school, is on the second floor. My BUCK home office is on the third floor. We all see each other at lunchtime. 

What's your work situation like at the moment?

I've always said it is important to integrate your home life with your work life in order to do well at both. But this is maybe taking it too far! Work-wise, we're fully operational and trying to help our clients in all the ways we can right now. We've been helping some brands convert their experiential plans into online experiences, and we've been taking campaigns that were originally planned as live-action and reimagining them as animation. We're also checking in on each and every person in the company. It's a stressful time, so we just all need to look out for each other.

Describe your socializing strategy.

This weekend we took our kids to the cemetery. We visited the graves of Basquiat and Leonard Bernstein. We found a new, safe way to hang out with people we know!

How are you dealing with childcare?

We are fortunate to still have a nanny, at least for as long as the government allows. We pick her up and drive her home every day. We've talked to each other about the safety precautions we're all taking to keep each other safe. I'm so thankful for her.

What are you reading?

https://ncov2019.live/data

What are you watching?

Tiger King (Netflix) and High Maintenance (HBO).

What are you listening to?

Older stuff: the Virgin Suicides soundtrack, Lou Reed, the Velvet Underground.

How are you staying fit?

Manic cleaning every nook, working and parenting in a house with a ton of stairs.

Have you taken up a hobby?

Smart home technology. I'm using the extra home time in the house to update all of the power outlets and switches in the house to USB, smart, motion detection. What could possibly go wrong?

Any tips for getting necessities?

Fresh Direct also delivers wine. 

An awkward moment since all this started.

My daughter talking about her butt to anyone who will listen in all of my video conferences. She's going through a butt stage.

Best work email you got since all this started.

It was a stream of thank-you's on Slack. They appreciated the steps we were taking to keep them safe and situated into their work-from-home environment. We've got some good humans here at BUCK.

An aha! a moment since all this started.

For better, and obviously for worse, literally nobody in our entire company is on vacation right now. Nobody in any company is on vacation right now.

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

It's going to have a big impact after it's over. Companies will have an even greater understanding of how to collaborate remotely. Perhaps companies will be more open to hiring the best talent anywhere in the world without having them uproot their lives to office locations. Brands will care less about the geographical location of their partners, and instead focus on their capabilities, craft level and ability to innovate and adapt. We will all have an increased need for perfecting and optimizing our IT infrastructure for greater connectivity. 

I just hope some of the greater restaurants survive. 

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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