#WFH Diaries: Bee Reynolds and Ellen Page of EP+Co
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend society and business, we're checking in with people in the creative industries to see how they're faring. Here's an update from Bee Reynolds and Ellen Page, creative directors at EP+Co.
Give us one-line bios of yourselves.
Bee Reynolds: Mom, wife, creative director, homeowner, living my best life.
Ellen Page: The cool aunt, fur mom, self-prescribed neurotic who likes to make things, eat things, drink things and sometimes do none of the things. Sometimes.
Where are you living right now, and who's with you?
Bee: I live with my husband and our 5-year-old son in Greenville, S.C.
Ellen: Greenville, S.C., with my husband and doggo.
What's your work situation like at the moment?
Bee: Working from home, mostly very smoothly. There is a heavy workload right now, which we are glad to have!
Ellen: I'm lucky that I'm not juggling homeschool, childcare and wfh. I am in awe of those who are managing that! Our house isn't huge, my makeshift office is in our master bedroom, also known as the portal to the backyard, so about 600 times a day the man and his dog are in and out of here chasing squirrels and enjoying the outside. While I confidently master Zoom.
Describe your socializing strategy.
Bee: Ha. Our son is an extreme extrovert. If we just hang out on the front lawn, he engages pretty much anyone who comes by (from a safe distance). We've also been doing tons of video chatting. And filmed video messages for extended family.
Ellen: I've been making myself stay at my desk until work is done, trying to separate work from home in that way. When I can call it a day, I'll grab a glass of wine and move to the front of the house to hang out with the fam. Whenever I get the chance, I get outside and cruise the neighborhood on my feet.
How are you dealing with childcare?
Bee: Multitasking and pulling my hair out. I've been buying a new toy online each week to help us along; this week it's Play-Doh. My husband and I try to tag team, most of the time it works. And when it doesn't, iPad happens.
Ellen: Not applicable to me, but reminding my badass coworkers who are somehow navigating this crazy time as supermom-teacher-wife-creative director that we're not made for this, and it's hard, and you're crushing it!
What are you reading?
Bee: Does this count? Grow a Little Fruit Tree: Simple Pruning Techniques for Small-Space, Easy Harvest Fruit Trees. My Cripps Pink Lady Apple Espalier is in year 1.
Ellen: Disappearing Earth.
What are you watching?
Bee: Tiger King, duh. But I'm making slow progress cause I fall asleep early. Also I Am a Killer.
Ellen: Tiger King obviously, Ozark, Pandemic.
What are you listening to?
Bee: My son wrote his first original hit single, which he's singing incessantly. It's very emo.
How are you staying fit?
Bee: I have an exercise bike in the house, and my husband has a garage gym. We also do lots of walks, usually with some form of Mandalorian role playing.
Ellen: Well, now that I eat cold fried chicken for breakfast and Doritos for lunch, I'm not sure that I am staying fit. But I do try to have some kind of physical routine. I do yoga or a home gym workout and I meditate every morning before the day starts. So at least my mind is right.
Have you taken up a hobby?
Bee: I've been a hobby gardener for a few years. I don't have tons of extra time for it right now, but it's nice to just be able to walk around and look at progress during the day.
Ellen: Day drinking? Does that count?
Any tips for getting necessities?
Bee: I'm all over Amazon, and I tend to keep backup on hand. So far, between that and the grocery store, I haven't needed to come up with any hacks yet.
Ellen: I've always had a problem with online shopping, this just made it worse. Now I'm ordering things I didn't even know I could!
An awkward moment since all this started.
Bee: The whole elbow bump instead of shaking hands? Has anyone nailed this? I definitely haven't.
Ellen: Every moment I ever have is awkward. I'm not good at normal human interaction, so video conferencing is another level.
Best work email you got since all this started.
Bee: OK, it's not an email but there is a sentiment afoot that this kind of highly atypical moment is exactly where creativity does its best work. There is an energy and a belief that not only can we do it, but we might even do it better right now. I love that!
Ellen: As I'm sure it was for most of the ad world, the first week of wfh was bonkers, with all clients essentially in triage. By Friday of that week, I wasn't sure how we were managing, if at all. And then we got a thank-you email from our president and CCO, where he said a lot of nice things, but what stood out to me was that he was "proud to know us…" It was a great equalizer, and even though I felt like there was no possible way I was doing a good job, at least I knew that he didn't notice.
What's your theory on how this is going to play out?
Bee: I feel like a lot of changes for the better will ultimately come out of this. Different ways of working and learning, better understanding of what it means to share the planet. And better efficiency all around.
Ellen: We'll never go back to the way it was "before" but maybe we'll learn that it never needed to be that way in the first place.