#WFH Diaries: Chelsea Steiger and Nicolas Berthier of FF Los Angeles

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend society globally, we're checking in with the creative industry to see how people are doing. Here's what's up with Chelsea Steiger and Nicolas Berthier, creative directors at FF Los Angeles.

Give us a one-line bio of yourselves.

• Chelsea Steiger: Creative director working at FF Los Angeles.
• Nicolas Berthier: Creative director at FF Los Angeles since 2019, previously at FF Paris.

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

• Chelsea: When the travel restrictions were first announced about two weeks ago, I was in Paris prepping a commercial shoot. We ended up postponing the project and I flew back amid the chaos that is customs and CDC at LAX. Now safely back home with my husband at our little house in Mt. Washington.
• Nicolas: I am living in downtown Los Angeles, not far from our office here, and currently working from home.

What's your work situation like at the moment? 

• Chelsea: Our entire FF team has adjusted to this new work life extremely quickly. I've been amazed by it. Because our agency has an office in Shanghai, we knew what might be coming very early on, so we were already mentally prepared. Everything is built around a routine—sit in the same spot in our house, agency regroup every morning at 9 a.m., two hours off for lunch and light exercise, and then a second agency regroup at 2p.m. We've managed to stay super productive, which is not only helpful for the business but also for everyone's mental health.
• Nicolas: Being in close relations with the people from our office in FF Shanghai made us aware of the situation pretty early. California is actually under a "stay home" policy, which we all respect, working from home. This was not a complicated move for FF, since tools like WeChat, Zoom and Google Drive have already been part of our ecosystem for years.

Describe your socializing strategy. 

• Chelsea: Texts, video and phone chats have been the only method of socializing for the moment, and the occasional wave from the window.
• Nicolas: We connect as a team twice daily to set the objectives of the day in terms of work but also take time to debrief each individual situation and bring help if needed. I'd say we are even more connected as a team today.

What are you reading?

• Chelsea: Hard to do much pleasure reading right now—mostly just The New York Times.
• Nicolas: I found an original edition of Akira a few weeks ago at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena—another apocalypse story, couldn't be more accurate.

What are you watching? 

• Chelsea: Curb Your Enthusiasm, John Oliver and we just binge-watched Tiger King over the weekend. Insane!
• Nicolas: I will certainly watch Euphoria again soon.

What are you listening to? 

• Chelsea: Altın Gün, Minnie Riperton, Adriano Celentano, Brockhampton and always the latest playlist from Chances with Wolves.
• Nicolas: I strangely have not been listening to music much since we've been in quarantine.

How are you staying fit? 

• Chelsea: I take a hike around our neighborhood every morning followed by some basic exercises at home (situps, pushups and planks).
• Nicolas: Sports are also part of the routine we installed at FF Los Angeles. We decided to have a two-hour lunch break, allowing everyone of us to keep fit, too!

Have you taken up a hobby?

• Chelsea: I do puzzles! I've been thinking about knitting and painting but haven't made the commitment yet. I guess we'll see how long this pandemic continues.
• Nicolas: I do Legos, yes!

Any tips for getting necessities? 

• Chelsea: I accidentally ordered 26 boxes of oatmeal, so at least we know we're not going to starve.
• Nicolas: We got prepared quite early, so don't really need to look for necessities today.

An awkward moment since all this started. 

• Chelsea: I still put perfume on before my video conference calls.
• Nicolas: Drinks with friends on camera … awkward.

An aha! moment since all this started.

• Chelsea: My husband might have a ponytail by the end of this.
• Nicolas: We are trying to stay really positive, and it's fun to hear quarantine tips from the team during our morning Zoom conferences!

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

• Chelsea: Sadly, I think we're in this for the long haul but have already seen our team and clients come closer together because of it, and I know there's going to be some amazing ideas and solutions that will arise. It's already started.
• Nicolas: Hopefully well.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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