#WFH Diaries: Eric Kallman of Erich & Kallman

As quarantines continue across much of the world, we're checking in with creative people to see how they're handling the WFH situation. Below, we chat with Eric Kallman, co-founder and chief creative officer of Erich & Kallman.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

I'm the co-founder and CCO of Erich & Kallman. 

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

I'm living in my home just north of San Francisco in Marin County with my family. It's me, my wife, two small kids, two smaller dogs and one grandma.

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

The working from home has been really smooth for us. When we started the agency, we decided to put talent above geography, so about one-third of our full-time employees are remote to begin with. We're used to communicating with co-workers who aren't sitting in the same room. Our culture is also big on doing, so we're pretty light on management and process. The fact we're not together probably impacts us less compared to other agencies.

If you generally work in an office, when you do you expect to return to it?

No idea. We're just following the rules and waiting. Right now, the Bay Area is sheltered in place through the end of May, and we don't know anything beyond that. L.A. was just extended a couple more months, so if I had to guess, we will be too.

Describe your socializing strategy.

Workwise we've been doing an all-agency Friday afternoon happy hour on Zoom. It's just OK. Personally, we've been doing the occasional backyard social-distancing drinks or BBQ with friends. It's also just OK.

How are you dealing with childcare?

It's a little bonkers right now. My wife, Becca, is head of accounts at Argonaut, another S.F.-based ad agency. So, we're up early to do schoolwork with the kids, and then we try to split the day in half, with Becca attempting to get as much work done as possible in the a.m. while I do the p.m. But it's still advertising, so sometimes we're both slammed all day. We really couldn't do this without a grandma around.

What are you reading?

I'm a big fan of sports and nonfiction, so recently I've been catching up on books about the Golden State Warriors' recent success along with some other athlete autobiographies. 

What are you watching?

The couple of episodes we sneak in after the kids are finally down, before we go to bed, are critical to our sanity. We just finished the most recent seasons of Homeland and Ozark, and we really enjoyed a new Netflix show called Hollywood.

What are you listening to?

I like the new Real Estate album (bias alert: my brother's in the band). And since there's so much family time these days, I've been searching for music we can all enjoy together. Most recently it's been Steve Martin's latest bluegrass album titled The Long-Awaited Album.

How are you staying fit?

My wife is really into health and fitness, so we have a Peloton and home gym going in the garage. It's a pretty great setup. Helps with the sanity. 

Have you taken up a hobby?

One silver lining of this whole thing is I've gotten back to playing the piano again. I basically played every day of my life growing up, and rarely have since I started in advertising 15 years ago. I'm definitely not as good as I used to be, but it's still just as fun.

An awkward moment since all this started.

Luckily, most all of my awkward moments happen in person. I guess that's another silver lining.

An aha! moment since all this started.

I hope an aha! moment for everyone has been realizing office attendance and travel in our industry aren't actually as necessary as most of us thought. We've been winning pitches, selling work and communicating with our clients really well from home. It'd be great if more flexible schedules and a few less flights are a permanent result of all this.

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

I don't know who's going to fix this whole deal, but in my short life most problems have been solved by either Elon Musk or Dog the Bounty Hunter. So my money's on one of the two sorting it all out.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and founding editor of Muse by Clio. Prior to joining Clio in 2018, he was creative editor at Adweek.

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