#WFH Diaries: James Rowe of adam&eveNYC

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc globally, we're checking in with the people in the creative industry to see how they're doing. Here's an update from James Rowe of adam&eveNYC.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

James Rowe, a Londoner living in New York. Managing director of adam&eveNYC.

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

My partner Caroline and I live in a one-bedroom loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She's also in the agency world, so it's basically like a little startup in our apartment right now.

What's your work situation like at the moment?

It's actually been a pretty seamless transition from office to home. I've been amazed at how quickly everyone across all departments has adapted to this new way of working. We're creating, editing, finishing projects for clients, as well as advising on how to maneuver through these unusual times, and looking at ways that the brands we work with can add value to their consumers and society during this time of need. As a result, we've been just as busy, if not busier, than a "normal" week in the office. 

We've added one-on-one mindfulness sessions to our wellness program to give our people the option to have a break from it all and work on techniques to stay fresh over the next few weeks.

And our first virtual happy hour went down a storm.

I'm personally missing the day-to-day contact with everyone. As a small agency of 50 people, we're able to shout across to one another and quickly jump into a room and thrash out a solution to a challenge or problem. I love the pace that comes with a smaller startup, and I'm definitely missing the energy of being at the office with everyone.

That said, we've been using Microsoft Teams, which allows us to jump into virtual rooms and get shit done.

Describe your socializing strategy.

All. The. Apps. 

Houseparty for pub quizzes with friends across the world. Zoom for formal meetings. Teams for informal chats and get-togethers with the adam&eve team. Instagram for following fitness classes and workouts.

And when we need a break from being connected via some sort of screen, we take a quick walk down to the river and back.

How are you dealing with childcare, if applicable?

No kids for us right now, but it's been great to get to know my colleagues' families a little better. Weirdly, being apart has meant we've all had to let each other into one another's lives at home a little more and I feel like everyone is more empathetic with regard to personal commitments more as a result. It's been a good thing.

What are you reading?

I've just finished Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, which has given me the inspiration to start running again as well as a reminder that we're all winging it to a certain extent—particularly right now.

What are you watching?

Tiger King. Wow. Just. Wow. 

What are you listening to?

The Daily, every morning to get a quick opinion on the latest developments. 

Then we have our daily agency playlists—adam&eve WFH bangers—that we share with our London office, which gives the apartment a bit of a buzz.

And I'm ashamed to admit that at 9 a.m. on Friday we did blast Rebecca Black's terrible pop smash hit "Friday."

How are you staying fit?

Keeping fit is so important to me. I had a routine of heading to my gym in Brooklyn first thing and then cycling over the bridge to the office.

But this week I've got back into running (thanks to Phil Knight for that) and have been getting in 5K in the morning around McCarren Park. I've also mixed in some Barry's classes on Instagram and some strength training on our building roof. I find without exercise I get restless, so it helps keep me focused throughout the day.

Have you taken up a hobby?

Nothing brand new, but getting back into midweek cooking has been a game-changer, and has reminded me that I actually love making food. I'm trying my best to get fully into yoga, but when you can't touch your toes every minute is agony. I've promised myself that I'll be able to touch my toes by the time we're back in the office, so I need to get to it!

In other news, I hear (literally) that our upstairs neighbor's son has got into fencing. I had no idea that 12-year-olds could get into fencing, but every day between 3 and 4 p.m. that doubt disappears as we hear him lunge, parry and riposte across the floor above. 

Any tips for getting necessities?

Shop local. Luckily, my local is a wine store. 

An awkward moment since all this started.

Having to agree to a booking system for our bathroom at home.

Best work email you got since all this started.

A bunch of proactive ideas from our David & Daniel (our ECDs) and the creative department on how we could help some of our brand partners, and society more widely.

An aha! moment since all this started.

Aha, that's how much money I'm spending on Bluebottle coffee every week.

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

We are problem solvers, and we're constantly finding solutions for our clients. Now it's on us to not only find solutions for our clients, but also for our own industry and businesses. 

I think the industry will genuinely be more open and empathetic to remote and flexible working, which can only be a good thing. There's been plenty of talk about progressive working models, but now we're having to live them in real-time. My hope is that as an industry we learn from this period and apply those learnings when we return to the office.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards, editor of Muse by Clio, and host of the podcast Tagline. Previously, he was creative editor at Adweek.

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