#WFH Diaries: Kerrie Finch of futurefactor

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world, we're checking in with people in the creative industry to see how they're doing. Here's an update from Kerrie Finch of futurefactor.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

I'm the founding partner of communications company futurefactor and a survivor of two pandemics (swine flu H1N1 combined with pneumonia and a 10-day coma in 2010, and COVID-19 last month). 

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

I live alone in my top-floor apartment in Amsterdam. I'm in the process of moving but things have slowed considerably on the renovation of my new place. I may end up moving in next week without a kitchen. Fortunately, cooking for yourself is overrated when there are so many great restaurants … oh, wait ...

What's your work situation like at the moment?

I sit at home and live on Zoom. The company has three offices—in Amsterdam, London and Los Angeles, so we're used to constant video conference team meetings. What I'm not used to is the travel ban and cancellation of all events. In the last three weeks I was supposed to be in Austin for SXSW, Atlanta for a new business meeting, and L.A. to catch up with both clients and the team. My way of operating is to be out there talking with people, hosting events, organizing panel discussions, and visiting clients. I'm still getting my head around the change and how I can make it work to my advantage. 

Describe your socializing strategy.

I talk with both my brother and my dad most days (they both live in the U.K.). I'm FaceTiming more than ever—it's the only way my 9-year-old godson will communicate with me now. Friends in the U.S. have organized Zoom get-togethers. And I'm calling people again, after a long-term habit of predominantly texting.

How are you dealing with childcare, if applicable?

I don't have kids. I've noticed how colleagues and friends are coping—or otherwise. It's a big deal to have your child(ren) with you 24/7 if you usually work full-time out of home. It's a huge commitment to now also be frontline responsible for education. How do working parents have the time? And the stamina? Or the patience?

What are you reading?

Right now I'm reading Hilary Mantel's The Mirror and the Light. I'm also listening to the abridged audio version on BBC Sounds, so I'm currently in two different places in the book. I keep having déjà vu moments before remembering that it's my own fault.

What are you watching?

Ozark. Laura Linney, Jason Bateman, Janet McTeer and the world they inhabit make for spectacular viewing. Also, of course, Tiger King. I devoured the docuseries in two sittings whilst I was recovering from COVID-19 on the sofa. Everyone in the show is bonkers. The sanest person is someone who lost her lower arm to a tiger attack. That speaks volumes.  

What are you listening to?

As I'm moving next week, I'm Marie Kondo-ing my belongings and that includes CDs. I've rediscovered my love for early Moby, any Goldfrapp and all Kate Bush. Also Gregorian chant—it soothes me during office hours because I can't concentrate whilst listening to music with words (Latin doesn't count). 

How are you staying fit?

The gym has never been my friend so I'm not pining for what I never wanted. To be honest I'm embracing a "lay on the sofa, reach for the remote" exercise routine. I shall resurface from isolation eight kilos heavier and I'm OK with that. 

Have you taken up a hobby?

See above. Plus I've become obsessed with preventing pigeons from nesting on my balcony.

Any tips for getting necessities?

Amsterdam isn't in strict lockdown in the same way that other cities are. The Dutch can also be pretty rebellious. Many shops are open even if cafés and restaurants aren't. This week I bought a vacuum cleaner, went to the butcher's, and visited the dry cleaners (all in real life). Supermarkets are trying to ensure distancing but frankly when you see three shelf-stackers happily high-fiving in the aisle, it doesn't stoke an attitude of sensible safety-above-all. I haven't seen empty shelves, but then I didn't leave my apartment for two weeks once I tested positive and I think that's when people were panic-buying in Amsterdam.

An awkward moment since all this started.

Accidentally switching the phone to FaceTime whilst naked on a call. Does that count?

Best work email you got since all this started.

Two stand out, both confirming that we'd won a new client (brands based in Brazil and the Netherlands). That really cheered me up.

An aha! moment since all this started.

I nearly died in 2010 when I contracted swine flu and woke up after a 10-day coma tied to the bed, in isolation, on an IC ward. Personally, that was the single most PTSD-inducing experience of my life. The coronavirus is causing thousands of deaths globally—however, for me, I've been lucky. I had crappy flu for just over two weeks. I got through it. These two pandemic experiences combined help me recognize that we humans are truly resilient. And that this too shall pass. 

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

All businesses are financially affected, some drastically and dreadfully more than others. Q2 is painful and we're doing everything we can at futurefactor to get the team through it intact. I'm hoping that by Q4, we as a global creative industry surface with a better, healthier and more positive perspective on business, finance and community. 

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards, editor of Muse by Clio, and host of the podcast Tagline. He is the former creative editor of Adweek.

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