#WFH Diaries: Natalie Gruis of TBWA\Neboko

As lockdowns linger in most parts of the world, we're checking in with creative people to see how they're faring. Here's an update from Natalie Gruis, head of strategy international at TBWA\Neboko in Amsterdam.

Give us a one-line bio of yourself.

Head of strategy, international, for TBWA\Neboko out of Amsterdam.

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

My sunny south-facing haven in Haarlem, with my 2.5-year-old twins, and my very adorable (and patient) fiancé.

What's your work situation like at the moment?

It's a mix between business as usual and total shut down. On our global business, we are already working on campaigns for the second half of 2021. This means it's pushing through to meet existing deadlines, or stepping back to focus on immediate response measures.

Describe your socializing strategy.

I didn't really have one before Covid between work and kids, so now with work and kids combined, I'm lucky if I have time to moisturize.

How are you dealing with childcare, if applicable?

Childcare? There are a lot child tantrums, child not-taking-naps, child potty-training-fails, child team-meeting-takeovers. It's a big messy heap of love and laughs, tears from both sides, and that's how we've been taking care of each other.

What are you reading?

I've recently become addicted to TikTok, which doesn't involve many words, but has been instrumental in keeping me connected to the different ways people retain their sense of humor.

What are you watching?

To be honest, I haven't had much time to watch anything. It's a trade-off for sleep, and that wins. Every. Single. Day.

What are you listening to?

I actually love the randomness of radio, and since I'm not driving anywhere, I sometimes tune in radio channels from back home in Brisbane. It also makes me feel a little closer to my family.

How are you staying fit?

If I can get out for a run I take it, and I've been trying to test out a bunch of different circuit apps. I used to be a Pilates instructor, so I had this vision that I would be practicing every morning before a meditative stretch, but so far it's been pretty much Alphabet Yoga and Baby Shark drills.

Have you taken up a hobby?


Any tips for getting necessities?

I send my fiancé out. He's fast and focussed. I go out and end up with coconut yogurt and Easter eggs (obviously not necessities), but I've been craving things that I know I don't need but make me feel better. It's important to make sure some comforts make the essentials’ list.

An awkward moment since all this started.

Now that everyone I work with has been exposed to my life and kids in every day-part, I don't find anything awkward anymore.

Best work email you got since all this started.

Actually what I love most is there have been less emails and more video calls. Everyone is more eager to see each other and chat it out than send an email.

An aha! moment since all this started.

I get back 3 extra hours a day from not having to commute, pick up/drop off kids, get to work and home again — which I have to say is game changing.

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

The world won't be the same, and that's what we should hope for.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

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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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