#WFH Diaries: Rob Baiocco of The BAM Connection
As the pandemic continues with no end in sight, and with most folks still working from home, we're checking in with industry pros to see how they're faring. Here's an update from BAM Connection creative chief Rob Baiocco.
Give us a one-line bio of yourself.
Copywriter, chief creative officer, co-owner of The BAM Connection, an independent ad agency in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
Where are you living right now, and who's with you?
The Upper West Side, as I have for the last 27 years. I live with my wonderful wife, Lynette, and my sweet dog Scout.
What's your work situation like at the moment, and how is it evolving?
Our entire agency is working remotely and have been since March 13. It has evolved into a streamlined and successful system.
When do you expect to return to the office?
We have plans in the works, but it seems unreasonable to try to force anyone back until there is a treatment and a vaccine. We will likely go voluntary first, then return once it is absolutely safe.
Describe your socializing strategy.
Every day starts with an agency-wide digital meeting. We go through all the work necessary to discuss. We laugh, we joke. It's a great way to start the day and has proven to be a nice addition that we did not do in the office. Also, every Thursday we do an EOD meeting with some type of fun activity, from hiring a Zoom comedian (who was hilarious) to each person using Google Earth to show and explain where they grew up. It has really helped us get to know each other more.
How are you dealing with childcare?
My children are out of the house, so it has not been an issue. For any of our colleagues who have children, we certainly understand what they are juggling, so we are open to moving meetings, changing things to help accommodate their needs.
What are you reading?
Just finished re-reading some Billy Collins poetry, Sailing Alone Around the Room. I find poetry to be very grounding, especially during these times. Also, not being in the office gives me a lot more time inside my own head to write my own poetry.
What are you watching?
I subscribed to MasterClass. I'm really enjoying it. So far, I've watched, Billy Collins (writing poetry), Goodby Silverstein (advertising), Scorcese (filmmaking), and now Steve Martin (comedy).
What are you listening to?
Currently, I'm caught in a Post Malone loop. Also, always enjoy Keane. Have recently discovered Dan + Shay.
How are you staying fit?
Martial arts. I've been doing it for nearly 40 years. Taekwon-do for many years, and Krav Maga for the last 10. Taking Krav classes on Zoom, but also live in Central Park. That has been very enjoyable.
Have you taken up a hobby?
Nothing new, just more time to spend on the ones I have always done: martial arts and poetry.
An awkward moment since all this started.
Awkward moments, so far, have been many, but small. No major incidents. The usual: thinking you're on mute when you're not, and hearing things you shouldn't coming from the household. Thinking you're not on mute when you are and talking for a while until someone inevitably tells you, "You're on mute." The occasional animal hijinks.
We were on a Zoom call with a client who lives in the woods of Colorado. His wife screamed off camera. He said, "Hang on, I have an emergency." He ran off camera frantically. Thirty seconds later, we hear a gunshot. We thought someone got shot. He comes back laughing. They have bears and the wildlife people told him to shoot them with rubber bullets to scare them away. That's what we heard.
An aha! moment since all this started.
The biggest aha moment for me is that people have gotten really good at the whole "work from home" thing.
What's your theory on how this is going to play out?
I think work from home was already "a thing" prior to Covid. We had implemented WFH days as part of our policy. I think that will only increase. What has changed is, prior to Covid, I suspect employers always felt like the productivity of a WFH day was the equivalent of 60-70 percent of an office day. Nobody was really good at it, got distracted, ran errands, and used it as a pseudo vacation day. Now, by no choice of our own, we are very good at it. People crank and get a lot of quality work done from home. We still very much believe in the office space for creativity, collaboration, etc., but are absolutely looking into a more hybrid-based approach of office and home.