#WFH Diaries: Robert Cerkez of &Co
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues its chaotic gallop through space/time, we're checking in with creative industry folks worldwide. Here's an update from Robert Cerkez of &Co.
Give us a one-sentence bio of yourself.
Creative director and founder at &Co, a part of The North Alliance, Denmark.
Where are you living right now, and who's with you?
I live 15 minutes outside Copenhagen. We have a house, a garden in bloom, and the weather is better than ever. So it's quite nice under the circumstances. I am surrounded by my beloved wife and kids, who also are home from work and school. In Denmark, the national recommendations regarding flattening the curve are massive. So, all of us in NoA Denmark have been working from home to help as much as we can.
What's your work situation like at the moment?
Both good and bad. The bad part is that everybody works from home. I miss everyone like hell. Talking to clients and colleagues on Slack and Skype is far from the real thing. The good part is that we find new ways of working together. We have never tried remote film shooting until now. It's quite amazing. I'm so damn proud of our agency's capability to adapt. Some projects have been stopped or postponed, and we have to take it from there. We are working hard to help clients deal with the situation both here and now, but also on how to take action when all this is over.
Describe your socializing strategy.
For me, work is socializing. Normally I see a lot of people during the day—90 percent of my time is meetings with creatives, clients and account people. So I feel a bit lost, to be honest. I need to meet people in real life. My family is keeping me sane right now. Apart from them, I try to talk to friends and business partners to exchange frustrations and solutions.
How are you dealing with childcare, if applicable?
My kids are 14, 16 and 18 years old, and are home from school with loads of homework. The schools have been effective in keeping up the pace in this situation. Apart from helping them with homework, I need them more than they need me.
What are you reading?
Well, right now I'm reading Kaspar Colling Nielsen's When the Dinosaurs Were Little. It's his fourth book, with fictional stories about everyday people in a nearby future, and what their existential conditions and dilemmas look like. It's thought-provoking, dark, optimistic, beautiful and totally bonkers.
What are you watching?
My kids introduced me to a lot of old and new coming-of-age films: Eighth Grade, Booksmart, Superbad, etc. It's fun to see how nothing has changed—same problems, different decade. In the daytime, I'm watching nature. Spring is my favorite.
What are you listening to?
My guilty pleasure right now is Bebel Gilberto. She gives me the chills. She once said, "I'm a very passionate person: I can fall in love in a second," and you can feel it when she sings. Her singing is so low-key and powerful at the same time. My Brazilian skills are non-existent, so I have to imagine what she is singing about, and that is quite intriguing and meditative.
How are you staying fit?
I play tennis … but that's a hustle now, because all courts are closed. So I bought a sandbag, and me and my son are boxing and skipping every day. But we are pretty far from Rocky standards.
Have you taken up a hobby?
Not new ones. But I fixed my Vespa 50cc so it's up and running. I love to build and fix stuff. My house and summerhouse are full of projects, allowing me to pretend I'm a carpenter. It's satisfying to have an idea, then build it in real life.
Any tips for getting necessities?
Just buy what you used to buy. Not more, not less.
An awkward moment since all this started.
Greeting people without really touching them. I hope shaking hands or giving a hug stays in fashion after all this is over.
Best work email you got since all this started.
It's not one. It's all the emails from our staff. We have never been in this situation before and we are trying to figure out strategies and solutions on a daily basis. We are so dependent on our people's support and understanding. And we feel that support in every email.
An aha! moment since all this started.
The world actually can cooperate on a huge, shared problem if we really need to. This will be useful in the future.
What's your theory on how this is going to play out?
We will slowly get through this Covid-19 crisis. No doubt about it. But the aftermath will have so many facets. Both personal, societal and economical. It will be very interesting to see how long the recovery period will last.