WFH with époque's team Nicole and Heidi
WHAT'S WORKING FOR US... RIGHT NOW
work from anywhere
we know the new norm is anything but normal, but we all work remotely most of the time. here are some of the ways we are staying (semi) sane and (mostly) productive while navigating these strange days.
UP THIS WEEK:
two of our right-hand women behind our brand and business.
BRAND & VOICE of époque évolution
reader of all things (even cereal boxes)
mom of two, proud New Yorker,
and (still!) eternal optimist
where are you working?
“anywhere i can. my husband and i came out to our little beach house in montauk a few weeks ago with our four-year-old daughter and eight-month-old son for some fresh air — and when the pandemic continued to spread in new york city (where we otherwise live), we thought it best to stay put. staying inside our tiny city apartment with two young kids was getting harder and harder every day, and i feel incredibly grateful to have another option. i know so many don’t. i also feel a little guilty, as it has always been a dream of mine to spend weeks and weeks out here uninterrupted, but never could before with the in-person demands of work, school, etc. to add to that: quality time is my love language, and i have terrible FOMO. so being forced to spend time out here by the ocean with my family - well, i feel a little guilty seeing the silver lining.
ALL OF THIS SAID: working full-time with two little kids is NO JOKE. the highest highs and the lowest lows. i’m worried about my grandmother, who is in assisted living, can’t have visitors and suffers from dementia. i’m worried about what the long school closures mean for children in need and children in general. the fate of all the small businesses and restaurants and shops that make new york city my home. the health of so many, especially those keeping things running for everyone without any financial safety nets and with the same sudden demands of childcare. thinking too far ahead in the future, knowing that i personally have little control over any of it. so i do try to focus on that silver lining.
in terms of where i am actually writing or taking calls or holding brainstorms or meeting with clients on Zoom: mostly in my bedroom. or on the couch in the living room while the kids nap. basically anywhere my kids aren’t.”
what are you wearing?
“i’m wearing my JET SET TROUSERS and THE ONE CROP TOP to work out in the mornings. my body is not quite “back” after the second baby came along, but it makes me feel strong and sexy to wear clothes that make me feel like it is. ill throw on the no bs bomber, too. then after a quick shower, i’ll throw on THE WHITE SHIRT and then some olio o osso balm on my cheeks before Zoom-ing away.”
what are you reading?
“i just finished Summer’s Crossing, Truman Capote’s first novel, published posthumously. it follows a wealthy socialite making all the wrong choices during the heat of a New York summer back in the 1940s. it was so wonderfully out of touch with everything currently happening in the world, so i found it to be a great escape. made me yearn for what i hope is a standard New York summer. hot, humid, and full of humanity. (this is NOT a normal thing to yearn for, for all you non-NYers out there.) next up is Anne Lamott — Bird by Bird.”
working from home, caring for young kids: how’s that going for you?
“i’ve been doing this work-from-tiny-home thing for awhile. i’ve also been homebound more than usual since i have a new baby. i’m ashamed to admit that there were days (rare but still) BEFORE the quarantine where i didn’t leave the house all day. not by choice, but the chaos of working from home and raising two children sometimes meant the day flew by without me getting a moment to focus on ME. i’ve learned that is when and where and how i start to fail, and so i’ve entered this quarantine with a bit more experience and a lot more plan than most.
for me, i find incredible success and mental health in routine and in creating space to think, to create, to breathe. that looks finding time to move every day, ideally first thing — which is not always possible when trying to get two kids ready for the day — and so sometimes my movement ends up simply being the 15-minute walk to pick up my daughter from school. a mid-day yoga class. or it did look like that. now it looks like a morning walk or bike ride. it’s pretty wide open here in Montauk, and so i prioritize spending time outdoors.
head cleared, next is: a full-on shower, a fresh outfit, a total spruce up of the space where i’m working. no clutter. a lit candle. some classical music — it is soothing but not distracting. and vivaldi is very cheery. i clear out any open tabs in my computer browser, move all files on my desk top to a To Sort folder to avoid distractions or feeling scattered. i update my to do list on my Notes app and then open only documents related to the project i am working on. i then do my best to find joy in whatever work i am doing. and it usually works.
i’ve been lucky enough to (mostly) stick to this routine even while in quarantine, as my husband is able to homeschool my daughter, take care of the baby AND cook AND clean all meals. (… i know. i wish i could say he is getting lucky from all of this, but we are too damn tired.) he is a film editor and director, and being between projects has given him all this extra time to hang out with the kids like never before.
another important thing i do is to stop working at a set time each day. if i’m not in a great place to stop, i update my to do list with everything i need to do — big or small — to get it off my mind. then i put everything away and emerge! i mean, i don’t have a ton of choice in this regard — the kids need to eat take a bath be put to bed, etc — but i found consciously closing out the work day helps the transition from work day to family time. (and let’s be real: so does a gin & tonic.)”
Heidi Stubler Brown
MASTER STRATEGIST for époque évolution
excel wizard (she really loves it)
and fountain of positivity
so. what does working from home look like for you these days?
“our house definitely feels like a circus tent right now! my husband and i already worked from home about 75% of the time, so we used to be in a good groove when we had our nanny here with us to support our days, but that has all changed. we have a two-and-a-half year old and a seven-month old, so i have been waking up before the sun each morning to get in a couple hours of productivity before the babies wake for the day. i usually post up at our kitchen table with a few strong cups of coffee and crank through as much as possible. the hours of 5am - 7am have always been my favorite working hours, so i just settle in and enjoy the peace and quiet. from there, my husband and i trade off throughout the day, blocks of timing working and caring for the babies. the funniest was the other day when i had to start a meeting with our seven-month old strapped to my chest, and then my husband swooped in mid-way through the Zoom and pulled her off of me to take over. we got a good laugh about that star appearance during the video call. it's been interesting to see our team and external partners more fully as people outside of work during this. everyone has the things they are needing to work around to still do their best to perform each day. personally, the experience of being a working mother with a very young family can sometimes feel lonely and it has been cool to feel more "seen" in that... and sometimes literally "seen" as that.”
what are you wearing?
“oh, literally every day, our JET SET TROUSER and the SWEATER TEE. and I really mean every day. i’m so happy to have not one, not two, but three pairs of JET SET TROUSER so i can keep this up! (should i be admitting this? :) the high-waisted, no-pinch waistband on the JET SET TROUSER is god's gift to the postpartum woman. If I'm having a very lucky day with the babies, they will allow me to sneak in a little fifteen minute workout while i’m on duty with them, so Iiquickly swap my SWEATER TEE for THE ONE CROP TOP, and crank my heart rate up. pop my SWEATER TEE back on after and i’m ready to go again in my uniform. less time changing clothes, more time for movement.”
how are you taking care of yourself amidst it all?
“i’m lucky enough to live in a small beach community nestled between the ocean and a national park. my physical location is my self care, now even more than ever. there is an abundance of fresh air and natural beauty all around me. i have been challenging my family to really up our daily intake of both views and deep breaths. (watching our toddler take team deep breathes is the cutest thing.) those are some of the very few things i feel like i can control right now. my husband and i hold each other accountable to daily time in nature, even if that's just our Monday morning deck yoga sessions, which are so soul filling. we meet at 5:45am sharp, use a big big pillar candle to light our practice, and around the time we get to savasana, the sun is starting to come up over the mountains. it's really grounding and gratitude inducing. i have also been much more mindful about how my intake of news, social media and energy from others affected my levels of fear or anxiety during this uncertain time. i’ve started limiting myself to fifteen minutes of news in the morning and fifteen minutes in the evening. drawing boundaries around what i allow in right now is my ultimate expression of self care, and self knowing.
what are you listening to?
“i listen to an immense amount of podcast content. always teed up is NPR's Up First, The Daily, How I Built This, The Ezra Klein Show, Oprah's Super Soul Conversations, and most recently, Brene Brown's Unlocking Us. (i respect her so much as a researcher and author, so have been so excited by her first few episodes!) i have to admit that when i need a parenting break right now, i will pop in my Airpods and listen to a podcast while i play with my toddler. luckily she doesn't notice that i’m not mentally present with her, and i get the little break i need to be able to keep going. i’m not super proud of this, but we're all doing our best to survive right now!“