Adam Goldfarb is the global marketing director for Hexagon’s PPM division’s EcoSys/Enterprise Project Performance. He has given an insight into his working from home routine during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Normal office/location when not working from home?
New York City, New York, USA
How many years with Hexagon?
10 years yesterday (5.5 with EcoSys pre-acquisition, 4.5 years since)
What did you expect when you first started your WFH routine. Has there been anything that has surprised you?
I was a traditional, commute-to-the-office-everyday kind of guy. Working from home was the exception. That said, being in New York City and the feeling an impending COVID-19 storm coming once we all decided to stop going into the office, I didn’t really have too many expectations about working from home. It seemed like there were much bigger issues and I was thankful that I work in an industry, doing the kind of work that I do, that the immediate impact was fairly minimal. I was also thankful that I remembered to bring home my chargers!
Have you found your routine and workflow in your WFH day has changed?
I didn’t allow for WFH to change my overall routine. I’m ready to go at the same time everyday as when I was traveling into the office. I seem to wear collared shirts more often than others I see on our webcams. I kept shaving and missed the EPP Marketing/GTM beard growing week … in part because my daughter objected after the first full day. I do tend to step away at 5 p.m. (when the schedule allows) so that I can be more part of the evening routine with my 8-year-old twins than I typically am able to be.
Have these WFH changes affected your role?
It’s not really the WFH that’s impacted my role as much as the need to adapt to the new market realities during the pandemic. We’re pivoting our approach to more directly market to industries that are continuing to grow. Our newly launched Transportation Infrastructure initiative is one such example. As a result, we’re generating new content and engaging new digital tactics. My team and I are significantly busier now than “in the old days” seven weeks ago.
The number of conference calls has exploded as we coordinate the new approaches and everyone is visibly stepping up to do more and effect positive change for our business. The downside is markedly less time to get actual work done. So when the apartment quiets down and the kids are asleep, the laptop beckons and I try to knock a few items off the list before the calls begin anew tomorrow.
There can sometimes be distractions when WFH, how do you keep yourself motivated and focused throughout the day?
Oh, yes. The distractions! Their names are Lily and Asher. I’m sure most parents of school-age children are trying to balance their full-time jobs with their new second profession of educator. We get a steady flow of assignments but not live virtual instruction from their school. As a result, my wife and I are regularly pulled away to help explain new topics and re-focus on the tasks at hand.
Today was right angles, but at times I was obtuse. (No, that didn’t go over well here either).
So how do I stay focused throughout the day? Sometimes, I just don’t. You do your best in all phases, realize it won’t always go according to the original plan and then try to catch up to your commitments when you find those free moments. (Midnight blogging, anyone?)
During your WFH day has there been anything unexpected or outwith the ordinary occur?
There have been both positive and negative surprises. Being at the epicenter of the COVID-19 infection in the United States – the constant sounding of ambulance sirens both day and night – was an unwanted and eerie reminder of the serious struggles all around. Fortunately, this has subsided a bit now. Conversely, even weeks into this situation, every night at 7 p.m. without fail, our block erupts with applause in support of our dedicated healthcare workers.
What have you been enjoying the best/least about WFH?
Honestly, the best part of working from home is the amount of time our family is able to spend together. I can’t imagine another time in our lives where we’ll have this opportunity. The old normal was an hour or so in the morning before the kids rush off to school and we rush off to work, followed by a few hours at night before the kids go to sleep and my wife and I have a few moments of quiet to ourselves. Now, there’s a closeness and communication that we simply weren’t able to enjoy before.
Of course, this closeness comes in the cozy package of a two-bedroom apartment housing the four of us. There’s no backyard and the playgrounds are closed. We’re inside. A lot. There’s limited places to go, and so we need to have as much patience as possible, lest we drive each other a little bit zany.
With less of a commute in the morning and evenings, how have you been spending this extra time?
The morning commute has been taken over by prepping the kids for school, opening the assortment of classrooms in browser tabs to try to get them as self-sufficient as possible. And we all have breakfast together. Eliminating the evening commute, however, has opened a variety of opportunities. I’m cooking more than I ever have. Tonight was chicken piccata. A few nights ago, penne ala vodka. And of course, the meal our kids dubbed “Blocks of Sweetness” – our very own recipe for honey maple tofu.
We’re also playing a lot more board games. Current favorites are Clue, chess, and Catan Junior (although we have now tried full-fledged Settlers of Catan). Sadly, I worry if our settlers have adequate project controls software as they strive to build the longest road for two extra victory points.
As you have been adapting to your WHF routine, do you have any tips and tricks for others?
A few thoughts…
• Continue to hold yourself to high standards (even if you choose pajamas over a button-down)
• Forgive yourself if the day isn’t playing out as planned during these unusual circumstances
• Make sure you eat lunch sometime between conference calls
• Appreciate the hard work of those around you (and tell them that you do)
• Don’t be afraid to turn on your webcam. And then smile at those on the other end.