WFH #5: If only these walls could talk.

It’s two weeks into what looks like an indefinite period of working from home and my bedroom walls are closing in on me. But even as my housemate and I run out of conversation, I’ve discovered things about this pandemic that I love. 

Of course I don’t love what it’s doing to the people, places and institutions that are quite literally my world. 

But I love the way it’s forcing us to find new ways to work. I love that it’s showing me how much I care about my community.  

I love the new perspective it’s given me on things I took for granted, and even things I hated, just 2 long weeks ago. 

In fact, it’s taught me how valuable life’s little annoyances are. The one that’s most noticeably absent from my life at the moment is distraction. 

I don’t mean the smoke breaks, snacks, social feeds or Slack messages. There’s plenty of that still, apparently those are immune. 

But I do miss the overheard conversations, the stolen moments, the random facts, and the things that are none of my business. Those were the little bits of inspiration that my subconscious drank in while my conscious dismissed them as distraction. 

I’m not the only one who misses them, my work does too. It misses the endless stream of useful tidbits that my subconscious could empty onto the page, picked up from conversations that didn’t involve me.  

I’m finding I need to pause a moment longer to find the right turn of phrase linking mobile app user segmentation to travel app developers. I have to think a little bit harder about how to describe the strain micro databases place on distributed architecture. 

As long as I’ve worked in advertising I’ve understood the power of collaboration but until now I never appreciated how deep collaboration runs. There’s a stream of learning you’re constantly tapped into when you’re sitting in the studio. 

The seemingly useless banter with designers, the silly joke that only another writer sweating over Kubernetes content could understand, and the passing conversations in the kitchen are all hellishly valuable.  

I expected a lot of things to slip through the cracks when we went remote, “pointless” conversation wasn’t one of them.

So the virus has taught me the value of this imperceptible knowledge sharing, but I’ve yet to learn how to replace it. And when we return to normal I’m going to gorge myself on the energy that floats around a creative studio.

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